Nottingham Forest v Derby
There is no love lost between these two arch rivals and both take to the City Ground pitch for the second time this season. There is already a Carabao Cup tie from a few months ago which ensured bragging rights for Forest, and Rams boss Phillip Cocu was heavily criticised for his team selection on that occasion, as they fell to a heavy away loss. It therefore places additional pressure upon him and his team, even more so considering their rather inconsistent run of form at present.
Derby’s last ten contests reads four wins, three draws and three defeats, which is practically a definition of inconsistency at this moment in time. They’re yet to win back-to-back games under the management of Dutchman Cocu and there currently on a seven-match away run without a win in all competitions.
Nottingham Forest will hope that the weekend win over Luton wasn’t a flash in the pan as they did lose their two league games prior to that. They therefore are aiming for some consistency of their own, much to the level of what they were showing in August and September. Losing their last home game to Hull was a shock at the time, but they’ve since gone away to Fulham and won convincingly. Sabri Lamouchi has made this Forest side hard to beat and they’ve shipped only five home Championship goals this season.
Focusing on this weekend’s game, I’m never one to jump onto the 1×2 markets in derby games. For all that there is a pretty big gap between both clubs in the table, there is only four points. Forest are rightly the favourites but Derby are a wounded animal from earlier in the season. Historically this is a game which has generally been a tight affair. 13 of the last 20 head-to-head contests has ended Under 2.5 goals, and that has to be our play on this occasion.
Furthermore, Forest’s home league games are averaging around 2.20 goals, and Derby only have seven away goals this season, and will have that earlier season defeat in the back of their minds. Four of Derby’s last five league games has ended under 2.5 goals anyway, and it’d be a surprise if this contained many goals.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 at 1.850
Hull v West Brom
West Brom may sit top of the table following a fairly routine 2-0 away win over lowly Stoke City last Monday night but they travel to Hull likely to face more of a stern test. Why’s that? Well, the Tigers have won three out of three, and bear in mind that includes trips to Nottingham Forest and Fulham. An intriguing battle awaits these two in-form clubs on Humberside this Saturday.
As mentioned, Hull are in great form and as such expectations levels could slowly begin to rise in and around the football club, especially from the fans. That is only naturally when beating Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage, and if they can enjoy a more regular production of clean sheets then they’ve every reason to be excited.
They only have the four clean sheets so far, but they won each of these games, proving how key they really are. Trying to achieve a fifth versus top of the table West Brom is a challenge in itself, but Grant McCann will set up his side to win, and they’re certainly confident.
West Brom have only lost one league match this season, which came away to Leeds. Slaven Bilic is making them look every inch like a Premier League team as the weeks go by. The exciting thing for them is that they really should further improve considering they didn’t necessarily have the best of pre-seasons considering Bilic’s appointment took longer than expected.
The Baggies have just the three clean sheets this season, one less than Hull. However, they all came in recent away games when winning at QPR, Middlesbrough and of course Stoke earlier this week. This indicates a possible adaption to how they play on the road compared to at the Hawthorns as they’ve conceded exactly two goals in each of their last five home fixtures.
The immediate factor to jump off the page looking ahead to Hull against WBA is goals. 10/15 of Hull’s Championship encounters this season has contained a minimum of three goals, with their home matches alone averaging 3.00 goals. WBA has witnessed an average of 3.00 goals per match themselves, and whilst 6/8 away has finished under 2.5 goals, normally the presence of an open game suggests we should back goals. Therefore, Over 2.5 Goals is the selection. The two away games for West Brom which ended over was Nottingham Forest and Luton, two sides that play quite openly, just like Hull.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 1.670
Cardiff v Bristol City
Nottingham Forest versus Derby County isn’t the only derby encounter taking place on this weekend’s Championship card and Cardiff against Bristol City is a game which also catches the eye in terms of bragging rights being on offer. One similarity between this game and the Forest v Derby clash is that this does pit a team on 25 points against another on 21. Again, there is a gap in the table, but there is generally little between the sides when put onto the same pitch.
This will be a bit of a contrast in styles given how both coaches like to set up their teams. Cardiff are very much a direct team, but not necessarily long ball, whilst Bristol City are more controlled in how they play, but they too like to get the ball forward quickly. With that in mind, this is likely to be quite an open game. The thing is, this isn’t Cardiff’s big derby game, and neither is it Bristol City’s. Whilst this is a derby, it isn’t ‘the big one’ for either, and therefore there shouldn’t be that much fear of losing.
However, Cardiff did lose to their big rivals Swansea only a few weeks ago and they are under a bit of pressure to react following a poor performance on that occasion. Neil Warnock was criticised for fielding a 4-4-2 as they were overran in midfield, and I don’t think he’ll make that mistake here, although being at home indicates that they will be positive and look to win.
Bristol City shall do exactly the same, whilst they’re winless in their last four away, three were draws and on another day those would have been three victories. Goals are normally the name of the game when they’re on the road as six of their eight featured a minimum of three goals, averaging around the 3.40 goal mark.
Three of the last four H2H meetings saw at least three goals scored, and Cardiff have won four of the last five, so they have history in this respective battle. They’ve not started the season as they’d have liked and Warnock will know a big performance and big result could kick them on before the international break.
Again, I won’t touch the 1×2 line, but Over 2.5 Goals looks a worthy play knowing both teams aren’t ever too far away from goals. Cardiff’s league games are averaging 3.00, too, and they’re always very positive at home. Bristol City look a threat in attack but remain vulnerable defensively away.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 1.750
Preview by: @JamesOR1