Michael Lintorn steps in for Christian Crowther, predicting point spills at Swansea, Blackburn and Palermo...
Lay Swansea to beat QPR @ 1.8810/11
In terms of boardroom savvy, club vision and stability, Swansea have achieved a serenity that QPR can merely dream of but little separates them on the pitch at present. Harry Redknapp isn't delivering the wins required to guide the Hoops to safety, however he has made his side very hard to beat. The three-game blip at the end of 2012 produced their only league defeats of his 12-fixture tenure. QPR have lost just one of their last six away matches too, while Swansea have obtained only three league wins in 11 in front of their fans. Extra motivation for the capital club is provided by the desire to avenge their 0-5 opening day humiliation at home to the Swans, whose recent run of one league win in five is likely linked with the enhanced focus on their upcoming Capital One Cup final.
Lay Blackburn to beat Ipswich @ 2.021/1
Michael Appleton has impressed enough influential people to earn two Championship jobs in the past three months, yet his initial impact at neither Blackpool nor Blackburn's was as substantial as Mick McCarthy's at Ipswich. The two-time Championship promotion achiever inherited a team with seven points after 13 games and has propelled them to 35 from 30, losing only three of their last 13 and thrashing Middlesbrough 4-0 last week. Blackburn have claimed just one victory in Appleton's first three league matches even though they were all at Ewood Park, where Rovers have won a disappointing six times in 15 league outings since relegation.
Lay Palermo to beat Pescara @ 1.625/8
Palermo are another side relying on the rejuvenating effects of new manager syndrome having axed Gian Piero Gasperini and hired Alberto Malesani, however they change coaches so often that switches are greeted with groans rather than fresh hope. They are bottom of Serie A and four points from safety despite some decent January buys and a major reason is their inability to beat relegation rivals. Their six meetings with bottom-six adversaries have yielded three goals in their favour and no triumphs, they are winless in eight at present and have lost three of their last four in Sicily. Pescara are struggling too but have pepped up for three wins in four against bottom-five companions, so Palermo appear too short at 1.68/13.