Burnley v Birmingham
Live on Sky Sports 5
We get another chance to see the Clarets after Sean Dyche was more than happy to leave Elland Rd on Saturday with a point courtesy of a late equaliser against an impressive Leeds outfit. Having conceded what looked like it would be an 83rd minute winner, his side showed some real quality as substitute Sam Vokes headed home after impressive work from George Boyd in the build-up.
Dyche strikes me as the kind of manager who hates to lose any match regardless of its importance so he'll have been disappointed by Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Port Vale in the Capital One Cup, particularly as he sent out a strong side with few changes from Saturday and Vokes in the starting line-up.
Vokes will start here and having scored 20 times during Burnley's promotion campaign two years ago could minimise the impact of his former partner Danny Ings' departure to Liverpool, while Dyche is pursuing Nottingham Forest captain Henri Lansbury, who would be a quality addition to their midfield.
The Clarets lost just twice at home that season, conceding only 14 goals in the process and he'll be hoping of turning Turf Moor into a similar fortress this time round.
Gary Rowett's men got their campaign off to a positive start with a 2-1 win at home to Reading - David Cotterill, the inspiration for most of their creativity, was the difference between the sides, scoring a trademark free-kick and setting up the other. Talented young winger Demarai Gray was subject of interest from a number of Premier League clubs over the summer but signed a new deal at St Andrews.
After Rowett took over from Lee Clark in November last season, the Blues enjoyed the eighth best record in the division as he guided them to a 10th placed finishing spot. City were mentioned in dispatches as potential relegation candidates in some quarters but I think they will be a solid mid-table side under the impressive Rowett.
They also won their final three games last season so are now on a run of four successive league victories - five in all after the midweek cup win at Bristol Rovers despite eight changes to the starting line-up.
Burnley are 1.9110/11 favourites with the Blues 4.46 to make it two wins out of two and the draw available to back at 3.65. If the Clarets are to make a decent fist of bouncing back to the top flight at the first attempt then they need to be winning games at home to mid-table sides, which is what I rate their opponents here as.
However, it's still early in the season and rushing into odds-on quotes is never a wise move in this division so I'm going to look at other markets for my recommended bets in this one.
Over/Under 1.5 goals
Under 2.5 goals is 1.784/5 which is probably about right given that Dyche's side will be aiming to emulate their feat of two years ago and build a promotion campaign on a rock-solid defence.
When we consider that Rowett's success at St Andrews has been based upon making his side hard-working and difficult to beat - being a very decent defender himself before injury cut short his career his sides know how to defend properly - it looks like a tight affair is on the cards.
With three points behind him from the opening week I've no doubt Rowett will send his men out here to keep a clean sheet as his number one priority and try to nick a goal on the break or from a set-piece. The Blues had fewer efforts on target (five) last week than any other Championship side, which makes the 3.259/4 about Under 1.5 Goals look good value and I'm happy to back that, expecting another low-scoring early kick-off.
Opta stats tell us that Burnley didn't score at home in their last four games of the season (though they were in the Premier League, of course) and have never gone five without a goal. The home side do possess that extra bit of attacking quality in the likes of Vokes, Boyd and Michael Kightly.
Although this looks set to be a tight game for the reasons outlined above, I think the home side may just edge it by a single goal and it's worth having a saver at half stakes on that outcome at 7.06/1.
Back Under 1.5 Goals at 3.259/4
Back 1-0 Burnley at 7.06/1 to half-stakes