EFL Championship

EFL Opta Stats: Ten bets for Saturday's Championship matches

Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick will be hoping that his side can build on last weekend's 3-3 draw

Jack Critchley has studied this weekend's Opta Stats and has selected a best bet in each of Saturday afternoon's 10 Championship fixtures...


Middlesbrough vs Leicester

Potentially high-scoring contest at the Riverside

The Opta Stat:

"Leicester have won their opening seven away league games this season. No side from the second, third or fourth tier of English football have ever started a season with eight away wins (Reading in 1985-86 won first seven). Including the top-flight, Man City in 2017-18 were the last side to do so (won first 10)"

Middlesbrough took longer than expected to find their feet this season, however, Michael Carrick's men have improved substantially in recent weeks. Nevertheless, they were defeated in their last home match and will be keen to avoid consecutive defeats. Boro were involved in a crazy 3-3 draw with Plymouth at Home Park last week and their defence has now been breached seven times across the last three matches in all competitions.

Leicester will be aiming to bounce back from a rare defeat to Leeds last weekend. The Foxes have been exceptional on the road and will be hoping to maintain their perfect away record. They've scored 15 goals across their last five away trips and although their defensive record is fairly solid, they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last three.

The Betfair Bet:


Hull vs Huddersfield

Cagey contest in Humberside

The Opta Stat:

"Hull City have lost just two of their last 19 home league games (W7 D10) - they had lost seven of their previous eight home matches before this run (W1)"

Hull have been difficult to beat this season and they have rewarded manager Liam Rosenior with a new contract this week. A number of decent sides have struggled to find the back of the net at this venue with Leeds drawing a blank and Southampton having to wait until the final few seconds to collect maximum points.

Huddersfield have netted in each of their last three away games, however, the Terriers are lacking bite. They have managed just nine shots across their last two matches and still have a number of injury concerns. They will look to keep things tight as a result.

The Betfair Bet:


Cardiff vs Norwich

Bluebirds to push Wagner closer to the brink

The Opta Stat:

"Cardiff have won five of their last six home league games (D1). The Bluebirds have won five of their first seven home games in a season for the first time since 2019-20."

Since September 24th, Cardiff have conceded just four Championship goals. 50% of those concessions came at the Riverside Stadium and they were also breached on a single occasion against an attack-minded Blackburn outfit. With five clean sheets in their last eight outings, Erol Bulut's side come into this contest full of confidence.

Norwich fans registered their displeasure last weekend as the Canaries collapsed at the hands of Blackburn. The East Anglian outfit have been carved open far too easily and they could struggle to topple the in-form hosts.

The Betfair Bet:


Leeds vs Plymouth

Rampant Whites to ease past the Pilgrims

The Opta Stat:

"In just 15 games so far, Plymouth have scored 26 goals and conceded 25 in the Championship this season. It's the earliest into a league season they've both scored and conceded 25+ goals since 1987-88 (also 15th game)"

With Ipswich dropping points in midweek, Leeds will see this as a chance to put further pressure on the Tractor Boys. The Whites have been excellent and they have won four in a row in front of their own fans. Crysencio Summerville has played a significant role so far with four of his six goals coming in West Yorkshire. He should get plenty of chances here.

Plymouth were involved in a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough last weekend. Steven Schumacher's side continue to leak goals and despite keeping consecutive clean sheets at the end of October, they've now been breached six times across their last two outings.

The Betfair Bet:


Ipswich vs Swansea

Another highly absorbing match at Portman Road

The Opta Stat:

"Swansea City are looking to win four consecutive away league games for the first time since between September and November 2010 under Brendan Rodgers"

Following a tremendous start to the campaign, Ipswich's performances have started to drop off a little. The Tractor Boys haven't been at their best in recent weeks and they also played in midweek, unlike today's opponents. There have been 23 goals across their last six Championship matches.

Although Swansea's matches haven't been anywhere near as entertaining, the Welsh side have improved considerably under Michael Duff and they've lost just two of their last nine. They've found the net in each of their last four away games and should be involved in an entertaining affair.

The Betfair Bet:


Southampton vs West Brom

Saints continue to wait for a home clean sheet

The Opta Stat:

"Southampton have kept one clean sheet in their last 28 home league games, and none in their last 14 at St Mary's. They've only had one longer run this century, going 15 in a row between March and December 2019"

Southampton have put their troublesome start to the campaign firmly behind them and they are now unbeaten in seven consecutive games. Although they've been leaving it late, they have looked good going forward and have plenty of firepower to call upon. Despite this, Russell Martin's side are struggling for clean sheets in front of their own fans and are still searching for their first home shutout of the campaign.

West Brom are exceptionally well-organised under Carlos Corberan and have won five of their last seven. They have netted in six of their seven away games and should play their part in a highly watchable contest.

The Betfair Bet:


Coventry vs Stoke

Watertight Potters to edge out disappointing Sky Blues

The Opta Stat:

"Stoke City have won two of their last three away Championship games (L1), one more than they managed in their previous nine on the road (D4 L4)"

Coventry continue to leak goals and they have made an extremely disappointing start to the campaign. Nevertheless, they are tougher to beat at home and are harder to breach at this venue.

Stoke have conceded just once across their last four matches and they managed to keep in-form Cardiff off the scoresheet last time out. Alex Neil's men should be able to take at least a point back to the Potteries.

The Betfair Bet:


Sheffield Wednesday vs Millwall

Two new managers meet at Hillsborough

The Opta Stat:

"Sheffield Wednesday have failed to score in 10 of their last 13 league games (W1 D3 L9). Their tally of seven goals from their first 15 games this season is the lowest by a Championship team at this stage since 2020-21, when both Derby and Wycombe had scored seven times"

Danny Ruhl has improved performances at Sheffield Wednesday, however, the new boss has still won just once. That victory came against an ineffective Rotherham side and this looks to be a tougher assignment.

Millwall have appointed highly-rated coach Joe Edwards as their new coach. The Lions form has been patchy, however, they've been better on the road. They've unbeaten in five consecutive away games and have suffered just a single defeat on their travels. This will be tight, but the Bermondsey side could edge it.

The Betfair Bet:


Watford vs Rotherham

More away day misery for the Millers

The Opta Stat:

"Watford are unbeaten in their last five Championship matches (W2 D3), their best unbeaten run in the league since August 2022 (also five), last having a longer run in March and April 2021 (eight games)."

Watford lacked the cutting edge to break through against Huddersfield last weekend and the Hornets must improve their attacking output here. The Hornets have netted exactly two goals in four of their last five home matches and they should be able to find a way through.

Rotherham were excellent in midweek, yet their small squad often struggles with busy periods and they can be fairly unpredictable. Nevertheless, their record on the road is awful and they have scored just three times on their travels so far.

The Betfair Bet:


QPR vs Bristol City

Two new managers to share the spoils

The Opta Stat:

"QPR have lost 16 of their last 21 home league games (W1 D4) and haven't won any of their first six home games this season, winning just one point (D1 L5). The last second tier side with just one point through their first seven home games were Brighton and Hove Albion in 2002-03"

Marti Cifuentes gained a point in his opening match in charge of QPR. The R's were much more creative going forward, although the suspension of Ilias Chair is unlikely to help them here.

Bristol City hired Liam Manning this week with the young, progressive coach tasked with succeeding Nigel Pearson at Ashton Gate. Robins' games have been fairly tight this season and the former MK Dons boss may have to settle for a point here.

The Betfair Bet:


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