With just three rounds of Championship fixtures left this season the focus mainly falls on the clubs with something still to play for. Here are Mike Norman's three best bets from Saturday afternoon's action...
"Lee Johnson's men earned a very good draw with Norwich before thrashing promotion hopefuls Huddersfield 4-0 in front of the live TV cameras, and they've since recorded back-to-back home victories over Wolves and QPR respectively..."
Bristol City have all but secured their Championship status thanks to a superb run of home results that has seen them take 11 of the last 15 points available at Ashton Gate.
The Robins looked dead and buried when the lost 2-0 at Aston Villa in late February, but they've since lost just two of their next nine while remaining unbeaten in front of their own fans.
Lee Johnson's men earned a very good draw with Norwich before thrashing promotion hopefuls Huddersfield 4-0 in front of the live TV cameras, and they've since recorded back-to-back home victories over Wolves and QPR respectively to give them some much-needed breathing space at the bottom of the table.
A home game against Barnsley is arguably the perfect match for Bristol City on Saturday afternoon give that the Yorkshire side have absolutely nothing to play for, and in their last away game they lost to second bottom Wigan.
With a win the Robins will be absolutely safe, so they have everything to play for here, and given that their next game is away to Brighton before facing a Birmingham side that could be fully motivated under new boss Harry Redknapp, I think they'll go all out for the three points in this match.
I strongly fancy Johnson's men to succeed in getting the points too, and I'd wager that they do so in comfortable fashion by backing them to overcome a -1 goal handicap.
Back Bristol City -1 to Win @ [2.7] (best bet)
What a game this promises to be, though I have to admit that I don't have an inkling as to who will come out on top if there is to be a winner.
But what I do expect is goals, and that's simply because a victory for either side will be like gold dust, with one side still in with a chance of automatic promotion and the other desperate to secure a place in the play-offs.
Huddersfield may be seven points behind Newcastle who occupy the final automatic promotion slot, but they have a game in hand and with the Magpies stuttering big time of late a victory for the Terriers will move them to within just four points of Rafa Benitez's men and both clubs will have three games to play.
Fulham are in fine form, winning four of their last five which has been good enough to climb to sixth in the table, but they have absolutely no room to spare over Leeds - both clubs have 73 points - with just three games remaining.
The Cottagers' all-out quest to win games of late has seen their matches provide tonnes of entertainment and goals; five of their last six league games have witnessed at least four goals, and their last four matches have averaged exactly 4.5 goals per game.
Huddersfield haven't been quite as entertaining recently, though their last four matches have produced 12 goals which is an average of exactly three per match, and I'm sure David Wagner will send his men out to attack and get the three points given that they still have hopes of overhauling Newcastle.
Even ignoring the magnitude of the game the fact is that no club in the Championship has scored more than Fulham this season (78), and they also have the second worst defensive record of the top six clubs.
I'm surprised that Over 2.5 Goals can be backed at [1.92] then, but that also means we'll get a good price on witnessing at least four goals so that's how we'll play.
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ [3.3]
My first two recommendations are involving games where at least one side has everything to play for, and as I've said a few times recently that's a very good angle to take as the season approaches a climax.
But although this game doesn't involve at least one club desperate for points it does feature one that has been in desperate form of late that we've opposed with great success in recent weeks, so if it's not broken, then don't try and fix it as they say.
QPR have lost five on the spin now, and I keep alluding to the fact that boss Ian Holloway is continually aware of people doing exactly what I'm doing, which is effectively saying that they've given up for the season.
Holloway has of course been saying that his men are trying their hardest, and I'm sure before the season is out QPR will avoid defeat somewhere, but away to Brentford, who on their day are easily one of the best home sides in the division, I fancy the Hoops will suffer another defeat.
The Bees have shown exactly why they are so highly rated at Griffin Park in recent weeks with a trio of wins over in-form Bristol City, promotion-chasing Leeds, and a Derby side that were unbeaten under their new boss, by an aggregate scoreline of 8-0!
Dean Smith's men were superb in thrashing the Rams 4-0 last time, and a reproduction of anywhere near that form will see them beat QPR quite comfortably. If this game had anything riding on it I'd have expected to see Brentford trading at odds-on, so that fact that we can back them at [2.1] is a huge bonus.
Back Brentford to Win @ [2.1]
*You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Championship 2016/17 Season P/L
Staked: 155 pts
Returned: 159.48 pts
P/L: +4.48 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
- 2014/15 P/L = +21.78 pts from 164 pts staked
- 2015/16 P/L = -3.46 pts from 156 pts staked
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