Birmingham v Leeds
Live on Sky Sports 1
The Blues have made a sluggish start with just one win from their first five games (two draws and two defeats) and the early indications are that they are more likely to be trying to avoid slipping into another relegation battle as opposed to pushing for a place in the top-half of the table.
They were outclassed in their last game before the international break, conceding three goals before half-time at Wigan, eventually losing 4-0. Their home form was atrocious last year, just two wins from 23 matches, easily the worst in the division, but they have performed better in the two games at St Andrew's this season, beating Brighton 1-0 and only bring denied a win over Ipswich by an injury-time equaliser.
In one of the more implausible sounding rumours of the 48 hours before the transfer deadline, striker Nikola Zigic was linked with a move to Arsenal but nothing concrete came of it, while Lee Clark was delighted that his board rejected a bid from Crystal Palace for exciting teenage winger Demarai Gray.
Meanwhile an audacious loan move for Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa fell through when the Frenchman declined to drop down to the Championship. That left the Blues having spent less than any other side in the Championship this summer and illustrates the challenges they face this year.
The soap opera that has been Leeds over the past 12 months took its latest turn when Dave Hockaday was sacked after the 2-1 defeat at neighbours Bradford in the Capital One Cup. Caretaker manager Neil Redfearn oversaw an important 1-0 win at home to Bolton which will have done his chances of getting the job on a permanent basis no harm.
Redfearn suffered a blow when striker Matt Smith followed his former forward partner Ross McCormack to Fulham, on Transfer Deadline Day - Leeds haven't managed to score more than once in a league game so far and his departure won't help them improve that record. But a trio of players from across the globe, Brazilian midfielder Adryan, Italian defender Dario Del Fabro, and Paraguayan striker Brian Montenegro, did sign on loan, while French striker Souleymane Doukara made his loan deal permanent.
Their two trips on the road thus far have been to Millwall and Watford and ended in 2-0 and 4-1 defeats respectively. Given the turmoil surrounding the club, getting anything from the visit to St Andrew's would be seen as a very good result.
Over/Under 2.5 goals
As I've pointed out here before there are strong goal trends in these lunchtime Championship games and the last match, a fortnight ago, duly delivered another 1-0 result as leaders Forest triumphed at Hillsborough. I've speculated whether the early starts lead to players not being in top gear and the fans muted atmosphere also may play a part. Alternately it could simply be that Sky picks games between evenly-matched sides to show and as result we see tight, low-scoring affairs.
Whatever the reason 19 of 28 went Under 2.5 Goals last season and all three in 2014/15 have ended 1-0. With this strong trend, and two sides meeting here who will struggle for goals this season (both average under a goal a game in their first five fixtures), backing unders at 1.84/5 looks a confident recommended bet.
I expect both of these sides to be struggling at the wrong end of the table so another tight televised game is in prospect. However, Birmingham have shown some glimpses of a marked improvement on last year in their two home performances so far this year while Leeds have offered nothing on the road.
With the visitors likely to include some of their new signings and the other summer buys still bedding in (eight players have arrived since that defeat at Millwall on the opening day), opposing them away from home has to be the way forward until we see some evidence their new-look side is starting to come together. That makes the home side a decent bet here at 2.35/4 to edge this one.
Anyone who prefers to go for something with slightly juicier odds, I wouldn't put anyone off the 7.413/2 about 1-0 in the Correct Score market.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.84/5 Best Bet
Back Birmingham to Win @ 2.35/4