Saturday Championship Tips: Bielsa's Leeds too much for Rotherham

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa displays his death stare

James Buttler puts his head with his heart and backs Leeds United to continue their strong start to the season against Rotherham...

"Bielsa looks like the sort of bloke you'd run from if you realised you were dating his daughter. His stern face, lack of emotion and death stare also seem to have driven Leeds players to up their efforts this season."

Leeds 1.444/9 v Rotherham 8.615/2; The Draw 4.94/1

Okay, full disclosure, I am a Leeds fan. I'm used to being disappointed and I rarely back my side as it's usually just another way for them to let me down. I'm desperately trying not to get too excited by what I have seen this season so far under Marcelo Bielsa. Since relegation from the Premier League in 2004 there have been many managers, heartaches and false dawns. I don't want to tempt fate, but I am starting to believe again.

A 3-1 win against Stoke followed by a 4-1 win away against Derby have lifted the spirits and now Leeds are 5.79/2 favourites to top the 2018/19 Championship. I'm too much of a coward / realist to suggest that's a good bet just yet.

Bielsa looks like the sort of bloke you'd run from if you realised you were dating his daughter. His stern face, lack of emotion and death stare also seem to have driven Leeds players to up their efforts this season. They look fit and strong and that may well be tested if they continue to play with the same intensity.

With heart removed from the equation and head firmly in gear, Leeds have to be a serious bet against Rotherham, although I never like touching any side as short as 1.444/9.

Rotherham were thumped 5-1 in their opening game away at Brentford but bounced back with a 90th minute winner against Ipswich. The truth of the matter was they were outplayed by Ipswich and the win doesn't change my opinion that Rotherham are relegation fodder. The dear departed Barry Chuckle was on their shoulder throughout that win.

Leeds win on Saturday and Kemar Roofe is a great goalscoring option after looking lively against Stoke and bagging a brace against Derby. It could be a feisty affair too, with five red cards shown in the last four Championship meetings between these sides.

The new Betfair Same Game Multi option is the way to get more value. I like Leeds and Over 3.5 match goals at 3.42 and could also be tempted with Over 1.5 1st Half Goals and Leeds to be winning at Half-Time at 3.96.

Portman Road goals on the menu

Ipswich 3.953/1 v Aston Villa 2.111/10; The Draw 3.3512/5

Similarly to Leeds, Aston Villa are seeking to regain former glories and two wins from their opening two matches have hopes high. Retaining Steve Bruce as manager and keeping Spurs away from Jack Grealish are major plusses.

Aston Villa haven't won their opening three league matches of a season since the 1962-63 campaign, when they were in the top-flight, but that 56 year lapse should end on Saturday.

Putting three past Hull and then three more past Wigan whilst the goals have been shared around shows a well oiled Villa machine, playing as a team. Villa have won nine of their last 12 matches against Ipswich in all competitions (D2 L1), winning both matches last season in the Championship.

As mentioned, Ipswich ruled the roost at Rotherham and defeat was a tough pill to swallow. Manager Paul Hurst said: "The reason we didn't win is because we didn't score a goal. We are still learning but I will say that performance should have got three points. I think we had enough chances. We have got to make sure we have got a cutting edge to us."

Ipswich are winless in their last nine home league games against Aston Villa (D4 L5) since a 3-0 win the top-flight in September 1984. The Tractor Boys scored twice in their opening draw against Blackburn and Hurst has them playing proper football. They had 12 corners to Rotherham's none in that defeat, which tells its own story, and I think they can score against a Villa side that will ultimately be too good for them.

Hull staring at tough season

Hull 2.3811/8 v Blackburn 3.259/4; The Draw 3.39/4

Hull are a ropey outfit and although they've scored in both games played so far this season, they have only taken a solitary point and were arguably fortunate to get that away to Sheffield Wednesday last weekend. I've seen nothing to break my initial feeling that they are going to struggle to avoid relegation.

Blackburn Rovers have two draws against Ipswich and Millwall and also have a tough season ahead. Danny Graham missed several golden opportunities to find the net in the 0-0 with Millwall

I'm not sure where the goals come from at the KCOM on Saturday. Hull have netted only once in their last three home Championship games and Blackburn have won only twice in their last 15 away games.

Over 2.5 goals hasn't landed in any of the last seven meetings between these two sides and under 1.5 would have sufficed on four of those occasions.

***

*You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger

2018/19 P/L

Staked: 8 pts
Returned: 6.26 pts
P/L: -1.74 pts

*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet

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