Cherries to take another step towards promotion
Bournemouth 1.434/9 v Bristol City 8.615/2; The Draw 54/1
Bournemouth went into the international break on a high after beating promotion rivals Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium. It was a significant step forward for Scott Parker's men, who had previously looked fairly unconvincing in 2022. On this occasion, the Cherries' impressive pressing style worked effectively throughout the 90 minutes and unlike in previous outings, they didn't lose any intensity in the second half.
They come into this contest with a six point cushion on third place Luton and are odds-on favourites to collect all three points against struggling Bristol City. Although they have recently dropped points against Peterborough and Reading, they appear to have turned a corner and with the Robins clear of any immediate danger, this could be a fairly easy afternoon for the hosts.
The visitors held West Brom to a 2-2 draw a fortnight ago, however, they are far weaker on their travels. On the road, Nigel Pearson's side have lost six of their last eight and they've conceded 2+ goals in 13 of their last 14 away matches. Although they recently left Ewood Park with a clean sheet, Rovers fired in 15 shots throughout the 90 minutes and Dan Bentley produced a masterclass in Lancashire.
The hosts should get this done fairly easily at 1.434/9, however, backing Over 2.5 Goals at 1.738/11 helps us to extract a little more value. The Cherries have numerous threats going forward and the visitors are always liable to give away a few cheap goals.
Back Over 2.5 Goals in Bournemouth vs Bristol City @ 1.738/11
Nervy 90 minutes at Oakwell
Barnsley 2.3611/8 v Reading 3.412/5; The Draw 3.45
There are just five points separating Barnsley and Reading at the bottom of the Championship and this game could have a significant impact on the quest to avoid relegation. Both sides have shown signs of life in recent weeks, however, the Royals' unexpected victory over Blackburn a fortnight ago has given them a bit of breathing space.
Paul Ince has told his players to remain 'cool and calm' this week and has played down the importance of this contest. However, the former midfielder will know that if his side underperform, it will hand the Tykes a lifeline and set up a grandstand finish to the campaign. The visitors will be without Andy Rinomhota and Yakou Meite, who are both out for the season, however, recent match-winner Josh Laurent will look to continue his fantastic form since returning from injury.
Barnsley need to bounce back from a potentially damaging defeat against local rivals Sheffield United, however, they have been much stronger at Oakwell and are five unbeaten in front of their own fans. Having conceded just eight times in their last nine, the hosts have tightened up and will look to restrict their opponents once again on Saturday afternoon.
With so much at stake, this is unlikely to be a free-flowing end-of-season affair and Under 2.5 Goals looks worth chancing at 1.814/5.
Back Under 2.5 Goals in Barnsley vs Reading @ 1.814/5
Improving Posh to find a way past Boro
Peterborough 54/1 v Middlesbrough 1.774/5; The Draw 3.953/1
Although it appears to have come too late, Peterborough are finally showing signs of life under Grant McCann, particularly in the final third. The former Hull boss has found a way to get Jonson Clarke-Harris firing with the striker finding the net four times in his last three appearances. Posh have notched in each of their last four and have netted seven times in their last three appearances. Having previously struggled to create chances, the home fans will be pleased to see their side finally offering a threat.
McCann hasn't managed to improve the hosts' leaky back-line and they are still prone to making errors and giving away opportunities. It's now eight games without a clean sheet and having recently blown a 2-1 lead here against Swansea, Middlesbrough will fancy their chances of finding a way through.
Boro cannot afford to slip up here, however, they are unlikely to clinch a third consecutive clean sheet against a much-improved Peterborough outfit. Backing BTTS at 1.824/5 looks the best way to tackle this encounter.
Back BTTS in Peterborough vs Middlesbrough @ 1.824/5
Cottagers to edge past local rivals
QPR 5.24/1 v Fulham 1.774/5; The Draw 43/1
Having gone two games without victory, it may appear as though Fulham are having an end-of-season wobble as they try to edge over the line and book their place in the Premier League next season. However, the Cottagers came up against a dogged Barnsley outfit, who are desperate to stay in the division before falling victim to a much-improved West Brom side.
Having not played since March 15th, Marco Silva has enjoyed plenty of time on the training ground with his players and they will fancy their chances of getting back on track this weekend.
Although this is a local derby and it's always fiercely competitive, they could be facing QPR at the right time. The hosts have lost each of their last two home matches, despite going off as odds-on favourites, and were beaten by struggling Peterborough two weeks ago. They haven't kept a clean sheet since the end of January and it's hard to see them keeping the free-scoring Cottagers off the scoresheet here.
Back Fulham to beat QPR @ 1.774/5
Points shared in the welsh capital
Cardiff 2.3611/8 v Swansea 3.45; The Draw 3.259/4
Although neither of these two sides have much left to play for this season, there will be plenty at stake on Saturday afternoon. With Swansea having eased past their local rivals earlier in the campaign, the hosts will be determined to level matters and they will be relying on their much-improved home form. Steve Morison has undoubtedly improved Cardiff in 2022 and with several young players having broken through in the last 12 months, there are plenty of positives going into next season.
The Bluebirds have been breached just three times in their last five outings and leaders Fulham were made to work for their victory in February. They will make things tough for the visitors.
Swansea have been one of the hardest sides to predict in the Championship this season. They stuck three past struggling Peterborough earlier in the month, however, they failed to find a way past Birmingham a fortnight ago. They will have plenty of possession here, however, they may struggle to break down a stubborn Cardiff resistance.
Back Draw in Cardiff vs Swansea @ 3.259/4
Stalemate at the CBS Arena
Coventry 2.1411/10 v Blackburn 3.953/1; The Draw 3.412/5
When everything clicks, Coventry can be unstoppable. The Sky Blues were rampant against Sheffield United on March 12th, however, they've subsequently failed to win their next two matches, despite being priced up as the favourites in both encounters. Mark Robins' men have failed to score in two of their last three home matches, however, they do possess a lively forward line and have beaten Fulham, Millwall, Middlesbrough and the aforementioned Blades at this venue.
The hosts are plagued by defensive injuries and they may be forced to deploy Ben Sheaf as a makeshift centre-back once again.
Blackburn have been slipping down the table and although Tony Mowbray's infamous post-Christmas slump has been temporarily halted, they did slip up against Reading a fortnight ago. Rovers have failed to score in seven consecutive away matches and although the return of Ben Brereton-Diaz is positive, he may only be fit enough to play a bit-part role here having featured for Chile in midweek.
Back Draw in Coventry vs Blackburn @ 3.412/5
Hatters to continue their upward momentum
Luton 2.265/4 v Millwall 3.7511/4; The Draw 3.39/4
Luton have enjoyed an extraordinary season and the Hatters have surprisingly emerged as Bournemouth's closest challengers. Nathan Jones must be commended for steering the side with the division's lowest budget to within spitting distance of the Premier League, however, the welshman is unlikely to let his side get carried away. Jones will not be raising expectations and although they have had several players away on international duty, he will have enjoyed the opportunity to work with his players on the training ground this week.
The hosts have won six of their last eight at Kenilworth Road and did not deserve to lose against QPR at the beginning of the month. Despite having personnel issues at the back, they've managed to keep clean sheets in three of their last four home matches.
Millwall slipped up against Stoke a fortnight ago and their away form remains fairly unconvincing. They've scored just three times in six matches on the road and failed to register an effort on goal against Blackburn on March 8th.
Back Luton to beat Millwall @ 2.265/4
Low-scoring 90 minutes at Pride Park
Derby 2.789/5 v Preston 2.8415/8; The Draw 3.1511/5
Derby remain eight points from safety and look destined for League One. However, despite their predicament, Wayne Rooney's side still appear to be focusing on their performances and they are unbeaten in three of their last four outings at Pride Park. They are tough to beat here, and have lost just once since the end of November.
Although they don't have a huge amount of quality going forward, they are able to keep things tight and have kept five clean sheets in their last nine at this venue.
Preston are building towards next season and the majority of fans will be pleased with their side's progress under Ryan Lowe. They are capable of throwing in the occasional stinker and they will be desperate to bounce back from their 4-0 hammering against Luton. PNE are a lot tougher to beat and have kept five clean sheets in their last seven away fixtures.
Back Under 2.5 Goals in Derby vs Preston @ 1.625/8
Blades' poor away form to continue
Stoke 3.211/5 v Sheffield United 2.546/4; The Draw 3.412/5
Stoke ended their poor run of form with a surprise 2-0 victory over Millwall a fortnight ago and they will be hoping to follow it up with another home win on Saturday afternoon. The Potters still have injury problems, however, they have a strong squad and will fancy their chances of getting something from this contest. With Abdallah Sima set to return, Michael O'Neill should be able to name a relatively strong XI here.
If Sheffield United are to make the play-offs, they will be heavily reliant on their superb home form. In contrast, they've won just two of their last eight away games and have failed to score in three of their last four. This could be a tough 90 minutes on the road for Paul Heckingbottom's men.
Back Stoke Draw No Bet (vs Sheffield United) @ 2.1011/10