Canaries on song and proving promotion credentials
Norwich 1.9310/11 v Notts Forest 4.57/2; The Draw 3.613/5
Norwich are flying in the Championship having won three of their last nine of their last 12 league matches. The Canaries are getting into a valuable habit of securing late wins with Teemu Pukki's 86th minute strike securing a 1-0 away win against Blackburn Rovers last weekend. Pukki's 90th minute goal earned a 3-2 win against Bolton a couple of games before. Turning one point into three with last gasp goals has the potential to turn a mediocre season into a Premier League return.
The Canaries haven't lost a Championship fixture since 6 October when they lost at home to Stoke. Manager Daniel Farke has created an environment where success is coming easily. They beat Forest 2-1 in October and I expect them to complete the double on Boxing Day.
Nottingham Forest had been getting into similar habits, but over the last three games the goals have completeley dried up. Lewis Grabban had been on fire, but his ability to regularly hit the back of the net has abruptly ended and with that Forests's season has stalled. With just one win in their last five games Forest are taking on high'flying Norwich at completely the wrong time.
Forest have won just one of their last 11 competitive away games at Carrow Road (W1, D3, L7) and that run of disappointment looks set to continue. They have also lost their last three Boxing Day league games (2014, 2016 and 2017).
Norwich to win at 1.9310/11 looks a very fair price.
Baggies and Gayle to blow Wigan away
West Brom 1.68/13 v Wigan 6.411/2; The Draw 4.216/5
West Brom are a go-to side in the Championship. Unbeaten in seven league games (W5, D2), the task is to find added value from a side with a tremendous attack, which includes Dwight Gayle, Jay Rodriquez and Harvey Barnes.
The Baggies have scored at least once in all 19 of their home league matches in 2018 and they should fill their Christmas stockings with more strikes on Wednesday.
Fresh from a 4-0 win over Rotherham, West Brom should comfortably dispose of a Wigan side with only one win in 10 games and three successive defeats. Paul Cook's team are struggling to score goals, failing to notch in their last three matches, and are regularly picking the ball out of their own net.
Only the equally dire form displayed by the bottom four clubs is preventing Wigan from slipping into the drop zone and they may well spend the rest of the season looking over their shoulders.
West Brom win this and let's boost the price by adding in Over 2.5 match goals and at least one from Dwight Gayle at 3.44.
Robins are not just for Christmas cards
Bristol City 2.3211/8 v Notts Forest 4.57/2; Brentfor 3.259/4
Bristol City were slow out of the blocks this season after losing some key players over the summer. The Robins have turned it around in recent weeks and with a nickname like that it must be a Christmas pick. They are unbeaten in their last five matches and held Norwich to a draw at Ashton Gate and also took a point against Derby.
Bristol City beat Brentford 1-0 at Griffin Park in October and should get their first home and away success in league competition against the Bees since the 2003/04 season.
Brentford have really struggled since Dean Smith left for greener pastures at Aston Villa. They may have beaten Bolton 1-0 least time out, but don't take that as a guide. Their away form is atrocious. They haven't won away all season and in 11 trips have collected just two points (D2, L9).
You cannot trust the Bees to take anything from this game and a confident Bristol City side are nicely priced at 2.3211/8 is the sensible play.
Boxing Day often delivers goals and, with a full raft of fixtures on Wednesday, I'm adding in an Over 1.5 Match Goal acca to restock the coffers in time for a New Years drink. Over 1.5 across the board is priced at 19.17 across the 12 matches and it's a fun bet I like as it keeps you interested until the final whistle.
Happy Christmas everyone!!
*You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger