As the Championship season heads in to the final straight, James Buttler finds the best bets in Saturday's 3pm matches...
"Rotherham are fighting for their lives. With Bolton and Ipswich beneath them all but down, Rotherham find themselves on 36 points, the same as Reading and Wigan and one behind Millwall. The Millers have tasted defeat just once, away at Sheffield United, in their last eight matches, and they've won two of their last three games."
Millers' Yorkshire grit could blunt Norwich
Rotherham [5.6] v Norwich [1.69]; The Draw [4.0]
Depending upon the lunchtime game between Leeds and Sheffield United, Norwich could still be top of the Championship table by the time they kick-off in South Yorkshire. Regardless, the two automatic promotion places appear to be down to these three teams and it's easy to think high flying Norwich will find life easy against 22nd placed Rotherham. But the Championship doesn't play by those rules.
Rotherham are fighting for their lives. With Bolton and Ipswich beneath them all but down, Rotherham find themselves on 36 points, the same as Reading and Wigan and one behind Millwall. The Millers have tasted defeat just once, away at Sheffield United, in their last eight matches, and they've won two of their last three games. At home they are unbeaten in three and have scored at least one goal in 11 of their last 12 games. They are not easy pickings.
Of course, Daniel Farke's Norwich have stellar form with five straight wins and only one defeat in their last 11 league games have seen them likely candidates for Premier League football next season. The Canaries have only lost two of their last 22 matches against Rotherham in all competitions (D10, W10), but they have won just one of their last 11 league visits to Rotherham (D4, L6) and that was way back in September 1967.
Since drawing 0-0 with Hull City in November, Norwich have scored in all 18 of their Championship games, scoring 43 goals - seven more than any other team in that time. The play is Rotherham +1 on the match handicaps at [2.4].
Nothing to happen can be a great bet
Stoke [1.85] v Reading [5.2]; The Draw [3.6]
Stoke are unbeaten in six matches, however five of those matches have resulted in draws, so backing the Potters to win against Reading holds little appeal. Stoke need to up their game and backing unders on the goals could be a way in to this match. Since Nathan Jones took charge on January 12th, no side has scored fewer Championship goals than Stoke City. They are not a side I would pay to watch right now.
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Stoke's last nine Championship matches and have kept clean sheets in their last three league matches It doesn't seem to matter who Stoke play, they are goal hoovers, sucking the action out of any match they play. The hosts will be without suspended midfielder Sam Clucas and continue to miss the injured Sam Vokes and Peter Etebo.
Reading were beaten 3-0 by a strong Leeds team on Tuesday night and will have chances against this Stoke team. Level on points with Rotherham in 22nd, Jose Gomes's side are in desperate need of points in their battle against relegation. Gomes has a long list of injuries and is likely to ring the changes for this trip to the Midlands.
Under 1.5 match goals is priced at 15/8. We don't back nothing to happen very often and Stoke are a 'nothing to happen' side.
Hull's home form too strong to ignore
Hull [2.16] v QPR [3.8]; The Draw [3.5]
Hull may have lost their last two Championship matches and their form that had once threatened to take them into the play-offs has fallen away, but they will still fancy their chances against Queens Park Rangers. Nigel Adkins' team are unbeaten in nine matches at the KCOM and have won seven of those games.
QPR are winless in their last 10 league visits to Hull, a run of failure that stretches back to February 1970. Steve McLaren's team have collected fewer points than any other side in the Championship in 2019, just five points in 12 league games, winning just one of those matches. They have lost their last four matches away from home and have no win in seven away games. It is no sort of form to put your hard-earned cash behind.
The Hull to win and Jarrod Bowen to score bet has served me well this season. Bowen has been the Tigers' star this campaign, involved in four goals in three Championship appearances against QPR (three goals, one assist).
So, my final pick this Saturday is Hull to win, Jarrod Bowen to score and over 2.5 match goals at [5.66].
*You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger
James Buttler on 2018/19 Championship
Staked: 161 pts
Returned: 206.34 pts
P/L: +45.34 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
Back Rotherham +1 on the match handicaps vs Norwich @ [2.4] (best bet)
Back Under 1.5 match goals in Stoke vs Reading @ 15/8
Back Hull to win, Jarrod Bowen to score and over 2.5 match goals @ [5.66]