Blackburn 3.412/5 v Middlesbrough 2.47/5; The Draw 3.39/4
There was a point about two months ago when I really wasn't convinced by Middlesbrough's title credentials, they'd just lost back-to-back away games and failed to beat Fulham at home in between, and they were getting the results they deserved given the standard of performances they were producing.
But something clicked in a 20-minute spell at Molineux. 1-0 down to Wolves, Boro turned the game around completely and won with authority, and they've barely looked back since.
Aitor Karanka's men have lost just one of their last 10 league games, that being to an in-form Hull side, and they've taken 25 points from a possible 30 in that time.
The most impressive aspect of this Middlesbrough team at present however is the number of clean sheets that they are recording. It's six league games in a row now that the Boro defence hasn't been breached, and it's eight clean sheets from their last nine league games. They've also just recorded very impressive back-to-back away wins at Ipswich and Brighton, so confidence couldn't really be any higher within the squad.
Blackburn haven't been doing too badly of late either, in fact Sunday's loss to Reading was their first reversal in nine games. But Paul Lambert's men have been far better on the road than they have at Ewood Park recently, recording just a single-goal victory over a poor Rotherham side in front of their fans since early October.
Rovers will be a tough nut to crack no doubt, but the way Middlesbrough are defending right now you have to fancy them to take the points. And a quirky stat just to add a bit more confidence in a Boro win and that stunning defence is the fact that they've won their last five Boxing Day matches, keeping a clean sheet on each occasion.
Back Middlesbrough to Win @ 2.47/5
Derby 1.528/15 v Fulham 7.613/2; The Draw 4.77/2
I mentioned 10 days ago how Derby have a good record of winning games convincingly, and not taking their foot off the gas once the winning line is in sight, and that was evidenced perfectly when they landed the best bet selection with a 4-0 win over Bristol City thanks largely to scoring three goals in the last half an hour.
The Rams have since triumphed at Portman Road, beating promotion rivals Ipswich to confirm that Paul Clement's men are in excellent form, and another three points on Boxing Day looks a forgone conclusion.
You should never take anything for granted of course, and I'm experienced enough to know that the festive season can throw up some shocking results, but you're best off just ignoring what time of year it is and just go about your betting how you normally would. And with that being the case Derby should have few problems getting past out-of-form Fulham.
It's been almost seven weeks since The Cottagers lost 2-5 to Birmingham, resulting in Kit Symons losing his job, and as of yet they still haven't found a replacement.
Stuart Gray is doing all he can as caretaker boss but the managerial situation needs to be resolved as soon as possible with Fulham in such poor form. Gray's men are eight games without a win now, they've conceded at least two in their last four matches, and against a Derby side who really know how to put sides to the sword I'm expecting a comfortable home victory here.
Back Derby -1 Win @ 2.47/5 (best bet)
Hull 2.26/5 v Burnley 3.814/5; The Draw 3.55/2
Hull and Burnely are two very evenly matched sides, both of whom can boast solid defensive records while, on their day, are capable of beating anyone in the Championship.
They've both also been through a tough stretch of form lately too, resulting in them falling a little further behind in the title race than they'd ideally like.
The Tigers have lost three of their last five in the league, two of those defeats coming at the hands of struggling Leeds and Rotherham, while they also failed to beat lowly Bristol City six games ago. Steve Bruce's men have gone from leading the Championship table to being five points behind current leaders Middlesbrough in seemingly no time.
The Clarets were in even worse form than Hull up until last weekend, going six games without a win before thrashing Charlton 4-0 at Turf Moor last Saturday.
So my gut feeling is that both managers will be putting more emphasis on not losing this game, than going all out for the win, especially given that Boro and Derby have very winnable matches on the same day.
So while I'm not suggesting this will end up being a draw, I fully expect it to be a very defensive-minded low-scoring affair, and believe that wagering that we'll see no more than a single goal will give us a good run for our money.
Back Under 1.5 Goals @ 2.89/5
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