Preston v Bristol City
Saturday 29th January – 3:00PM KO
Preston fans are talking about riding the Lowecomotion all the way to the Championship playoffs after a resounding victory over West Brom last time out. The former Plymouth manager has certainly galvanised the support behind the team and that is a huge difference to the club, especially when they are playing at home.
If we combine this with the attacking reinforcements that have come to Deepdale recently, namely Cameron Archer, who scored a goal on his debut in midweek and all of a sudden Preston seem much more of a threat throughout the 90 minutes.
As far as the away side goes, a 2-1 defeat away at Luton in midweek just continued the theme of goals flowing whenever Bristol City take to the pitch. That is now the 7th consecutive match that Over 2.5 & BTTS has landed for the Robins. They are averaging 3.69 goals per game in their away matches this season.
Both teams are in that section of teams that are unlikely to be in contention for either playoffs or relegation so they should be able to play with a bit of freedom. Also, a delve into the local media has provided extra confidence behind this bet with the sentence from Nigel Pearson, “We can’t defend set-plays at the moment, we’re relying on one, two or three players winning everything and if they can’t then we don’t have a collective response or we haven’t been able to find the collective response we need and that’s a frustration.”
When you are defending crosses in that way against the likes of Emil Riis and Ched Evans, alongside Hughes, Bauer and van den Burg at set-pieces, with Ben Whiteman’s delivery, I would be surprised if there aren’t set-piece chances as well as open play crosses for Preston to score from.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 2.05 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Barnsley v Bournemouth
Saturday 29th January – 3:00PM KO
This feels like going back into a building that is on fire to be burned again but I cannot ignore the extreme performance data difference between the two clubs in this fixture.
Barnsley are looking quite listless at the bottom of the table. Some of their players are undoubted Championship quality, Callum Brittain and Callum Styles the standouts, but their forward line screams League One. This is manifesting itself in results, goals and performances. Taking home matches specifically Barnsley would’ve been expected to win ~16 points according to the match odds, but instead have walked away with 10. This is still an overperformance according to expected points, where actual performances based on chances created has them down at 9.25 points.
The discrepancy between Barnsley’s expected goals scored and conceded at home is wild. 8.97xG for versus 19.08 xG against is a quite horrific balance of play. Of course, to provide more confidence to backing Bournemouth, the opposite is true for the Cherries. 17.88xG for versus 11.86 against in their away matches demonstrates that the chances will be there for Bournemouth, it is just a question of being able to put their chances away,
The Cherries forward line was certainly very profligate against Hull City in their last match, but variance would suggest that goals are due if the chances continue to flow. Scott Parker is trying to bring in reinforcements, Kieffer Moore is a target, but any incoming is unlikely to feature in the Bournemouth side at the weekend so will not affect this bet.
Prediction: Bournemouth to Win, 1.70 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Derby v Birmingham
Sunday 30th January – 1:30PM KO
Derby County are pretty miserly at both ends of the pitch. This has been a theme of their season from the beginning but it appears to be becoming an even stronger trend of late. The combined xG in their last four matches has been 1.52, the lowest in the league by some distance. In open play they are creating 0.3xG of chances, but only conceding 0.35xG at the other end.
The lack of goal threat in the Derby side means that they have to play a very tight and defensively based game. Tom Lawrence has been excellent of late and he is a player that you can’t rule out a piece of magic from, but his overperformance with chances that are unlikely cannot last.
Birmingham were able to rescue themselves from serious trouble in midweek at home to Peterborough but the overall performance is unlikely to have provided them with much confidence. It might be a benefit for them to be playing away from home given the toxicity at St. Andrews at the moment and their away record isn’t awful. However, they are only creating chances around a goal a game and combining this with Derby’s security it is a game that doesn’t look exciting for the neutral.
Blues have made ventures into the transfer market this week to help improve their goal threat though. Lyle Taylor arrives from Nottingham Forest and may go straight into the team, however, his goal record over the last couple of seasons does not inspire. Juninho Bacuna also comes into the squad to bolster the midfield and though he is capable of moments of brilliance he isn’t a consistent threat going forwards.
All of the evidence suggests that goals could be at a premium here and though the price also suggests the same, covering 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-0 and 0-2 scorelines looks a very safe bet.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.53 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Cardiff v Nottingham Forest
Sunday 30th January – 4:00PM KO
There are a lot of performance metrics that point out there is a huge gulf in quality between these two sides. Taking expected points over the last four games for the most recent form, Nottm Forest sit third with an expected 8.82 points, whilst Cardiff are 17th with 4.34. Most of this difference comes in chance creation with Forest being the 2nd best open-play chance creators in the league with 1.45xG per 90 over the last four games whereas that is where Cardiff’s big struggles lie, only 0.4xG per 90 in open play.
Cardiff can often counteract this with set-piece dominance but under Steve Morison this doesn’t seem to have been quite as successful. Kieffer Moore is still at the heart of a lot of transfer rumour as we come towards the end of the window and it feels as though Moore has been somewhat distracted by this. Having seen Cardiff live recently they are clearly missing some dynamism and clarity in the final third and their change of style hasn’t paid dividends in their results just yet.
Forest, on the other hand, have really hit their stride and confidence is flowing through the club and supporters. The strong stance that they have taken on Brennan Johnson this week, they have put out a statement affirming that the youngster will not be leaving this window, shows how confident they are feeling about the potential of hitting the promotion frame this season. They are one of the best teams in the league at the moment and with the firepower of Grabban, Johnson, Zinckernagel, and the big impact of recent signing Keinan Davis give me confidence that they will get at least one goal. At the very least this should be enough to get something and cover a draw no bet wager
Prediction: Nottingham Forest Draw no Bet, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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