Bristol City v Coventry
Tuesday 22nd February – 7:45PM KO
The 2-1 victory on Saturday in the Championship for Bristol City was a big lifeline for the manager Nigel Pearson and further vindication of some of his long term decisions. The move of Antoine Semenyo from a wide forward to operating in central areas has made a massive difference to The Robins’ attacking output. The youngsters’ pace and skill has opposition defences backing off and double marking him already which has created space for others. Andreas Weimann is one of the league’s deadliest finishers and his nose for a bit of space has proven critical for his best goal return in his career this term.
Coventry certainly still have a lot to play for. They scraped through on Saturday with a late goal against bottom club Barnsley, but they did deserve the victory based upon chances created. The return of Martyn Waghorn to the starting lineup meant that Coventry could field two main forwards with Callum O’Hare in behind. This had been the preferred method throughout most of the season and is probably the way Mark Robins would like to play. The fact that they also used Maatsen and Jamie Allen in the lineup meant that it is clear that for that match Robins was going for an attacking strategy.
If the Sky Blues maintain that attacking outlook then they should get some joy against Bristol City. The Robins are still operating in a way that allows the opposition chances, Middlesbrough had their fair share on Saturday.
Goals, once again, look to be the order of the day in a Bristol City match. With the result fairly difficult to predict then supporting the goals market looks a less risky proposition to me.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.85 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Middlesbrough v West Brom
Tuesday 22nd February – 7:45PM KO
A disappointing defeat on the road for Middlesbrough seems to be becoming a repeated pattern at the moment. However, whilst they are dropping points away from home, The Riverside has become a bit of a fortress.
At home, across the whole season, Middlesbrough have created over twice the xG of their opponents, 24.45 vs 11.79. Over the course of Wilder’s reign Boro have been the second best team in the league according to expected points and they have outperformed their odds expectation over that time as well.
This is a completely different story for their opponents. For most of the season West Brom have actually been one of the highest performing teams in the league for xG ratio. This was mainly down to their excellent record of keeping opponents at arms’ length by conceding really low xG chances.
However, recent data shows that there has been a massive slide. Now they are conceding 1.19xG of chances per 90 (last 4 games) and creating fewer than 1xG per 90 (0.84p90). This adds up to the type of form we are now seeing from The Baggies where results are following the performance data as they slide down the table.
To get odds against about a side that has been performing so much better than the other one is an opportunity that I cannot let go. Siding with Middlesbrough in the win market is the way to play this.
Prediction: Middlesbrough to Win, 2.3 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Fulham v Peterborough
Wednesday 23rd February – 7:45PM KO
Big news in this one is the parting of ways of Darren Ferguson from Peterborough. It brings to an end Ferguson’s third tenure at the club and now the countdown is reset until he returns once more.
Where this leaves Posh ahead of this one is unclear, except to say that their recent performances have been dire. Against Derby they barely threatened the goal, in a match in which they really needed a result to help them in their relegation battle. They sold Siriki Dembele in January which added to the already concerning issues going forwards for Posh.
It is perhaps not necessary to justify why Fulham would be expected to win this match, they are exceptionally short in odds to do so. Adding over 2.5 goals to the bet makes the price much more palatable. The reason I think that this is achievable and worth backing is partly because of Fulham’s failure to win on Saturday.
Fulham are likely to be hungry to get out of the traps and attack Peterborough to get that Huddersfield defeat out of their minds. The options in attack are well known, Mitrovic, Wilson, Kebano, Cavaleiro, Cairney. It would definitely be a surprise if the Posh defenders are able to keep them out over the course of 90 minutes. Fulham average over 2xG consistently in their matches, it has been the same all season. Peterborough are not average opponents though, their chances against metrics are 22nd out of 24 across the season in open play.
Even if Fulham don’t dominate quite as much as expected there is still a good chance of getting over 2.5 goals. Fulham are relatively loose defensively, as evidenced by conceding twice to Huddersfield on Saturday. A 2-1 or 3-1 win would still be good enough to land the win in this bet.
Prediction: Fulham & Over 2.5 Goals, 1.73 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
QPR v Blackpool
Wednesday 23rd February – 7:45PM KO
QPR are in a little bit of a sticky patch at the moment. Struggling in front of goal to create chances, as evidenced by their 0.89xG per 90 average over the last four matches. This is despite Chair and Willock returning to be in tandem on Saturday.
Blackpool’s manager Neil Critchley is proving to be astute at this level. Their recruitment is very good, Josh Bowler has been a revelation this season and attracts defenders towards him with his direct running style. However, now Blackpool have Charlie Kirk on the other side who can also threaten with the ball at his feet but has more of a quality delivery on him too.
Blackpool have been away to some of the biggest sides in the league already this season and performed very well. A recent 1-1 away at Fulham goes along with a 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough, 2-2 at Bournemouth and a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United. Critchley will have his side well organised and with the ball-carrying threats on the counter attack they are the perfect type of side to play away from home effectively. QPR may have the most possession in this match but expect Blackpool to get at least one goal in the game and that could be enough to avoid defeat.
Prediction: Blackpool Double Chance, 1.8 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
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