EFL: An Opening Day Betting Bonanza

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EFL: An Opening Day Betting Bonanza

James Capps

It’s August! Which can only mean three things…

  1. Football is back
  2. Again, Football is back.

Right then. Where to begin…

Oh yes…The Championship

There are two Championship games on Friday night to kick things off. First up is the Stadium of Light as former Premier League basement boys Sunderland face off against perennial bottlers Derby County. New Black Cats manager Simon Grayson seems to have confused reality with his Football Manager 2006 save by signing Aiden McGeady and James Vaughan, while his side’s recent 5-0 friendly defeat to Celtic won’t win him friends anytime soon. The Rams meanwhile have made some smart additions in Tom Huddlestone, Curtis Davies and Andre Wisdom. 6/5 for the Black Cats doesn’t deserve a penny of your hard-earned cash considering the state they’re in, so back the away side to win either half at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.

The other Friday game features Derby’s local rivals, Nottingham Forest, and everyone else’s rivals, Millwall. Britt Assombalonga’s departure means the Reds are struggling for goals up top, while Millwall drew plenty of blanks in their last Championship season that featured the familiar forward line of Lee Gregory and Steve Morrison. Don’t expect a classic here – have a punt on under 1.5 goals at a tasty 11/5 with BoyleSports.

The departure of Britt Assombalonga leaves a big hole in the Forest side. (Source: 90min)
The departure of Britt Assombalonga leaves a big hole in the Forest side. (Source: 90min)

On to Saturday now and we have some absolute corking potential winners. The first one is at Portman Road where Ipswich Town’s pre-season preparations took a disastrous turn as they lost 6-1 at League One Charlton. Mick McCarthy is in dead man walking territory, so the last wily fox he’ll want to see is Harry Redknapp and his Birmingham side. ‘arry has made some astute additions at the back in Marc Roberts from Barnsley, and Brighton ‘keeper David Stockdale. They’re in for a good season, and Ipswich look destined to struggle, so get on Bimingham to get off to a flyer with three points at a generous 11/5.

Brentford look a great shout to take three points away from Bramall Lane against newly-promoted Sheffield United. The Bees have kept hold of star player Jota, and the signing of Exeter forward Ollie Watkins could well prove to be inspired. Chris Wilder’s Blades on the other hand haven’t added much in the way of proven Championship quality so far this summer, with Ched Evans the most high-profile acquisition. This should be an entertaining game, so back the Bees plus both teams to score at a HUUUUGE 24/5.

Stats can be hard to come by at this time of the season, but if that’s your way of doing things when picking out an acca, I have a couple of nuggets for you. First up – Aston Villa have won their last seven home games against Hull City, and are 21/20 to make it eight in a row in Saturday’s evening kick off. If that’s not enough for you, have a think about backing Bristol City in their home game against Barnsley. The Robins are unbeaten (including ten wins) in 14 games at Ashton Gate against the Tykes. Barnsley have also lost key figures in Marley Watkins and Josh Scowen, while the future of right-back Andy Yiadom is in growing doubt. This is a banker – get on the home win at just short of even money.

League One

Bury have been splashing the cash in League One this summer, making impressive attacking signings including Jermaine Beckford, Nicky Ajose and Chris Maguire. They’re even money to kick off with three points at home to a Walsall side that have been quiet in the market, and have also lost goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to Cardiff. I mean, obviously they’ll have a goalkeeper for the game, but Etheridge was pretty good, so…

Oxford have also been busy in the transfer window, making ten signings including Mike Williamson and James Henry from Wolves – two signings that have “promotion” well and truly in their vocabularies. They travel to Oldham, who are no strangers to a relegation battle in League One. An away win here for Oxford looks tidy at 13/8 with BoyleSports.

James Henry has won promotion with his last two clubs in League One. (Source: The Bolton News)
James Henry has won promotion with his last two clubs in League One. (Source: The Bolton News)

Two of the promoted sides have winnable home games to start their season. Doncaster have a great chance of three points when they host Gillingham. The Gills struggled in League One last year and did well to stay up, while Darren Ferguson’s Doncaster have plenty going forward in the form of John Marquis. Portsmouth return to the third tier when they host Rochdale. A tricky match on paper for Pompey, but they’re a club on the up and in Brett Pitman they have a striker who will score bags of goals at this level. Get on the Pompey and Doncaster double at 100/30 with Ladbrokes.

League Two

My bet for the title in League Two has got to be Mansfield Town. The Stags boast a manager in Steve Evans that has won several lower league promotions, and a host of signings with proven quality at levels above this one. They travel to Crewe Alexandra on the opening day – a side that had a poor season last time out and have made just two additions to the side. Get on the away win here at 13/10.

Newport County pulled off the greatest of great escapes last season when they survived relegation having been 11 points adrift as late as March. There is still plenty of buzz around the place as they prepare to travel to Stevenage first up. The hosts overachieved last season but dipped badly at the final hurdle to finish tenth when a play-off spot looked certain, and could that hangover remain going into this one? I think for one half it will, at least, so get on the visitors to win either half at 13/10 with Ladbrokes.

El Capitano’s Tip of the Day: Bristol City at 20/23 to beat Barnsley in the Championship.

Cappa’s Acca: £10 on Sheffield Wednesday, Villa, Bury, Charlton and Chesterfield returns a meaty £505 with Ladbrokes. Back it here.