Tonight sees top-of-the-table Wolves host an underachieving Fulham side in a game that should be a good watch for footballing purists. The goalscoring return of Tom Cairney last week is a major boost for the away side, but Wolves returned to form and the Championship summit in midweek thanks to an impressive win at Norwich. I fancy Wolves to make a statement of intent with a convincing win, so back them to be ahead at half-time and full-time at 9/5 with BoyleSports.
Game of the day on Saturday is the battle of the River Severn as Cardiff make the short trip to face Bristol City in a game that sees 4th-place host 2nd. The Robins are banging in goals like it’s going out of fashion – with eight in their last three games, all resulting in maximum points. Meanwhile, Cardiff’s promotion push has been stuttering in recent weeks, with just two wins in five, and the goals are starting to dry up. This one’s a tough one to call, but Neil Warnock knows how to keep a game tight, so stick a wedge on under 2.5 goals at near-enough even money with Ladbrokes.
One side who are wishing there wasn’t an international break coming up is Derby County. The Rams are in sparkling form following away wins at Norwich and Leeds inside the space of four days, and they return to Pride Park on Saturday to face a very beatable opponent in the form of Reading. Just one clean sheet since August for the Royals, and their pretty crap recent record of one win in eight against Derby makes 4/5 for the home win look a quality price.
It might not be the most glamorous of the three o’clock kick offs, but Nottingham Forest v QPR stands out for one stat in particular. The blue and white hoops have NEVER won at the City Ground, like, ever. Seriously. That’s 33 attempts in today’s money, so I’m going to stick my neck out and go against QPR’s great form and back the Forest home win at 11/8 with Ladbrokes.
Sunday’s game in the second tier is a big one in the north east, as Middlesbrough host a Sunderland side that’s in disarray following the sacking of Simon Grayson just minutes after the midweek draw with Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night. Garry Monk’s Boro are starting to find their feet following back-to-back away wins, and this weekend is a great opportunity for them to potentially jump in the play-offs with three more points. The home win looks too short for me at 4/6, so I’m backing the Middlesbrough goal machine Britt Assombalonga to find the back of the net in this one at 21/20 with BoyleSports.
The FA Cup
FA Cup First Round Day isn’t usually the best place for value, but here are a few tidbits to think about if you’re looking for a sprinkle of cup magic…
Notts County sit top of League Two, and they’re at home against League One Bristol Rovers on Friday night. Rovers may sit in mid-table in the third division but are in shocking form on the road, losing five of their last six matches and drawing blanks in all of those losses. Notts County returned to the top of the league with an impressive 3-0 win over Newport last time out, and you would be a fool not to back them for the win here at a ridiculous 9/5 against their struggling opponents.
Gillingham may be sitting in the League One relegation spots but their form has picked up of late – just one defeat in four has given them a glimmer of hope in what has been a tough season so far. Despite a two-division gap, they’re a great price at 5/6 to win at home to Conference-side Leyton Orient. Orient are struggling in non-league after their relegation from League Two last season, so this looks like a banker for the Gills.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a cupset, let me point you in the direction of Danny Cowley’s Lincoln City. The Imps stunned the footballing world to make it to the quarter-finals of the competition as a Conference side last season, and are more than capable of causing another upset by winning at AFC Wimbledon. The Dons have lost three on the spin and are starting to slide down the League One table, while Lincoln have lost just once in eight games. There may be a division between the two sides, but I’m feeling lucky, and so should you when a price of 5/2 for the away win is staring at you!
El Capitano’s Tip of the Day: Notts County to beat Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup at a massive 9/5.
Cappa’s Acca: £10 on a Championship/FA Cup mashup of Villa, Derby, Gillingham and Plymouth returns £132. Back it here!