Numerical Advantage: Goals at Sheffield Wednesday & Brentford but expect a snoozefest at Elland Road

Numerical Advantage is back this week with his four best bets from this weekend’s Championship matches.

We’ve also got some brilliant scatter plot graphics, comparing each club’s attacking and defensive performances so far this season, so you can really see where the match-ups and mismatches in the weekend’s league games are most likely to occur. There’s a full explanation of these available further down the page, or simply click one of the graphics below to get stuck in.

Numerical Advantage: Championship, 5th March 2016

  • Back Sheffield Wednesday to score more than twice @
  • Back two or more goals for Brentford @
  • Under 2.5 goals for an Elland Road snoozefest @
  • Both teams to score when Derby meet Huddersfield @

Owls to glide past Rotherham

As you’ll see from our graphics, only Burnley have finished more efficiently than Sheffield Wednesday this season while nobody has withstood fewer shots for each goal conceded than struggling Rotherham. The Owls’ home record is also enviable: they’ve only been defeated once at Hillsborough in the league this season and that was against high-flying Middlesbrough back in August.
The visiting Millers are without an away win or a clean sheet in eight attempts, so while the goals haven’t been flowing that freely for Wednesday lately, it’s safe to assume that they can stick a couple past their visitors here.

You can back the home side to score at least twice, which offers better odds than a home win @

Bees to sting Charlton into submission

Brentford’s recent record may look poor on paper, but until they slipped up at Rotherham last weekend all eight of the previous defeats have come against the current top eight sides in the league table. Their record against clubs beneath them is a lot better, with that aforementioned loss to the Millers their only defeat against a bottom half team this season.
They don’t come much more bottom half than Charlton, who are rooted to the foot of the table and haven’t mustered even as much as a clean sheet in their last eight away matches. You can see from our defence graphic that the Addicks have allowed opponents a ridiculous number of shots this season and nobody has allowed more shots on target in away matches than their average of 5.6 per match.

Again backing the home side to score at least two goals gives longer odds @

A frustrating afternoon at Elland Road

This match looks pretty underwhelming, with the attack graphic showing that both have struggled to make their chances count this season. It’s been nine games since Leeds scored more than once and they’ve only won two of their nine matches against clubs currently beneath them in the table.
Visitors Bolton aren’t exactly in great shape themselves: they’ve yet to win away this season and only two clubs have taken fewer shots on target on the road. With their hosts having created fewer chances than any other home side, the two goalkeepers are unlikely to have much to do.

You might as well make some money out of this likely snooze-fest by backing under 2.5 goals @

Huddersfield to rattle the Rams

It’s hardly controversial to refer to Derby as “out of sorts”: the optimist can point to two wins in three league games but the pessimist can counter that it’s also two wins in 11. The Rams haven’t netted more than once in any of their last five home games and only five clubs have gotten a smaller percentage of their shots on target this season.
Huddersfield are sitting deceptively low in the table for a club which has netted in their last 11 away trips – the longest run in the division – although their defence hasn’t put up much of a fight when tested, as you can see from our attack graphic.

It’s still too soon to be backing Derby with confidence, but both teams to score looks interesting @


These are a quick visual way to compare all of the clubs in the division against each other. On the horizontal axis we have quantity (how many shots each club has taken or faced) and on the vertical we have quality (how many shots on average it takes them to score or concede). The thick lines sit on the averages for each axis, which divides each graphic into four quadrants. Just in case that doesn’t make sense, we’ve included some observations beneath each graphic that will give you the general idea.

Attacking Effectiveness

PP Champ Attack 2016-02-25

In the top right we can see that both Reading and Nottingham Forest have fired in plenty of shots this season but the quality hasn’t always matched the quantity. Below them in the bottom right are league leaders Hull, who have been much better at making their dominance count. In the bottom left we have the strange cases of Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday, who don’t shoot very often but are still managing to score enough to sustain a promotion chase. In the undesirable top left are the almost equally poor attacks of MK Dons and Charlton, who rarely shoot and tend not to make a good job of it when they do.

Graphics – Defensive Effectiveness

PP Champ Defence 2016-02-25

In the middle of the top left we find the formidable defences of Hull and Middlesbrough, who have soaked up far more shots for each goal conceded than anyone else and don’t allow many efforts in the first place. In the top right quadrant we can see that Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham have allowed opponents plenty of shots but absorbed a lot of that punishment – perhaps on purpose as part of a counter-attacking strategy – while below them in the bottom right are the division’s worst defences. Charlton in particular have allowed an obscene number of attempts at their goal, so it’s no wonder that they’re in a relegation battle. In the bottom left we can see that Reading and Huddersfield have struggled to deal with their opponents’ shots, so it’s just as well that they don’t have to deal with many.

Data correct on Thursday 3rd March.

Graphics courtesy of Ben Mayhew (@experimental361)

What do you think?