The Championship, eh? There are eight games gone, but it’s felt like it’s been on for about six months already.
Hilariously, there’s still a full Premier League-length season remaining in the second tier and that congestion begins to slowly creep in now.
Midweek games are thick and fast, and while Premier League sides have the luxuries of big squads and high-level of recovery, the Championship hasn’t seen any team win more than five of their opening eight games.
There’ll be some tired men at the end of the season!
Anyway, let’s get to the bets.
Friday 7.45pm, Fulham v Wigan: Fulham to win – 4/9
This one should be straightforward.
Scott Parker is transforming Fulham. It’s not always been an easy process, but there are brief moments where they flash Premier League quality. They just need the right conditions.
A team coming down from Lancashire on a Friday night should hand them the short-week advantage they need in order to show their superiority against a side who simply haven’t got a goalscorer in their ranks.
Their top scorer this season is Chey Dunkley, and let me tell you, if a centre half is leading you in that metric, you’re either a set-piece genius or you’ve nothing going for you at the other end of the pitch.
This is a classic case for a 2-0 home win, but we’ll avoid the handicap for extra security.
Friday 8pm, Stoke v Nottingham Forest: Both Teams to Score (Yes) – 4/5
Stoke City couldn’t keep a clean sheet if they tried.
But they’re at home, in a game that has to see them get a result. That level of urgency required usually ends up in a goal, especially when at home.
Not so long ago, the Potters were a midtable Premier League team. But what went wrong for them?
They lost their identity – and with it, that inner ‘Stokeness’ they could call upon, to grab a goal out of absolutely nowhere, annoy the opposition and march their way to a result they definitely didn’t deserve.
But, we should see both goalkeepers conceding here.
Saturday 12.30pm, QPR v West Brom: West Brom to win – 8/5
I know I’m going against my congestion theory, but I can’t help but feel that West Brom are the second-best team in the Championship – just behind Leeds – and the results they need to show that are coming.
This would be one of those marquee moments that promotes them (unintentional joke) from play-off contenders to real automatic promotion shoo-ins. Leeds held that moniker last year, and well – let’s just say it didn’t quite work out for them. With that being said, there’s a bit of mettle about these Baggies.
No team in the country has a better blend of steel at the back, clever movement off the ball in the final third and set-piece prowess than West Bromwich Albion.
And if my theory is correct, they defy the odds and put a couple past Joe Lunley in the QPR goal.
* All odds correct at time of posting.