Football Tips: 3 best bets for Sheffield United v Birmingham on Saturday night

Our tipster Colin Harvey wonders if it's too early for a crunch match.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Last season’s 20th-placed Premier League team tackle The Championship’s 18th-placed on Saturday evening live and direct on your telly box. That’s right, it’s Sheffield United hosting Birmingham City and it’s live on the TV – as if you didn’t already know.

This is a tricky one as these sides have the potential to massively underperform this season. Big talk before a ball has been kicked, I know, but United could struggle this season and City know they need big improvement.

Saturday 8pm: Sheffield United v Birmingham City
Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

The Blades will be hoping for an instant return to the top flight while The Blues will be aiming to finish top half and have something to build on. But how likely are either of those scenarios?

I have my doubts that either is achievable and this game could tell us a lot about where each is in their respective cycles. United are clearly the worst positioned of the clubs coming down while City can see green shoots, but are they going to blossom into something beautiful? I might be over reacting here, but whatever the truth is, one thing’s for sure – these are your three best bets for the game.

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Safest Bet: Sheffield United to Win

While I don’t have high hopes for either side at this stage, there’s no denying that United have the better squad with millions of Premier League TV pounds helping to bolster it. City do appear to finally be doing the right things off the pitch and with some good signings and the shrewd appointment of Lee Bowyer there is hope for the future.

But that future might have to start next weekend. The Blades had a disastrous time of it last year but Slavisa Jokanovic is a decent manager who has experience at this level. He should know what’s required for us to see a Sheffield United win here.

Value Play: Sheffield United (-1)

In fact, I think we’re in for a rather healthy Blades win on Saturday evening. The Yorkshire side’s players are surely going to relish the much-easier task on their hands this season. While they obviously want to be in the top flight, there’s something to be said for being the big fish.

Both sides are a work in progress but it’s impossible to deny that United are closer to being the finished article/furthest away from oblivion (delete as appropriate). They have the better squad, will be playing with far more freedom than last season, and they can run out convincing winners and pass the Sheffield United (-1) handicap.

Long Shot: Rhian Brewster to Score 2 or More Goals

Among a myriad of problems for United last season, the lack of goals was right up there. They were far from prolific in both recent seasons in the top flight, scoring close to one every other game last term. That will have to improve markedly this season if they are to at least challenge for the playoffs.

One man who could prove to be the X-Factor for The Blades in The Championship this year is Rhian Brewster. If he gets a decent run under Slavisa Jokanovic he’ll be keen to show what he can do from the off here. His pace and finishing could be lethal and it might pay to back Brewster to Score 2 or More Goals as your long shot in this one.

Tips for Sheff Utd v Birmingham

Safest Bet: Sheffield United to Win
Value Play: Sheffield United (-1)
Long Shot: Rhian Brewster to Score 2 or More Goals

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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