Football Tips: Your 3 best bets for Monday’s EFL games on the telly

Our tipster Colin Harvey wonders if the 27th is actually the real Christmas present.


* 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.

There’s a lot of stuff (still) going on in the world now. Not all of it good, you might have noticed. But for better or worse, whether it’s right or wrong, English football rumbles relentlessly on over the festive season and Monday is no different.

Actually, Monday is different; Monday is bloody fantastic. Not only it is a Bank Holiday but if you’ve got the right TV sports package you can park yourself on the sofa and enjoy some salt-of-the-earth soccer all day long.


There’s only four games on across England on Monday but some expert planning (no, really) means they’re all on the TV and we’re catered for from lunchtime until bedtime. It’s League One taking centre stage first up with Doncaster v Sunderland getting the ball rolling at 12.30pm.

At 3pm it’s stalwart crisis club Derby v perpetual yo-yo club West Brom before QPR and Bournemouth duke it out at the higher echelons of the Championship. Newcastle v Man Utd rounds the day off in the big house but I’ll be shaking down our appetisers with a trio of tasty best bets in the Football League for you right here.


12.30pm: Doncaster v Sunderland

TV: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

High flying Sunderland head to dithering Doncaster in League One on Monday to kick us off. The Black Cats are 3rd heading into Christmas, four points behind leaders Rotherham. For Donny it’s looking bleak, they’re 23rd, four points and a hefty goal difference short of the sunlit uplands, represented in this case by Morecambe who currently occupy 21st position.

It’s been one-way traffic for them since their form fell off a cliff in February 2021 and they’ve won just eight League One matches in over 10 months. Since February 9th they’ve lost an eye-watering 28 league games. Easy work, then, for Sunderland?

Lee Johnson’s gang, who are unbeaten in seven League One matches, have had a habit of dropping unexpected points in the last few months. But, actually, this is Sunderland so it’s probably exactly what we’ve come to expect.

I’m always a little scared of backing the Black Cats to do well because their appetite for self-destruction is unrivalled anywhere else in the EFL and that is quite literally well documented. Doncaster actually won last time out to add to the confusion, but that was 16 days ago. They’ll be well-rested, at least.

With Sunderland having played twice since Doncaster last stepped onto the pitch we can expect them to be a bit more knackered than their opponents here. In a tricky game that Sunderland should Win I think Both Teams to Score might be the best play about as they contrive to make hard work of it whatever the outcome.

3pm: Derby v West Brom – Derby Win/Draw Double Chance

TV: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

You’ve got to admire Derby – on the pitch at least. Despite everything that’s been thrown at Wayne Rooney and his Rams this season their fighting spirit simply can’t be questioned. They’re under a transfer embargo and have had a total of 21 points deducted so far this season which has left them rooted to the foot of the Championship table on four points.

The Rams have recorded five wins, 10 draws and seven defeats so far and they would be 19th if it wasn’t for off-field punishments. As it is they’re 17 points from safety with 24 games left – a surely insurmountable mountain. The tantalising thing for Rams followers is that that they’ve been in pretty much every game going this campaign.


You have to go all the way back to September 10th to find a Championship game where they have been beaten by more than one goal. There’s been a maximum of one goal in it in their last 16 games. I have a sneaky feeling they might get something against West Brom who have gone off the boil a bit of late.

They’re still 4th, The Baggies, but they’ve completely lost their touch in front of goal. Valerien Ismael’s side are typically hard to beat but they’ve fired a blank in four of their last six Championship games meaning they’ve drawn a lot, including last time out against 23rd-placed Barnsley.

Their record over the last seven reads won two, drawn four and lost one. Derby have pulled off some shock results this season but it might be a bit of a stretch for me to tell you they’ll triumph here. Instead, I’ll go with Derby Win/Draw Double Chance to cover two of three bases. Also, given that run of 16 games mentioned earlier we should be in with a good chance right up to the final whistle whichever way it’s leaning.

5.30pm: QPR v Bournemouth – QPR to Win

TV: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

Talking of teams going off the boil, Bournemouth have been in terrible form of late. Scott Parker and pals have won just one of their last nine Championship matches after triumphing in nine of the 10 prior to that. Since the start of November they’ve won one, drawn three and lost four.

They travel to QPR who haven’t played since their 2-0 defeat to Stoke on December 5th. That’s a long time for them to lick their wounds after tasting defeat for the first time in six games. In their last seven they lost that Stoke game before winning four and drawing two before that.

This is a big game with The Cherries somehow still clinging onto 2nd place and The R’s in 5th. If the west London side can win here they’ll go within five points of Bournemouth with two games in hand.

So what’s happening here, then? Bournemouth have had a fairly tricky run of late and have played twice since QPR last set foot on a pitch in anger. They’ve also got the best overall away record in the league despite taking just two points out of the last 12 available on the road.

QPR lost at home last time out but won the two games before and they’re 6th in the home table so are not bad on their own patch. All things considered I’m leaning towards QPR to Win here.

They’ve had a rest, and while The Cherries will be in a groove having played on it’s not a good one with two defeats on the bounce. I’ve lost my nerve with Parker’s side for the moment so, with a chance to reset and with their good recent record, I think it’s well worth a go on the home win.

Monday’s football tips

12.30pm: Doncaster v Sunderland – Both Teams to Score
3pm: Derby County v West Brom – Derby Win/Draw Double Chance
5.30pm: QPR v Bournemouth – QPR to Win

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