Hull v Stoke
The first of our Feb 2nd Championship betting tips is for Hull v Stoke. Hull enjoy home advantage on Saturday as they aim to continue their improvement and push themselves towards the prize places in the English second-flight. Written off by critics not too long ago, they are now in a fantastic position to turn their season around and find themselves just six points off Derby County and the promotion play-off places with a season record reading 11-7-11. That would suggest a mid-table finish is on the cards; however, the locals have collected 10 points from the last 15 available to them and that has fans believing again.
The Tigers enjoyed a strong festive period; however, they did draw with Aston Villa on the road on their penultimate start – not a bad game to take something from – before ending on the wrong side of a 3-0 beating away to Blackburn Rovers last time. That has cast doubt over their ability to mount a serious challenge to the top-six this term. Thankfully, the Championship remains one of the most competitive divisions in European football and, with teams around them dropping points, it’s still too early to write anyone off.
Potters Have Been Disappointing
It can never be taken for granted that a former Premier League side will bounce straight back up to the main division at the first time of asking; despite Stoke featuring in the pre-season title contenders set out by bookmakers, they have been disappointing so far this season. A tally of nine wins, 11 draws and nine defeats has them down in 15th, although they are eight points off Derby and the play-offs. A big ask, of course, but there’s still plenty of football to be played and a turnaround in fortunes wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Worryingly for followers of the away side, they have lost three of their last four league games with the spare a shock win over Leeds United at home on 19 January, a result that ruined a fair share of accumulators. That should’ve inspired confidence in the dressing room; however, they fell back into old bad habits when losing 2-0 at home to Preston last time out, Browne and Potts scoring either side of half-time to stick the boot in. Manager, Nathan Jones, looked a frustrated man when reminding his players of the need to find consistency if they are to make anything of their season. A poor start didn’t help their chances any either.
Tough to Call
This is a tough match to call as it really could go either way and that sums up what betting in the Championship is all about. You must be brave and hope for a rub of the green. Bookmakers have Hull priced as favourites; however, that will have as much to do with home advantage as anything else. Backers eager to follow the market can get their stake money down on the 6/4 you’ll find at Bet365. Stoke have been chalked up at 15/8 with the same firm, a draw not to be taken lightly at 11/5.
Hull show the better recent form, having won three of their last five while their opponents have lost three of their four most recent starts. That makes the locals a smart bet and we’d suggest backing them as a single for interest stakes. There should be goals in this one and those after a bit more can try their luck on both teams to score in a Tigers roar at 9/2 – top price with Bet365.
Leeds v Norwich
The other of our Feb 2nd Championship betting tips is for Leeds v Norwich. Title favourites Leeds set-up at Elland Road as they aim to grab the win needed to get their season back on track after a less than convincing January which could end up undoing their earlier good work. Followers of the home side have sat through too many failed promotion bids in the past; however, they had allowed themselves to dream this time and were hoping their club could see it through to the line, avoiding the poor finish that has tripped them up before. Three defeats in their last five suggests they have every right to lose sleep too and Norwich City in second are now just three points behind, Sheffield United in third six off the pace.
The Peacocks have won two of their last three, however, and that will go some way to settling any nerves in the camp. They beat Derby at this venue on 11 January, followed that with a surprise defeat to Stoke away from home, before grafting to a 2-1 away win over lowly Rotherham United last time. They grabbed the points thanks to a deadly double from Klich, bettering Ajayi’s opener on 28 minutes. A big performance is needed here to get the locals believing again. Will they land the desired result and take a giant strike towards the Premier League?
Three Draws in Four
Norwich make this trip on the back of some decent recent form that has seen them put together a four-match unbeaten run. That has edged them closer to the league leaders; however, if they had been a bit more ruthless, they could already be out in front. Three draws in four has kept things competitive at the summit, The Canaries’ run showing draw-draw-win-draw. That was started with a 1-1 away to Bradford before ending the same at West Brom. They had enough about them to beat Birmingham 3-1 at Carrow Road but had to settle for a 2-2 vs Sheff Utd last time.
Hernandez broke the deadlock inside 11 minutes in the latter, but a Sharp penalty in first-half stoppage time sent the sides into the break level. Pukki had his employers back in front before Sharp netted his second of the day with 79 minutes on the clock to ensure his side got something to show for their efforts. Daniel Farke was refreshingly honest in his post-match media chat, calling it a fair result following an entertaining match.
Enjoy the Show
Followers can watch this match live on Sky Sports from 5.30pm on Saturday night and it promises to be a game worth staying in for, made all the better with a winning bet. The stats show us Norwich have conceded at least one goal in each of their previous five starts this month with both teams scoring in four of the five. Both have also found the net in four of Leeds’ last five and that makes a bet on yes from the both teams to score market easy to follow at 4/6 with Coral.
Traders are keen to keep the home side close and have priced Leeds as favourites for the points here, sending out a 5/6 (Bet365) quote to those who want to get involved. 11/4 is the best you’ll find if backing the draw, with Bet365’s 16/5 on Norwich better than the 3/1 you’ll get with most other firms. Leeds look worth a punt but we’re happy to sit on the fence and cheer home the goals.
This will be the second meeting of these sides this season following Leeds’ 3-0 win at Carrow Road back in August, achieved thanks to goals from Klich, Alioski and Hernandez. There has been three or more scored in five of the last six renewals of this fixture and over 2.5 goals serves as a handy alternative for accumulator backers, 8/11 the prize when betting with Ladbrokes.