Middlesbrough v Millwall
Here’s the first of our January 19 Championship betting tips – Middlesborough v Millwall. Middlesbrough go into game 28 of their season with a record reading 12 wins and 10 draws against five defeats; that’s good enough for fifth in the table. The Smoggies are currently five points inside the play-off places and only four off the pace needed to finish in the top two and grab an automatic lift to the Premier League. They are unbeaten in three and will rate their chances of going all the way back to the top-flight without the need for an extended season, when football becomes a lottery. Another maximum pay-out here would throw them further into the mix.
Boro hammered Peterborough United 5-0 in the FA Cup on 5 January. Although that result was expected, the performance and goals scored helped add further confidence to the dressing room as we approach a crucial stage of the season. They built on that cup win with a 2-1 victory over a stubborn Birmingham City on the road, edging the result thanks to goals from Wing and Assombalonga; this was enough to better an opponent who kept things interesting through a reply from Adams on 79 minutes. Triumphant manager, Tony Pulis, told the press at full-time his men should have put the game out of sight in the first-half and they almost paid the ultimate price for failing to do that.
Millwall have been surprisingly poor for most of this season so far and that’s the reason you’ll find the Londoners treading water down in 20th. They sit just two places higher than the relegation zone with only five more points on the board than Reading down in 22nd. Fans are growing increasingly nervy as we head towards the business end of the season with the threat of relegation still hanging over them. They’ve lost two of their last five and were beaten on their most recent start.
That reverse came when going down to Blackburn Rovers at the Den on Saturday; goals from Nuttall and Armstrong heaped pressure on their hosts. Millwall looked like they had done enough to secure a point; however, they conceded two goals in the last four minutes and that floored fans. To make matters worse, the late defeat came on the back of three wins on the bounce, including a thrilling 3-2 over Ipswich Town away from home to get the year off to a great start. Ferguson broke the deadlock from the penalty spot that day and there were also goal bonuses paid out to Cooper and Elliott. Neil Harris was happy his side were able to put a horrendous first-half behind them to claim the spoils.
Closer Than You’d Expect
We fancy this game to be a little closer than you’d expect if taking the match on league positions alone. Millwall are well below where they would’ve hoped to be at this point of the season; however, they were good enough to rhyme off three wins on the bounce and came close to collecting a point last weekend before suffering that late collapse. There’s plenty of fight in this team and they’ll strengthen in January to ensure they keep their place in the Championship.
Bookies have had no trouble pricing Middlesbrough as favourite and we can’t be surprised by that, but it would be foolish to completely write Millwall off and, for that reason, we can’t back Boro at a tight looking 3/4 with 888sport. There doesn’t look to be any value in it. Millwall are difficult to trust themselves but the 17/4, top price at Unibet, is sure to attract a fair share of attention. We’re going to sit on the fence and back the draw at 5/2. Bet with bet365 and you’ll get market best odds of 5/2, compared to the 12/5 with most other firms.
Flicking through the stats and we see these sides finished level in the reverse of this fixture when meeting earlier in the season. 2-2 was the score back in August with goals for O’Brien and Gregory cancelled out by Braithwaite and Friend, the latter two coming in the last three minutes of the contest, proving Millwall must learn to see matches out. Both teams to score appeals at 11/10 with most firms, including Bet365.
Swansea v Sheff Utd
The next of our January 19 Championships betting tips is Swansea v Sheffield Utd. The game of the day on Saturday goes on in Wales where Swansea and Sheffield United do battle over three Championship points in a match shown live on Sky Sports from 5.30pm. The home side sit down in 13th in the pile following a poor run of form; despite being one of the pre-season favourites to lift the title and force their way back to the Premier League, they’ll now be lucky to finish in the play-offs. There are six points between themselves and Derby County in sixth. Much work has to be done, but improvement must be swift.
Swansea are unbeaten in their last three; however, two of those matches, including last time out, have ended in a draw. They started the year with a cracking 4-1 away win over Reading on New Year’s Day and followed that with an FA Cup cheer vs Aston Villa, also on the road, handing out a 3-0 thumping to the locals. That had fans excited about what lay ahead for the year; however, they were brought back to earth with a bump when forced to sit through an uninspiring 1-1 draw away to Preston last time out. Another share has been priced at 12/5 with Bet365, the home win yours at 17/10 (888sport).
Blades Have The Cutting Edge
Sheff United board the team bus knowing they have a better chance of landing promotion than their opponents; however, if they want to guarantee play-off football in spring they must continue to pick up points and drive towards the prize places. The Blades are second in the table, lifting themselves into contention for the trophy thanks to a draw and four wins on the bounce. A stunning run, they are now within touching distance of leaders Leeds United with four points the difference going into the weekend. The away support will arrive in town in high spirits.
United started 2019 with a confidence boosting 3-0 win over Wigan at the DW Stadium and followed that with a convincing 1-0 at home vs QPR at the weekend; this result lifted them into second place. In what was a hard-fought match, McGoldrick scored the goal that mattered on 37 minutes and although there were chances at either end to change things, 1-0 was enough to see Sheff Utd across the line. Chris Wilder called it a good, solid performance when speaking to the press at full-time, Steve McClaren admitting he enjoyed the match as two good sides went toe-to-toe for the win. The away day is favourite and that’s an obvious pick, given their form. Backers will get their hands on 6/4 with most firms, including Bet365.
A Game of Goals
Swansea won 2-1 when the teams met back in the summer at Bramall Lane and that was the second game in-a-row where we saw three or more goals scored in this fixture. Those tuning in to the live action will hope we get more of the same on Saturday night and over 2.5 goals looks a sound bet at even money with Bet365. That’s good enough to back as a single; however, but we expect it to appear in a fair share of weekend accumulators. Good luck if you follow our thinking.