Leeds v Sheff Utd
The first of our Mar 16 Championship betting tips is for Leeds v Sheffield United. The Championship weekend gets started at Elland Road with this 12.30pm kick-off screened live on Sky Sports. It’s shaping as a familiar story for the home fans who watch on as their side threaten to throw away automatic promotion to the Premier League as things get serious. The locals sit second in the pile on the back of four wins and a defeat in their last five and are two points off leaders Norwich but go just two better than opponents Sheff Utd. Victory here would move Leeds top of the table, for a few hours at least, but defeat would see them tumble to third, undoing their recent form. Bookies go with home comforts and Leeds are 11/10 favourites at 888sport.
An Unbeaten Run
The Blades show stats of 20 wins and eight draws against eight defeats and that has them on 68 points, four off The Canaries who fly highest at the time of writing. Sheffield United are on an unbeaten run with four wins and a draw making up their last five. They will realise the value of winning at Elland Road but will also know avoiding defeat is more important and backers can take the draw at 12/5 with Bet365. That’s our best bet in what will be a competitive encounter. Fancy the away win? You’ll love the 11/4 on Sheff Utd and that’s better than expected.
Aston Villa v Middlesbrough
Two sides who were expected to be battling it out for the major places by the time this fixture came around, but it hasn’t gone exactly to plan for either, especially Aston Villa who start the week down in ninth with time running out if they are to grab a place in the play-offs. There’s still plenty of football to be played but Villa must find consistency if they are to mount a serious challenge. They did win last weekend and that took their tally to seven points from nine. Bookies were impressed and follow their usual strategy of backing them to deliver when playing at home. There’s 6/5 at Bet365 but that’s not enough for us.
Fighting for the Premier League
Boro are four places and seven points better than their hosts at the start of the week and have every chance of bagging an extended season. They went into the year determined to force a return to the Premier League following an extended absence and, at this stage, there’s no reason why they can’t achieve that. Another who must put a run of form together if they are to realise their ambitions, but we make them a better bet than taking short odds on the home win. Back Middlesbrough to upset the odds at 23/10 (Bet365). If you can’t part them the draw is 12/5 – top price when taking advantage of bet365’s generosity.
Brentford v West Brom
Brentford won last weekend to take their recent form to four wins and a defeat in five. They started the month with a stunning 3-0 win over QPR at this venue and followed that with a cracking 2-1 away day over Middlesbrough, a result that upset the betting and ruined a few accumulators in the process. Fletcher opened the scoring for the beaten side that day but a Shotton OG on 70 levelled things before Benrahma struck less than three minutes later to win it for The Bees. Another three points is 21/20 favourite at 888sport.
A Play-off Spot Available
West Brom are out of the running for the Championship title but they are in the mix for a play-off spot and will target the form needed to ensure they finish as high as possible to give themselves the best chance of reaching the Premier League. The Baggies followed back-to-back defeats with a draw last weekend and that form has fans worried. They appear to be unravelling at the worst possible time and we can’t back them at 5/2 with Bet365. Take the draw as a super single, priced 11/4 at Unibet. That’ll keep us interested.
Sheff Weds v Blackburn
Sheffield Wednesday are improving as they pass the midtable stragglers but that turnaround in form is too little too late and they’ll fail to pressure the prize places between now and the finish line. The Owls started the week on the back of a decent run of form that saw them win two and draw three of five, including back-to-back shares with rivals Sheff Utd at the start of the month and Derby County at Pride Park next time out. Another level finish appeals and that’s the bet for us with 23/10 offered by Bet365. Those hot on the home win can try their luck on the 21/10 they’ll get when betting with the same firm. Not enough in that to see us part with our hard-earned cash.
Blackburn’s recent form has been woeful, and they are going backwards as we wind down the season. The Ewood Park side claimed just one of the 15 points available to them following last weekend’s defeat and their confidence was dented when losing to Rotherham away from home and Preston in front of their own fans last Saturday. Johnson scored early that day for North End, bulging the net inside eight minutes and Rovers couldn’t respond, despite the victors finishing with 10 men. There’s little reason to do so, but backers can get 11/4 (Bet365) on Blackburn winning.
Stoke v Reading
The last of our Mar 16 Championship betting tips is for Stoke v Reading. Stoke are stuck down at the wrong end of the table and went into the week sitting 16th with their stats reading 10-15-11. They have made themselves difficult to beat of late, in an attempt to avoid being pulled any further into danger and drew four of five, including a goalless finish with QPR last weekend, a match they were probably expected to win.
They did start the month with a 2-0 cheer vs Nottingham Forest, reminding us that, on their day, they are a match for most sides at this level of football. Stoke are 4/5 favourites at Ladbrokes and we’ll take that. Another draw is 23/10 at the same shop, the form making that difficult to ignore. These sides played out a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture back in December and that’s worth knowing as three of the last four have been even.
Can’t be Ignored
Reading are three places below their opponents in the pecking order at the start of the week and have nine fewer points on the board. They are another improving side who eased their relegation worries by claiming seven of the nine points that was available to them recently. They beat Ipswich on the road in their opening game of March before setting their sights on Wigan last weekend.
Both sides served up a five-goal thriller, but it was Reading who came out on top, thanks to a stunning 3-2 win. Swift scored in first-half stoppage time, Barrow added to that with 89 minutes on the clock before Meite fired an incredible winner on 97. That was enough to better an opponent who found the net through Powell on 20 and Garner on 64. Reading can’t be easily ignored at 4/1 – top price when betting with Unibet – but they are too fragile at the back for us. Both teams to score shapes as a lively alternative and you’ll get 11/10 with a number of firms.