Championship Tips | 4th November 2014

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There’s a full card from the Championship this midweek. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is on hand with his three favourite bets.

Birmingham City v Watford | Tuesday 19.45

When I first glanced at the prices for this round of midweek fixtures, Watford’s 11/8 (Bet365) screamed out at me. I tried hard, really hard, to ignore it and go elsewhere but in the end I came back with my tail between my legs. It’s a price that just can’t go un-backed.

Why did I want to leave it alone? Well, Gary Rowett’s return was a big reason. The new Birmingham boss oversaw his side to a creditable 0-0 draw at Wolves on Saturday in the West Midlands derby. But crucially, Wolves were without their two feared forwards for that encounter and Watford may not be quite so forgiving.

The Blues dreadful record at St Andrews is no secret to Football League punters and Rowett will be desperate to change Birmingham’s fortunes when playing in front of their home fans. But for now, we simply must follow the trends with 11/8 dangled in front of us.

Birmingham have managed just one win in 25 league outings at home and that came against a Brighton side that’s struggling for goals under Sami Hyypia’s charge. Go back to the start of last season and the Blues have W3-D10-L17 of their 30 games at St Andrews and they’ve even failed to score in a third of those fixtures.

Table-topping Watford arrive on the back of a 3-1 win against Millwall and have come out on top in three of their last six road matches as well as holding high-flying Middleborough and Blackburn in their own backyard. The Hornets are averaging nearly two goals-per-game and have recorded eight wins and one draw against sides in 12th and below.

Millwall v Blackburn Rovers | Tuesday 19.45

Having taken 10 points from their first 15, Millwall have found themselves in a slump. The Lions have collected just seven from 30 on offer and slid into the bottom-half of the Championship.

There were signs that Ian Holloway had found the magic formula again but Watford ended a four-match unbeaten streak on Saturday and now the Bermondsey-based club welcome in-form Blackburn to The Den.

Rovers recorded their third successive league win at the weekend when dispatching Reading at Ewood Park. It was the first time Blackburn had bagged three league victories on the spin since 2007 and has lifted Gary Bowyer’s men right back into the promotion picture, even at this early stage.

Now this looks like it could be pointing towards an away win and I must say, I was surprised to see Rovers (19/10 Bet365) chalked up as outsiders for this meeting. But instead, I want to focus on goals, a regular trait of Blackburn away fixtures.

Ladbrokes have made Over 2.5 Goals a 10/11 shot and I’m having some of that. Since the start of last season, 20/30 (67%) Blackburn games have featured Over 2.5 Goals with 15/30 (50%) seven seeing Over 3.5 Goals bank. Millwall’s records aren’t quite as strong with 14/30 (47%) home matches during the same timeframe register Over 2.5 Goals but there’s enough there to suggest the 10/11 is worth a nibble.

If you wanted something a little shorter, Ladbrokes also go 3/4 on Both Teams To Score. Millwall have seen 15/30 (50%) of their home outings since 2013/14 feature goals at both ends with Blackburn seeing a whopping 21/30 (70%) following suit, Rovers have scored in 24/30 away games but only kept 5/30 clean sheets.

Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City | Tuesday 19.45

I’m going to keep my final pick short and sweet. Looking at the various Championship trends, it’s clear to see that Bolton (at home) and Cardiff (away) are leaders when it comes to half-time stalemates.

Bolton have gone into the half-time all square in 5/7 (71%) games at the Reebok this season whilst Cardiff have been level in 6/7 (86%) of their fixtures away from the Cardiff City Stadium.

Put the two trends together and you should get a probability of around 78% of a repeat on Tuesday night. The lads at Bet365 have quoted 5/4 on the half-time draw, so I’ll have a small play.

Best Bets

Birmingham v Watford – Watford to win (11/8 Bet365)

Millwall v Blackburn – Over 2.5 Goals (10/11 Ladbrokes)

Bolton v Cardiff – Half-Time draw (5/4 Bet365)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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