WITH the first round of the FA Cup savaging the Football League coupon, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the best bets in the Championship on Saturday.
Rotherham v Ipswich | Saturday 15.00
Five defeats in six has seen Rotherham tumble to rock-bottom of the Championship and five points off safety. But the stats don’t necessarily tell the whole story for the Millers.
Those six fixtures came against Middlesbrough (4th), Derby (5th), Sheffield Wednesday (7th), Reading (8th), Brentford (12th) and Burnley (2nd) so there’s an argument to suggest the South Yorkshire side were never expected to pick up points.
Tuesday’s 1-0 reverse at Boro was a much-improved showing following their 3-0 weekend defeat at Derby and new boss Neil Redfearn believes a first win as Millers chief isn’t too far away.
The ex-Leeds head coach was encouraged by Rotherham’s display on Teeside and should be boosted by the return of two key players on Saturday as well as the possible loan signings of two Premier League youngsters.
Redfearn has admitted he’s an attacking midfielder and a striker lined up and hopes to get the deals done before Saturday’s Championship clash with Ipswich at the New York Stadium. Meanwhile, Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington are set to give the Millers a timely boost and are in contention to start.
Rotherham may have fired blanks in their past two outings against the league’s pre-season favourites but they’ve fared well in the attacking stakes so far this season. The hosts have netted in all bar three of their 15 fixtures including each encounter at the New York since a dour 0-0 draw with Preston back in mid-August.
Opponents Ipswich ended their own eight-game winless streak in midweek when seeing off Bolton 2-0 at Portman Road. Mick McCarthy’s men have blown well off course since a superb start to the campaign had the Suffolk side competing for top spot.
The Tractor Boys remain only four points adrift of the top-six and will be confident of claiming back-to-back victories on Saturday. But the visitors must improve their defensive shape when playing on the road.
Since the start of last season, Ipswich have kept just 5/30 (17%) of clean sheets on their travels with 20/30 (67%) matches delivering for Both Teams To Score punters in that time. Across the same span, Rotherham have enjoyed 19/20 (63%) of winning BTTS bets when hosting Championship action, shutting out their guests on only six occasions.
Rather than enter the Match Odds markets, I prefer to get stuck into Both Teams To Score at 1.87 quotes with Favourit. Taking the two clubs’ successful BTTS rate across their last 30 home/away encounters, we’re right to expect a 65% chance of a repeat on Saturday – turning that percentage into equivalent odds would give us a 1.53 shot meaning we’re on at a big value price.
Charlton v Sheffield Wednesday | Saturday 15.00
Charlton started 2015/16 with eight points from a possible 12 including games against Hull, QPR, Wolves, Derby and Nottingham Forest – fantastic, eh? But events have quickly nosedived around The Valley and now the Londoners are in looking in real trouble.
The Addicks haven’t recorded a league win since August and haven’t scored a single goal in their last five outings. Failure to net against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday will set a new club record and supporters are planning a pre-match protest against the club’s ownership.
Now four points from safety, Charlton fans are frustrated and in a state of disillusionment over the crisis at their club. With Guy Luzon being axed as manager, the Addicks brought in head coach Karel Fraeye in a move that’s further angered the locals and prompted demands for their club back.
The interim boss has been plucked from the third division of Belgian football and already looks out of his depth. Tuesday’s defeat at MK Dons was Charlton’s 12th without a victory and showed a serious lack of organisation, confidence, fight and resolve from the Londoners.
Individual performances from players has been poor, Fraeye’s decision-making bizarre and defensive lapses laughable and now the Addicks may be without three of their best players for the visit of Wednesday. Jordan Cousins and Igor Vetokele are definitely missing whilst Johann Berg Gudmundsson is a doubt.
Charlton have suffered eight defeats in their last nine league gams and have conceded at least twice in their last four at The Valley. It’s hardly ideal when one of the form sides are travelling down to the capital.
Wednesday stretched their unbeaten run to 11 in all competitions thanks to a midweek 0-0 draw with high-flying Brighton and the Owls’ solid base has seen the side rack up four clean sheets in five.
Fans are defiantly buoyant right now and wealthy Thai owner Dejphon Chansiri’s aim for Premier League football by 2017 may even start to look wide of the mark. The visitors are a point off the play-offs and their brand of attacking football is receiving plenty of plaudits.
Carlos Carvahal has integrated an exciting wing-back system, coupled by a hard-working spine and a glittering of match-winners across the park. New signings Lucas Joao, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri are sparkling and 11 points from a possible 15 in October has propelled the club into serious contenders for the top-six and promotion.
Despite their excellent displays, Carvahal missed out on being nominated for the Manager of the Month award – a little harsh – but even so, Wednesday look a decent selection at 2.20 (Favourit) to continue their impressive recent run.
As well as avoiding defeat since early September, the Owls have W6-D3-L0 against teams in 11th and below and can pile more misery on Charlton this weekend.
Rotherham v Ipswich – Both Teams To Score (1.87 Favourit)
Charlton v Sheffield Wednesday – Sheffield Wednesday to win (2.20 Favourit)
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