Championship: Baggies to exploit Leeds’ major weakness

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CHAMPIONSHIP fan Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) oversees Tuesday night's action from the second-tier, picking out his best bets.

Leeds v West Brom | Tuesday 1st October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

I doubt we’ll see a repeat of either of last season’s clashes that saw nine goals across the two games between these two, especially as West Brom will look to banish memories of their 4-0 dismantling here at Elland Road in March.

Patrick Bamford was on the scoresheet twice that night, but he’s facing plenty of flak from the Leeds faithful after wasting glorious opportunities in recent weeks. Leeds may have loaned Eddie Nketiah from Arsenal, but their fatal error in summer was not brining in a third option, someone to give them a different option and mix it up a bit when things aren’t going their way.

Bielsa’s boy stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at Charlton on Saturday, despite racking up 19 shots to three and generating an Expected Goals (xG) tally of 1.60 meaning they left London ruing missed chances in a game they dominated.

That’s a similar story to a number of home games that they’ve dominated, yet they’ve only won once this campaign at Elland Road with Nottingham Forest and Derby both leaving with smash-and-grabs points, while Swansea somehow left with all three.

It’s those costly games early in a season that bring nagging doubt to the stands, and to the management about player’s capabilities. There’s a lot of faith in Bamford, and it’s yet to be repaid.

West Brom top the Championship tree following their 2-0 win over QPR and under Slaven Bilic have looked a free-flowing side, who don’t mind falling behind in games. The Baggies are bouncing, unbeaten so far and have won three of their last four, but this will be their toughest test yet.

Looking at both of these sides, I think West Brom have a particular advantage they could utilise in this game and given the price, it’s too good to turn down. Leeds conceded from a corner at Charlton and lack height throughout their side, so the visitors could try to use that to their gain.

Summer signing Semi Ajayi can play in front of a back four or at the heart of the defence and the fact they paid around £1.5 million for him was basically robbery. He’s an imposing figure and the Baggies have reaped the rewards. The 25-year-old has already scored twice this term, against Huddersfield and Fulham, both headers from corners.

With the service and delivery available at set-pieces then the Baggies could bare fruit and with Ajayi likely to be the main target, then his price (18/1 Betfred) looks massive given Leeds’ deficiencies in this department.

Hull v Sheffield Wednesday | Tuesday 1st October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

It’s been a fine start to life as Sheffield Wednesday manager for Garry Monk. After beating Huddersfield in his first game in charge, they rallied late to earn a point against fancied Fulham before blowing Middlesbrough away on Saturday.

Monk spoke after that 4-1 win of how they found a weakness in Boro’s defence when crosses were put into the box, and that is one tactic they could have joy with.

The Owls have netted at least twice in their two away games under Monk’s stewardship and that can continue against a Hull side that have only kept one clean sheet this term.

Hull are unbeaten in their last four league games (W1-D3-L0) and one man has been the stand out for the Tigers in those games. Kamil Grosicki has scored in each of them, and it’s the first time in his career he’s netted in four consecutive games. The Pole will bring danger from open play in the wide areas, drifting inside, plus he’s always a threat from a dead-ball, just as Cardiff found out on Saturday.

The Tigers home matches are fairly open. Four of the five so far have seen Over 2.5 Goals and the one that didn’t saw a missed penalty and the woodwork rattled on at least three occasions. Their last two home games have ended 2-2, while they have been unable to shutout their visitors, so that should give Wednesday plenty of hope.

The xG count is 1.67-1.44 in Wednesday’s favour and given how the goals have flowed in Hull’s home games, plus how the visitors will find a weakness, then I’m keen to play the goals theme.

Wigan v Birmingham | Tuesday 1st October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Two of the league’s more physical sides clash at the DW Stadium where there’s a willingness to look towards the cards markets.

Wigan have racked up the most yellow cards in the Championship this season (24), while Birmingham aren’t far behind themselves with 19.

In four of Birmingham’s five away games, they’ve clocked at least 20 Bookings Points, and the way they are set up to frustrate oppositions does seem them committing those niggly fouls. So far this season, they average around 28 Bookings Points away and they could well face some disciplinary action on this trip to the north west.

Spaniard Alvaro Gimenez has three cards to his name and he collected one in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Derby. He averages just shy of two fouls per-game, while forward Lukas Jutkiewicz isn’t afraid of getting stuck in when leading the line alone, which is highly likely this evening.

Paul Cook’s side have the worst discipline in the division and average 29 Bookings Points per-game this campaign – a similar continuation to their poor discipline last term. Latics pair Sam Morsy and Nathan Byrne are both one caution away from a one-match ban after racking up four in their opening nine games, and it’s the former that ranks highly for fouls committed so far.

Referee Tim Robinson doesn’t mess around when it comes to cards. He’s shown 27 cautions and one red in seven games in all competitions this season. In five of those seven games, he’s dished out at least 40 Bookings Points, and in four of his seven, the away side has picked up at least 30 – like Birmingham have done in three of their trips.

I do like both sides for cards here in what is likely to be a low-scoring game with the 8/11 on 20+ Birmingham Bookings Points looking decent on its own, while the 30+ option at 9/4 does look juicy too.

You get 10 Bookings Points for a yellow, 25 for a straight red and 35 for a second bookable offence.

Best Bets

Hull v Sheffield Wednesday – Over 2.5 Goals (10/11 Marathon)

Leeds v West Brom – Sami Ajayi to score at anytime (18/1 Betfred)

Wigan v Birmingham– 20+ Booking Points Each Team (13/8 Sky Bet)

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About Author

Matt is a graduate in sports journalism and is currently plying his trade as a content editor for a major betting company. He was bitten by the betting bug when backing horses and continues to do so. His main sporting interests are football, horse racing and darts. Matt is a Stoke season ticket holder and enjoys going to gigs.

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