CHAMPIONSHIP fan Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) oversees Wednesday night's EFL action, picking out his best bets.
Birmingham vs Wycombe | Wednesday 4th November 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
I’ve got one up my sleeve for Wednesday and it comes in what looks an attritional game on paper. I’ll keep this one short!
Wycombe earned their first victory at this level when they beat Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. David Wheeler’s goal was typical of them playing to their strengths – winning a header at a set-piece.
They looked on course for a point in their last away game at Norwich, but Mario Vrančić scuppered those hopes with a pinpoint last-minute free-kick. That makes it’s four defeats from four on the road.
Birmingham will be licking their lips at the chance to play Wycombe, although the Chairboys won’t be pushovers. Aitor Karanka’s side are on a three-game unbeaten run after winning their last two.
Saturday’s win at Preston saw Riley McGree score inside two minutes on his first start for the Blues before his replacement Gary Gardener netted the winner late on.
This is unlikely to be one for the neutral and the bet to be had here is mainly because of the man in the middle – Josh Smith.
It’s just his second season in the Football League and after a debut season on the National List, it looks like he’s been promoted to the Select Group 2 list despite his inexperience.
Already, he’s shown 26 yellows and one red in eight games. In four of his last six, he’s hit that 40+ booking points mark, which looks so attractive here.
This will be his third Championship assignment of the season and he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory. His two games at this level have seen 50 and 105 booking points respectively.
The Huddersfield v Preston, which saw that big number should really have been more given he only cautioned Brad Potts for a hideous two-footed lunge in the first half. How he saw fit to just issue a yellow is beyond me and from that point, he lost control
Birmingham rank fourth for fouls (14.2) and Wycombe are sixth (13.8) meaning we could see around 28 fouls. And that fits with Smith, whose two games have averaged around 27 fouls, which have been more than enough for him to throw the cards around like confetti.
In a tight game that could become a battle, and with a ref who might lack authority, it might turn into a war. And one the players might have to take into their own hands. The 5/4 on 40+ booking points looks too good with this official.
Birmingham vs Wycombe – 40+ Booking Points (5/4 SkyBet)