Football League Betting Preview & Tips: Cynical Owls on show


FOOTBALL LEAGUE fan Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95oversees Tuesday night's EFL action, picking out his best bets. 

Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Sheffield Wednesday make the hour-long journey northwest to Huddersfield for a Yorkshire derby at the John Smith’s Stadium. They’re still winless since Tony Pulis replaced Garry Monk having drawn three and lost one. That defeat came at Norwich on Saturday, when they conceded twice in the last 10 minutes.

Confidence was already low and that will have shattered it once again, especially after taking the lead and creating chances, plus potentially having a couple of penalties not given. After the game at Carrow Road, Pulis spoke about his players needed to be resilient and composed – something that’s lacking now.

Huddersfield players are still getting to grips with the style of Carlos Corberán. They’re struggling on the road, but back-to-back home wins over Middlesbrough and QPR will help lift their confidence ahead of this one. And, it’s fair to say it’ll be a clash of styles. The Terriers will get the ball down and look to play, while Wednesday will sit deep in an attempt to soak up the hosts’ pressure.

Norwich had 70% possession on Saturday against the Owls, recording 19 shots, while Reading went to Hillsborough and recorded 20 shots. That could be an angle, however, Huddersfield aren’t prolific for shooting.

One player that has started to find his shooting boots is Harry Toffolo. He’s playing as quite an attacking left-back in home games for Huddersfield this season. It’s two goals and five assists for the 25-year-old, who find the net against QPR at the weekend. And, he’s forming a good combination down that left flank with Josh Koroma, who himself has had 47 shots, with 18 of those on target.

But back to Toffolo, who has had four shots on target from his 11 shots this season. This dynamic of this game on paper could well set up for someone like a Toffolo to add to their shooting tally, given he’ll have the licence to get forward.

Three of his four shots on goal have come in Huddersfield’s last two home games. So, with the visitors coming here to sit deep and frustrate, it could mean a player coming from a deeper position and having a pop at goal, especially if the hosts brand of football fails to get in behind this Owls defence.

This one is down to how the game could well play out, as well as his recent home form, so the 9/2 for a Toffolo shot on target looks rather tempting.

Another bet I’m willing to take a chance on is 30+ Sheffield Wednesday booking points at 15/8 with Sky Bet.

So far this season, teams coming up against Huddersfield have picked up 35 cautions, which is the second-highest figure behind Reading’s 39. And, they’re the fifth-most fouled side in the Championship. When you consider the new style of play under Corberán and the likely more physical and robust approach of Wednesday, it’s wouldn’t shock me to see them racking up the fouls – and the cards.

Interestingly, it’s Toffolo who is Huddersfield most fouled player (26), with the more naturally advanced players like Frazier Campbell (17), Koroma (15) and flourishing newbie Carl Eting (6). With the nimble, agile play of those players, then a few mistimed tackles could fly in from some of the more lumbering, cynical Wednesday players.

The Owls rank joint-second for fouls committed (234) and, because of that, they’ve seen 28 yellows and five straight reds. Since Pulis took over, they’ve picked up 105 booking points in four games, including 40 v former club Stoke and 45 v Reading.

Wednesday need points to get themselves off the foot of the table and they’ll have to find the fighting spirit Pulis has instilled in previous jobs to do that.

Keith Stroud is in charge and he seems to have mellowed with age, a bit like Martin Atkinson, but when the tackles are flying in, he still can dish them out, so with this being a Yorkshire derby, I’m willing to take cards as an alternative way in.

Swansea vs Bournemouth | Tuesday 8th December 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports

 These aren’t words you probably want to read but I’ve got Bournemouth wrong a few times already this season. Although the Junior Stanislas shots on target bet landed last week against Preston, they lost that one 3-2, something not many will have predicted.

And despite a ruthless 4-0 win at Barnsley on Friday night, I’m willing to take them on as they make the trip to South Wales this evening.

Jason Tindall deserves plaudits for how he’s got the side performing, obviously with several players that could do a job in several mid-table sides in the top-flight. Second in the table on 30 points after 16 games is a solid start for the rookie manager but their away form is slightly patchy.

Despite picking up 13 points on the road, their three away wins have comes against sides in the bottom half – those teams currently occupy 16th, 17th and 19th. Throw in the fact that their only away defeat came against bottom of the table Sheffield Wednesday, then this looks like a tough trip to make on a Tuesday night.

It’ll be a stern test of the Cherries’ credentials for sure, and I’m happy to have Swansea onside. They’ve picked up 17 points at home (joint-third most) and have conceded just four goals in the process. Steve Cooper’s side is defensively strong, keeping five clean sheets in eight at the Liberty Stadium.

Part of the battle here that interests me is the expected goals data. Solely at home, Swansea have an expected goals for (xGF) of 1.49 and they have the lowest, in these terms, best, expected goals against (xGA) at 0.87. They stifle and strangle their opposition, limiting them to few sights of their goal, and that’s part of the reason why only three sides have faced fewer shots than the Swans this season.

While Swansea is strong defensively, Bournemouth is more about attacking. Their 1.52xGF in away games is the third-highest figure, but their 1.25xGA does suggest the hosts will get a few sights on Asmir Begovic’s goal.

With their strong home form, it’s worth putting Swansea Double Chance in a Bet Builder with Under 4 Goals for a nice even-money play. The goals haven’t necessarily flown at the Liberty with 15 scored in the eight games – an average of 1.88 per game. Only two of those games have seen over 2.5 goals as well, so defences would well be on top.

There was another even-money play that I nearly went with and that was over 10 corners on Bet365. It’s landed in six of eight Swansea home and Bournemouth matches respectively, plus the Swans’ games average 11.32 this term.

Given the players on the park, like Andre Ayew, David Brooks and Dom Solanke, to name a few standouts, there should be chances created for the corner count to be quite high.

Best Bets 

Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday: Sheffield Wednesday 30+ Booking Points (15/8 SkyBet)

Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday: Harry Toffolo 1+ shot on target (9/2 Betfair)

Swansea vs Bournemouth: Swansea Double Chance and Under 4 Goals (1/1 Bet365)

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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