WLB debutant Joshua Jones (@JoshuapsJones) oversees Friday night's televised EFL action, picking out his best bets.
Preston vs Bristol City | Friday 18th December 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Bristol City head to Deepdale to take on Presto, looking to get their play-off push back on track after two defeats in four days.
The Robins’ loss at Millwall on Tuesday night was City’s third in four games to a side in the bottom half of the table, compounding their miserable start to December. Before this month, they hadn’t dropped a point to a side currently outside the top half.
Preston are having a similarly tough time of things lately, though their home form has improved dramatically over the last four games. They lost their opening five home league fixtures, scoring just once, but have since lost just one of their last four – scoring six times in that run.
North End’s problem is their defence, and while they seem to have found a remedy for their goalscoring anemia, they are yet to find a solution to their leaky back-line. The Lilywhites have conceded a league-high 30 goals in their 19 games this season (1.58 goals per game), keeping just four clean sheets. In their last seven, that rises to 2.29 goals per game.
That should be music to Dean Holden’s ears, as the goals seem to have completely dried up for his side. Bristol City created an embarrassingly low 0.5xG combined in their previous two outings, with fans calling for the manager’s head on Twitter after defeat at home to a Millwall side that were winless in 10 games.
The unpredictably of these two sides makes this game a tough one to call, and I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly where to go with my selections. In cases like that, I have to go with what the underlying metrics are telling me. According to Ben Mayhew’s Expected Goals league table, these sides should essentially switch positions.
Preston are six points worse off than their xG data says they should be, whilst Bristol City are nine points better off than they realistically should be. The Robins are the second ‘luckiest’ side in the league, whilst Preston are the fourth unlickiest.
With that in mind, I fancy Preston to take the points in what should be a close game. The 11/8 about Preston to win outright feels a little short, so I’ll be trying my luck on Preston to win by exactly 1 goal at 11/4 with bet365.
These two always play each other close, with five draws and six Preston wins in their last 12 meetings in the Championship. In those six wins, Preston have won by a single goal on five occasions.
In anticipation of a close game, I’ll also be on Preston captain Alan Browne to be booked at what looks to be an outrageous price of 9/2 with Betfair. The Irishman has been booked in six of his last 13 starts for the Lilywhites, and he’s committing an average of 1.6 fouls per game this season.
Referee Geoff Eltringham has accumulated an encouraging average of 43.50 booking points per game in the Championship this term. Interestingly, he has given four penalties in his last four matches and that market is definitely worth a gander at 11/4