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EFL Championship Preview and Best Bets

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Millwall vs Reading

Millwall to win – 4/5 (1.8)

I’ve been enormously bullish about Millwall in their previous two games at The Den. Truth be told I am slightly more wary about this one, but it’s still one of my bets of the day in the Championship.

The Lions saw-off Stoke 2-0 on the opening day and then made life incredibly hard for themselves last time out in SE London as they rallied from 2-0 down inside 28 minutes to draw level in the second-half and then win it with five minutes remaining through George Saville.

For a team led by ex-defender Gary Rowett with a team of former defenders as coaches, you can be sure that kind of game will have had the boss tearing his hair out, especially as they had only conceded 16 goals in their previous 24 home games before that. His mood won’t have been improved by the ridiculous 2-2 draw at Swansea – in which the Lions stole a point courtesy of two stoppage-time own-goals – and a pretty poor 2-0 reverse at Norwich last Friday night.

They have had eight days to work on their defence here and are also welcoming back to fitness some of their injured attackers who have been missing in the past few games and also bedding in Andreas Voglsammer, the 31-year-old German striker signed from Union Berlin whom he helped into the Europa League in 45 appearances last season.

Reading have shocked everyone, not least me, with their fast start to the season to sit third after five games. Their three wins, all eye-catching, and against decent opposition in the form of Cardiff (2-1), Blackburn (3-0) and Middlesbrough last Saturday (1-0) have come at home.

Their only two away games saw them lose 1-0 at Blackpool and then hammered 4-0 by Rotherham. While Ince has got his players running through brick walls for him, away at Millwall is a very different prospect to the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

The Lions have taken 28 points from their last 11 home matches and with the benefit of a free week in which to prepare, I fully expect Millwall to get back to basics and the 1.8 on a home win, for me, seems incredibly generous of the bookmakers.

Blackpool vs Bristol City

Bristol City or Draw – 8/13 (1.62)

I know, you’ve probably wandered into this tip expecting to see those magical four letters… BTTS. But not today, loyal reader.

As much as I love Bristol City for winning me so many bets, the vast majority of them for both sides to score, they are evolving before our very eyes into a decent Championship side, capable of causing anyone problems on their day.

Since snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in their opening two fixtures, Nigel Pearson’s side have knuckled down, breezed past Coventry and Wycombe in the Carabao Cup (both teams scoring in both ties, of course) but at home they have registered back-to-back wins AND clean-sheets. Ok so beating Luton and Cardiff isn’t going to see them installed as promotion favourites, but it’s the development of young players like Tommy Conway and Alex Scott which will please Robins fans the most.

Now they are away from home in this one, Andy Weimann’s early goal had them infront at Wigan in their last league game on their travels, but they had to settle for a point after leading for more than an hour.

Blackpool showed me up last week with a stunning performance at Burnley. Their previous five games this season in all competitions had only seen a combined five goals so of course they were 3-1 down after 33 minutes before scoring two late goals to draw 3-3 at Turf Moor of all places…

They are, however, back at Bloomfield Road where they scraped a 1-0 win over Reading on the opening day before a penalty shootout exit to lowly Barrow in the Carabao Cup following a 0-0 draw and then another blank in a 1-0 defeat to Swansea last time out infront of their own fans.

The 1.73 on BTTS is obviously worth a look – it is a Bristol City game after all, and Blackpool might just have sparked into goalscoring life last Saturday – but I am all over the 1.62 available on Bristol City or Draw in the Double Chance market, just incase the Robins are able to extend their run of league clean sheets to three, something which would have been unthinkable last season.

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