Championship Best Bets Jan 21st-22nd: Picks for Four Matches this Weekend
Championship Best Bets: January 21st-22nd
We’re back with more Championship best bets after another intriguing weekend of action last time out. Last weekend saw Burnley consolidate their five-point lead at the top of the Championship with a hard-fought 1-0 home win over Coventry. The Clarets have 16 points between them and Watford who climbed up to 3rd last week. They beat Blackpool in a game that turned out to be Michael Appleton’s last in charge of the Tangerines.
The league leaders welcome West Brom to Turf Moor on Friday night in a clash of the league’s two form sides. Both have won nine of their last 10 in the English second tier. The latest of which for the Baggies was done the hard way. Coming from 2-0 down at Luton to edge a five-goal thriller and move into the playoffs for the first time this season.
David Wagner won his first league game in charge of Norwich. Overseeing an impressive 4-0 win at Preston. Cardiff were another club to run out of patience with their manager. A late, late equaliser from rock bottom Wigan doing for Mark Hudson. Could Neil Warnock follow Mick McCarthy (Blackpool) in a managerial return to the Championship?
Four games go under the microscope again this week with a best bet in each.
In this article:
- Coventry vs Norwich Preview & Best Bet
- QPR vs Swansea Preview & Best Bet
- Wigan vs Luton Preview & Best Bet
- Sunderland vs Middlesbrough Preview & Best Bet
Coventry vs Norwich Preview
Saturday, January 21st, 12:30 (UK)
The Sky Blues made Burnley work hard for the three points last weekend but ultimately slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the league leaders. A fourth game without a win has seen Mark Robins’ side drop back into the bottom half of the table. Also losing in the FA Cup to National League outfit Wrexham. All of this has left Robins asking new owner Doug King for reinforcements. Stating his squad needs new signings “as quickly as we can” in a bid to reignite their push for the play-offs. Despite the cup shock against the Red Dragons, Coventry will be boosted by the fact they are unbeaten in their last seven home league games.
The Canaries registered their biggest win of the season in their first league game under David Wagner. A 4-0 thrashing of Preston at Deepdale set a pretty high bar for the former Huddersfield head coach. The increased intensity of play and fluid attacking was eye-catching. An energetic and enterprising performance that was a distinct improvement on a series of below-par showings under the previous boss Dean Smith. A win here at the CBS Arena will lift them back into the top six.
Coventry vs Norwich Best Bet
Having played Gabriel Sara shots in this column last week I was caught out by a tactical tweak from David Wagner. With Kenny McLean dropping into more of a quarterback position Sara was left to link the defensive and midfield thirds. This allowed the wing-backs to move high and wide as expected. With Onel Hernandez and Kieran Dowell then tucked inside to effectively make a front four. Something Dowell certainly took advantage of, ending with two goals to his name.
With a combined 51 shots from Wagner’s two games in charge those in forward areas should once again have licence to fire in plenty of attempts. Coupled with good execution of the counter press those efforts should be in good areas. With confidence high, Dowell will be looking to cement his place in the side having previously been on the periphery. Also holding fond memories of the reverse fixture when he wrapped up all three points for the Canaries. Converting from the edge of the six-yard box to seal a 3-0 win at Carrow Road. Odds of 2.00 for the former-Everton man to have at least two shots seem generous given his new role.
- Selection: Kieran Dowell to have 2+ shots (TRACKED BET)
- Best Odds: 2.00 (SkyBet)
- Stakes: 7/10
QPR vs Swansea Preview
Saturday, January 21st, 15:00 (UK)
The fabled “new manager bounce” hasn’t quite taken effect at QPR. The Neil Critchley era got off to a flying start with a 1-0 win at Preston. Since then his side are without a win in five and have been dumped out of the FA Cup by Fleetwood of League One.
Welsh international Tyler Roberts rescued a point for the R’s last weekend with a second-half brace. One of those goals was assisted by Jamal Lowe on his debut. The 28-year-old has made two Premier League appearances off the bench for Bournemouth this season. But the winger has returned to the Championship where he scored 14 goals in 2020/21 during an impressive season with Swansea. Adding to Chris Willock and Ilias Chair there is certainly plenty to like about Rangers’ forward options.
The Swans are another side striving for some consistency. Recording just two wins from their last 11 league games. The bright spot being both of those victories came from their last three fixtures. Russell Martin will have to pick his side up from the disappointment of a cup exit. Despite creating numerous chances across both ties they lost in extra time of the midweek replay with Bristol City. After registering a rare blank the Welsh outfit will be hoping formerly red-hot Joël Piroe, who netted the winner in the reverse fixture, gets back on the scoresheet here.
QPR vs Swansea Best Bet
QPR have seen eight of their 13 home games feature three or more goals. No side has a higher percentage. It’s a similar story for Swansea with only Middlesbrough (11) having had more games on the road with at least three strikes than their eight.
Across the last 10 respective home and away league fixtures both sides have seen seven games land over 2.5 goals. With firepower and leaky defences, this game screams “goals”. It is therefore something of a surprise that we can get over 2.5 goals at odds of 2.00.
- Selection: Over 2.5 goals
- Best Odds: 2.00 (William Hill)
- Stakes: 7/10
Wigan vs Luton Preview
Saturday, January 21st, 15:00 (UK)
These two sides should hold no surprises for one another. Given this will be their fourth meeting of the season and third of the month. Tuesday night’s FA Cup replay at this venue saw a 98th-minute winner for Luton. That result leaves the Latics still searching for their first win under Kolo Touré.
The Ivorian has claimed performances have improved during his eight game reign. But he will know this is a results business and there needs to be a massive improvement on the nine points gained at the DW Stadium so far this term. That is the lowest total by some distance in the English second tier. With visitors Luton boasting the fourth-best away form, the ex-Arsenal defender will need further improvement to chalk up that first three-point haul.
Rob Edwards was delighted to see his side put the disappointment of throwing a two-goal lead away last weekend with that midweek cup victory. It would also have been a relief to have seen Elijah Adebayo net in consecutive appearances. Last season’s 16-goal top scorer had previously gone 11 games without getting on the scoresheet.
Wigan vs Luton Best Bet
We are in the unusual position of having a very good read on this game. The previous three meetings this season have ended with a 2-1 win for each team and a 1-1 draw. I am getting both teams to score onside here at odds of 1.91. Despite failing to record a win in his tenure, Touré has seen his side score in all eight games. In fact, they have scored exactly one goal in each of those fixtures.
The Hatters have only kept one clean sheet under their new manager but they too have scored in all seven of his games in charge. Wigan are the BTTS kings of the Championship having seen it land in 19 of their 27 fixtures (70%) and in each of the last nine. With both teams scoring in seven of the last eight for the visitors and of course in all three clashes between the two this campaign.
- Selection: Yes on Both Teams to Score (TRACKED BET)
- Best Odds: 1.91 (Betway)
- Stakes: 7/10
Sunderland vs Middlesbrough Preview
Sunday, January 22nd, 12:00 (UK)
Although both sides share a “preferred” rival this is still a Tees-Wear derby and is a massive game this Sunday lunchtime. Tony Mowbray is a former Middlesbrough player and manager but is now in charge of Sunderland. One point from their last two league games has seen the Black Cats fall out of the top six. But despite now sitting in 10th remain just three points off the play-offs. An 18th-minute Luke O’Nien red card made last week’s home game with Swansea a much tougher task. As will this clash be given the fact the regular starter will be suspended.
I featured Middlesbrough in last week’s preview. Putting them up to beat play-off rivals Millwall. They duly obliged via a Marcus Forss goal early in the second half. It’s now eight wins from the last 10 league games for Michael Carrick. A haul of 25 points from a possible 33 on offer since taking over has catapulted Boro from the fringes of relegation to 4th.
Sunderland vs Middlesbrough Best Bet
As if needed there is an extra motivation for Carrick to take all three points home from the Stadium of Light. He was Tyneside born and a boyhood Newcastle fan. The 41-year-old from Wallsend will be keen to continue Boro’s recent stranglehold on this fixture. Winning the reverse 1-0 in September you have to go back to 2008 for the last Sunderland win. While injury and suspension problems continue to plague the home side. Michael Carrick could have the luxury of giving Aston Villa loanee Cameron Archer a full league debut. The Black Cats have lost four of their last six at home. With their rivals in white-hot form, I have to side with them to continue their incredible ascent and make it five successive Championship victories.
- Selection: Middlesbrough to Win
- Best Odds: 2.50 (bet365)
- Stakes: 6/10
Best odds available as at 08:30 January 20th 2023. Odds may now differ.
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