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WBA vs Middlesbrough, Sheff Utd vs Watford & Peterborough vs Plymouth

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EFL expert, The Betting Desk, returns with his weekly betting previews and best bets in England’s Football League.

WBA vs Middlesbrough

Since Michael Carrick left Old Trafford and was appointed as head coach at Boro there has been a remarkable turnaround of results and performances. Under his leadership, Boro have now collected 40 points from a maximum of 49. Defeats have come to local rivals Sunderland, runway leaders Burnley and Preston in his 1st game in charge. Boro have registered 37 goals over the 17 games with just 17 conceded, they have found the net twice or more in 12. However, they do like to concede as well making their games full of goals. Under Carrick their games average 3.16 goals per match with both teams scoring in 12 of the 17 games.

Under Carrick, they have averaged 12.88 shots with sits them 7th over that period but they have conceded 11.88 which is midtable at best and is more than teams such as Cardiff, Hull and QPR who are in awful form. Only Sheffield Utd have had more shots on target than Boro over this period but again they sit midtable in shots on target against. This suggests we should see goals at both ends.

WBA under Carlos Corberan have, like Boro, turned a corner and now look likely to end the season challenging for the Play-Offs. They started well under him winning eight of his first 10 games, but recently they have struggled with one win in five. The Baggies have now conceded in five of their last six games. Over Corberans 16 games they have a record of W10-D1-L5 scoring 22 and conceding 14, but eight of these have come over the last five games. There can be an argument that the runs of wins were against some of the poorer sides in the division and the recent form has been when they have played Burnley, Watford, Blackburn and local rivals Birmingham Boro definitely fall into the category of “better” sides in the division.

Over the last four games both sides have an impressive xG with the hosts generating 1.49 and Boro 1.46. I am happy with both sides to find the net given they are both better going forward than they are defending and we can back this at 4/5 with a number of bookies.

Sheff Utd vs Watford

The Blades are having a wobble, winning one in four and losing the last two games conceding six in the process. Boro are now just four points behind them as the race for the 2nd automatic position hots up. What the Blades didn’t need was a game against an improving Watford side who sit just outside the playoff positions and desperate for points.

The Hornets are drawing too many games so there is pressure to turn the draws into wins but one thing that is consistent recently with the visitors is goals at both ends. Five of the last six games have seen both teams to score whilst they have conceded in the last six.

For a side that at the start of the season would have the had promotion firmly in their sights, they have only kept six away clean sheets with two of them coming before early October. At the other end they have scored in 11 of 18 games but recently their attacking performances have improved. I have them 4th for xG over the last four and eight games, so they are creating chances.

The Blades have just seven clean sheets over their last 20 Championship games, conceding an average of 1.15 goals per game. Against the top half, home and away, the Blades have played 15 games, keeping just five clean sheets, which includes two clean sheets against 12th-placed Swansea.

I think both sides will score here and we can back this at 10/11 with William Hill and I believe this is a little bit value given the recent form of both sides.

Peterborough vs Plymouth

I thought the odds on over 2.5 match goals would be much lower than the 5/6 we can pick up given the record of both teams when it comes to goals.

The hosts have seen an average of 2.87 goals across their games this season, finding the net in 11 of 14 home games whilst the visitors have averaged 2.78 match goals across the season and on the road its 2.81. Argyle have found the net in 13 of 16 away games whilst they have conceded in 11. Three of their five clean sheets have come against sides that sit 18th and below.

The hosts at home always look to attack. They have the 3rd best xG at home and only Ipswich have had more shots on target from their home fixtures and they are 3rd for shots in the box and shots on target in the box. Posh need a victory given that they sit 9th and nine points off the play offs, but there is plenty of games left and with a number of top six needing to play each other they will still be looking at the play offs as a realistic aim.

Plymouth’s defence on the road are surprising when you look at their underlying performances. 23rd for xGA with 1.47, 21st for shots on target conceded, only Morecambe have conceded more shots in the box and shots on target in the box.

Posh have beaten Sheff Wednesday at home, but they record outside of this game against the top six its great with W0-D0-L3 conceding a total of 10 goals. If Posh aren’t on it them the visitors could easily rack up three goals on their own.

  • Over 2.5 goals seems a good play at the odds on offer and we can back this at 5/6 with Betfair.

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