The Championship is already living up to its reputation as one of the most competitive leagues in the world and there is plenty more to look forward to this weekend.
Friday night’s action comes from St Andrew’s where Birmingham welcome Swansea and runs until Sunday afternoon when Brentford host Sheffield Wednesday at Griffin Park.
Swansea to win @ 31/20
The game on Friday evening is a story of crossed paths. Blues boss Garry Monk and Swans counterpart Graham Potter were (very) briefly team-mates at Southampton. Monk made his name at Swansea, where Potter is now manager, having started his playing career, conveniently enough, at Birmingham.
Potter’s amenable demeanour suggests there will be a friendly atmosphere ahead of the game but there are three vital points to play for with both sides eyeing them for different reasons.
A point is all the Blues have to show for their efforts to date, while the Swans are one of just three teams to have a perfect record.
Another tough summer for the club off the field has made Monk’s life extremely difficult and it could well get worse on Friday night.
West Brom to win to zero @ 8/5
There are nine games at three o’clock on Saturday and the one at The Hawthorns presents the perfect chance for West Brom to produce a performance.
Queens Park Rangers are the visitors to the Black Country and already look in trouble with zero points to their name.
The Baggies were shocked 2-1 by Bolton on the opening weekend and after stealing a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, rode their luck again in last weekend’s 4-3 win over Norwich.
Darren Moore will be concerned by his team conceding in all three of their games in the league but this seems the perfect chance to keep a clean sheet and open up against an underpowered R’s team.
Leeds v Rotherham – Over 3.5 goals @ 6/4
Leeds have been brilliant so far this season and Marcelo Bielsa’s revolution seems to be in full swing.
Yorkshire rivals Rotherham won 1-0 last time out when Ipswich came to town but after coming through the League One play-offs last term, look short on the necessary quality, despite Paul Warne’s nous as a coach.
The way Bielsa’s side are playing they could run riot, having netted seven times in their two Championship games against far superior opposition to the Millers.
It would not be Leeds without a few hiccups along the way but the current buzz around Elland Road suggests the good times could be back.
They are simply too short to back for the win outright so look out for goals in this one.
Bolton to win @ 14/5
Arguably the price of the day in the Championship on Saturday could be the Bolton win at Reading. Four points from two games is a bit of a surprise for those who followed the Trotters over the summer and they face a team with nothing on the board.
Like Phil Parkinson, Paul Clement has had to cut his cloth accordingly and will spend the next few weeks scouring the loan market to improve his squad.
The Royals were a penalty shootout away from the Premier League in May 2017 but have plummeted ever since.
Bolton are a great price and the spirit they are playing with could bode well for a really good value bet.
Aston Villa to win @ 21/20
Ipswich are a team most who watch the Championship are worried about, having been second best in their opening 2-2 draw with Blackburn and things got worse with that aforementioned defeat at Rotherham.
It is already looking like a case of being careful what you wish for after Mick McCarthy’s departure and Paul Hurst will be tested again when Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa side rock up at Portman Road.
New owners dug Villa out of a hole over the summer and after two wins from two outings, the fact they are an odds-against price means they are too good to miss out on.
Bristol City v Middlesbrough – Draw @ 43/20
The final game that really appeals at three is Bristol City against Middlesbrough, with City a side who can hold the Teessiders at home.
Boro sold some key players in the summer but recruited well, most notably Robins’ stalwart Aden Flint, and have seven points on the board.
Lee Johnson’s side have drawn both of their games, spurning a lead in the opening weekend’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest before battling back from two down at Bolton.
From the outset, a point apiece looks a good way to go and both Johnson and opposite number Tony Pulis would probably take it.
Preston v Stoke – Draw @ 11/5
Preston welcome Stoke in Saturday’s late game and both are still finding their feet, with Alex Neil’s men losing last time out, while the Potters are struggling to live up to their pre-season hype.
Both of PNE’s games this season have seen under 1.5 goals, with a 1-0 win and 1-0 defeat but things have been tougher for Gray Rowett’s side, being outclassed at Leeds 3-1 and then drawing 1-1 at home to Brentford.
A lack of confidence seems to be flowing through these sides and maybe they both need a slice of luck to get them on track.
Deepdale is a ground that seems to produce tight matches and a draw looks a good outcome, with that result at 1-1 perhaps one to look for at 5/1.
Brentford to win and both to score @ 7/4
The final game comes on Sunday as Brentford welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Griffin Park and the Bees look good to sting the Owls.
It will not be easy as despite a tough summer, Jos Luhukay’s side seem to have plenty of goals in them, having netted three times in their opening two games.
The Bees have taken four points from two league games but are yet to keep a clean sheet.
Dean Smith has had to remould his defence over the summer and although three points is likely to be on the agenda, a shutout could be a long shot.
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