Opening Day Preview – The EFL Skybet Championship kicks off this Friday as 24 teams compete for the coveted prize of promotion into the Premier League. With only 2 automatic promotion places, 4 other teams will battle it out for a place in the Play Off Finals at Wembley come the end of the season.
Here we look at the clubs that trailed the three promoted sides and to their opening day fixtures for the season ahead. Can they compete for the title and promotion once again?
QPR vs Reading
Reading reached the Play Off Final last season and were beaten by Huddersfield on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate. Jaap Stam has done a fantastic job at the Madejski Stadium after just one season in charge. Stam won his first game of the season defeating Preston North End 1-0 at home but their form on the opening day has not been the best, though only losing one in their last 5.
QPR: Last 5 Opening day results – 2 Wins, 3 Losses
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Loss, 1 Win ( Charlton 2-0, Leeds Utd 3-0)
Reading: Last 5 Opening Day results – 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 2 Draws
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Loss, 1 Win (Birmingham City 2-1, Preston NE 1-0)
Prediction – Both Teams to Score – Reading look the stronger on form but do concede goals and QPR seem to concede and go onto lose games. Reading a tentative vote for a win but BTTS is the safer option.
Preston NE vs Sheffield Wednesday
Preston NE: Last 5 Opening Day results – 4 Draws, 1 Loss
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Draw, 1 Loss (Middlesbrough 0-0, Reading 1-0)
Sheffield Wednesday: Last 5 Opening Day results – 3 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Draw
Last 2 Opening Day results – 2 Wins (Bristol City 2-0, Aston Villa 1-0)
Prediction – Sheffield Wednesday Win, Over 2.5 goals – Preston drew 4 of the 5 opening day games in the last 5 years with all 4 draws coming at home and only one being a score draw. Sheffield Wednesday haven’t won when away from home on the opening game of the season but have hit the back of the net on both occasions. Sheffield Wednesday look to be the stronger of the two and I believe they will challenge for promotion once again.
Fulham vs Norwich City
Fulham: Last 4 Opening Day results – 3 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 Draw
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Draw, 1 Win (Cardiff 1-1, Newcastle 1-0)
Norwich City: Last 5 Opening Day results – 1 Win, 3 Losses, 1 Draw
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Loss, 1 Win ( Crystal Palace 3-1, Blackburn 4-1)
Prediction – Fulham Win – Fulham beat Norwich comfortably in their opening game of the 2012/2013 season in the Premier League 5-0 at home and though it was a few years back, Norwich do not look as though they have progressed as much as Fulham. Norwich have not won away from home in the last 5 opening day games whereas Fulham have won both home games from the last 5 opening games.The West London side should have the better of the Canaries and win convincingly.
Bolton Wanderers vs Leeds United
Bolton Wanderers: Last 5 Opening results – 1 Win, 2 Losses, 2 Draws
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Draw, 1 Win Derby 0-0, Sheffield United 1-0)
Leeds United: Last 5 Opening Day results – 2 Wins, 2 Losses, 1 Draw
Last 2 Opening Day results – 1 Draw, 1 Loss ( Burnley 1-1, QPR 3-0)
Prediction – Bolton Win – Bolton are undefeated at home in the last 5 opening day games whereas Leeds United have lost twice when away from home in the last 5 opening games. Neither side boast great form on opening day so a safer bet could be a draw or under 2.5 goals.
- Skybet Full Time Result and BTTS – Middlesbrough & Fulham both to win and BTTS in each game – 20/1
- Skybet Full Time Result and Under/Over 2.5 Goals – Sheffield Wednesday to Win and Over 2.5 Goals – 3/1
- Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – QPR vs Reading – 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 Draw – 3/1
- Skybet Accumulator – Fulham Win, Sheffield Wednesday Win, QPR vs Reading – BTTS, Bolton Win – 23.18/1