Championship best bets: Lions to roar again
The EFL Championship takes centre stage on Friday, with 10 games taking place. Our Analyst uses expected goals (xG) to find the four best bets.
Lions to roar to victory
Millwall vs Nottingham Forest
Millwall have been on an incredible run of late which has given them a small chance of making an unlikely play-off push. They are unbeaten in 12 matches, winning eight, with nearly all their results deserved.
Their expected goal difference (xGD) during this time is 3.4, showing that their performances have been impressive (xGF 15.5, xGA 12.1).
Nottingham Forest are unbeaten in seven games, so are in good form themselves. They have only won two during that time though, and look set for a mid-table finish. Their attacking process is of a relatively low standard, and in their seven-match unbeaten run they are averaging just 1.1 xG.
Though Forest are on a good run of form, they are coming up against one of the league’s most in-form teams both in their actual results and performances, so the generous price of a home win is worth taking.
Selection – Millwall to win @ 21/20
Millwall are flying - back them to win
Goals to flow at Oakwell
Barnsley vs Bristol City
A game with a lot at stake for both teams. Barnsley find themselves in a relegation battle after a poor run of results, winning just one of their last 12 league games, and new manager Jose Morais has his work cut out if he is to keep the Tykes up.
They have been unfortunate so far this season though, and should be higher in the standings based on performances. They are still creating plenty of chances during this tough run, averaging 1.2 xG per game.
Bristol City remain in the middle of the play-off chase thanks to a deserved 1-0 win over Ipswich last time out – only their third win in 14 matches. Their performances remain very good despite this form, and they, too, continue to create plenty of chances.
An entertaining game between two sides desperate for a win is expected. Both create a lot of chances, so over 2.5 goals is the selection.
Selection – Over 2.5 goals @ 11/10
Infogol's Championship expected goals table ahead of GW 39
Cagey game between two of the leagues best teams
Brentford vs Sheffield United
Brentford and Sheffield United would have both had eyes on a play-off place a month ago, but now it looks like only one team has realistic designs of a top six finish.
The Bees have won just one of their last five matches and now find themselves eight points adrift of the top six. They have been unfortunate all season long according to Infogol’s xG table (below), where they sit fifth, suggesting their performances and process has been good.
Sheffield United are place higher in the xG table, suggesting they too are in the same boat – having performed better than their results would suggest. They have the best defence in the league according to xG (32.5), and this may come to the fore in this match.
A tight game between two of the better teams in the league is expected, with Sheffield United’s strong defensive play expected to result in few goals, making under 2.5 goals the selection.
Selection – Under 2.5 goals @ 1/1
Leeds are struggling - back goals at Elland Road
Two vulerable defences should lead to goals at Elland Road
Leeds vs Bolton
Things at Leeds haven’t gone to plan for Paul Heckingbottom. They have won just one of their eight matches since his arrival, and their performances have been equally as poor, conceding 11.9 xG in those eight games (nearly 1.5 per game).
Leeds’ process has been poor for a few years now, so it is a major turnaround that is needed, and they are where they deserve to be based on performances this season.
Bolton have turned their campaign around after a slow start, and find themselves six points clear of the drop zone after losing just once in their last six matches. They have, though, been the second worst team in the league according to the xG table.
Bolton have the worst defence in the league this season, conceding 60.1 xG in 38 matches, so they will likely concede chances in this match. With both teams defensively frail, over 2.5 goals is recommended.
Selection – Over 2.5 goals @ 11/10