EFL Championship midweek best bets: Fulham and Cardiff to win again
There is a full midweek fixture list in the EFL Championship, so our Analyst has generated the best four bets using expected goals. Previews of; Aston Villa vs Preston, Brentford vs Birmingham, Ipswich vs Cardiff and Bristol City vs Fulham.
Aston Villa vs Preston
Tuesday 19:45 GMT
Aston Villa’s winning streak came to an end at the weekend, as they were beaten 2-0 by Fulham. This defeat was coming, as their performances had begun to dip, and the results they were getting weren’t deserved. They have scored 16 goals in their last eight matches, but should have scored closer to 9 according to the chances they created (8.8 xG), so Steve Bruce still has work to do to get this Villa side promoted.
Preston gained a good point against Wolves, especially playing with 10-men, as they extended their unbeaten run to six matches. They too have been scoring more goals than expected from the chances they have created, hitting the net nine times with 6.4 xG.
So, with both teams creating few chances in matches of late, and with this being a big game in the race for the play-offs, few goals are expected at Villa Park.
Selection – Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11
Brentford vs Birmingham
Tuesday 19:45 GMT
Brentford got a much needed win to keep them within touching distance of the play-off places as they beat Sunderland 2-0 away from home (xG: SUN 0.9 – 1.6 BRE). The Bees have been the third best team in the league according to Infogol’s expected goal table, and they have second best attack behind only Wolves, suggesting that a late surge into the play-offs isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
As for Birmingham, they are still looking over their shoulders thanks to back-to-back defeats. Losing to Aston Villa last weekend would have been tough to take, but a home defeat to Millwall last time out will be more worrying for Steve Cotterill, as their performance was not up to their usual standard. In that match they failed to register 1 xG for the first time in seven matches, so this is a team that usually creates chances.
Both sides are in need of a win, and both teams create plenty of chances in matches, so over 2.5 goals looks a great price at 11/10.
Selection – Over 2.5 goals @ 11/10
Ipswich vs Cardiff
Wednesday 19:45 GMT
Ipswich conceded a very late equaliser to bitter rivals Norwich at the weekend which will have been tough to take. The reality was that a draw was a fair result (xG: NOR 1.1 – 0.8 IPS), and Ipswich once again found it difficult to create many chances. Only Burton and Bolton have a worst attacking record than Ipswich, according to expected goals, meaning they may struggle against better opposition in this match.
Cardiff gained another win at the weekend, deservedly beating Middlesbrough 1-0 (xG: CAR 1.6 – 0.4 MID), as they have found some good form approaching the end of the season, winning four of their last six. They have generated 11.5 xG in those six games, averaging close to 2 xG per game, and if they continue at this rate of process, they will go close to securing an automatic promotion spot.
With Ipswich struggling to create chances and looking certain for mid-table security, preference is for an in form Cardiff team pushing for promotion. Neil Warnock’s side are a great price at 6/5 to win this one.
Selection – Cardiff to win @ 6/5
Bristol City vs Fulham
Wednesday 19:45 GMT
Bristol City aren’t making life easy for themselves in their bid for a play-off place as they blew another comfortable half-time, this time against Leeds. They were 2-0 up at Elland Road and seemingly cruising before conceding twice, and in the end they couldn’t wait for the full time whistle. The Robins continue to create a host of chances in matches, but as the season has gone on, they have looked increasingly vulnerable in defence, conceding 9.1 xG in their last five games, something they have to improve on.
Fulham are the form team in the Championship after beating Aston Villa 2-0 last weekend, their eighth win in 10 matches. That run has seen them surge into the play-off places, similar to their finish to last season, and deservedly so according to Infogol’s expected goals table, which has them as the fifth best team. Their all-round performances have been very impressive in their unbeaten run, which has seen them concede only 8.4 xG in 10 games, an extremely low amount especially in the Championship.
If this game was earlier in the season, Bristol City would be heavily fancied, but these two sides appear to be on opposite trajectories. The in-form Fulham side look the all-round better team, and a good price to win at 9/5.
Selection – Fulham to win @ 9/5