Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am not fully convinced about the overall standard of the Championship this season, but a number of teams in the "second division" play the game the right way and I have seen a lot of entertaining matches. Hopefully, the quality will improve next season, as Division 1 is probably the strongest in recent history and if Norwich and Leeds go up, along with one of Southampton, Huddersfield or Charlton, it will give a couple of the smaller (though better loved) clubs in the third tier a chance next time round.

Anyway, back to the Championship, goals have definitely been on the increase there recently which was welcome after last season, when the average dropped to 2.44 per game. This campaign started in a similar vein, but after six low scoring opening rounds, the average has risen to 2.73, over a third of a goal up over the last 230 games, which is a pretty big increase over a valid sample. I have done well in this division with "over" bets in recent weeks and I think the oddsmakers have been a little slow in making the adjustment.

There are two matches tonight, where I expect plenty of entertainment and let's start in darkest Suffolk, where Roy Keane's Ipswich Town take on highflying and resurgent, after two very encouraging performances against the league leaders , West Bromwich Albion. We have discussed Town recently, they are an improving team, saturday's cup blip at Southampton aside and that defeat means they can now concentrate solely on the league. Despite hovvering just above the drop zone, they are only 11 points off the playoff places with a game in hand on several teams and after outplaying Blackpool, Leicester and QPR in recent weeks, all of whom were top 8 at the time, they have not yet given up on a late push for a top six finish. That will be a tall order, but if they continue to play at this level and look for the three points instead of settling for one , something which several very late recent goals have clearly indicated, then they have a chance.

Tonight they host an Albion side cock-a-hoop after scoring six in a week against Newcastle United, who also boast the best road record in the Championship. They only know how to play one way and that is pushing forward, Albion fans have seen a division high average of 3.12 goals per game and that is even higher (3.17) away from the Hawthorns. They will be looking to hold on to Nottingham Forest's cattails,whom they trail by three points, with the second placed team hosting QPR tonight and will be going all out for the win, as will Mr Keane's men, who are "over" in six from seven starts. The visitors have conceded two or more in six of their last ten outings and are not your archetypal, tight defensively, promotion chasing side, this could develop into a real thriller.

6.5 points Ipswich-WBA "over" 2.75 goals 2.17 asian line..... now 2.08

So, you get the gist of my thinking. At the very foot of the table, Peterborough's starts are averaging 3.08 goals, a number only beaten by WBA, although with most of these coming in the Posh net, their fans will be less thrilled by the entertainment offered. At home, that average rises to a massive 3.69, although this was helped greatly by the eight goals shared with Cardiff City recently, when the hosts game back from 4-0 down at half time to earn a share of the spoils, more about this shortly. They know that, nine points adrift of safety, a draw has little value and having conceded 15 in their last five, infact, they only have one cleansheet since Methuselah was a toddler, they are not geared up to do anything but attack, which is where most of their quality (keeper Joe Lewis aside) lies. Lewis has saved them from some real thumpings this season and without him, goodness knows what their goals against column would read !

Tonight they host Preston who scored nine in their first two outings of 2010, before losing 2-0 to Chelsea at the weekend, they were unfortunate not to score at least once in that game and are clearly a side with goals in them at the moment. They are going to relish facing the far weaker Posh backline and newbie Danny Welbeck who has signed from Manchester United until the end of the season will be out to impress and fancy his scoring chances big time. He is the first loan signing for new boss Darren Ferguson, who is expected to be phoning "dad" on a regular basis to ask who is available from the United reserve team. DF will be very motivated for this game and out to beat his former employers, who gave him very little time to turn things around this season, following consecutive promotions. Several of the home side are said to be begging him to sign them for the Lancashire club, their motivation might be questionable tonight and I would take PNE to win a high scoring affair.

More about that four goal comeback for Boro at home to Cardiff, that was exceptional of course, but Posh have performed extremely solidly in the second half of games this season, with a 8-12-6 record after the break, which would see them 10th in the table for the second 45 minutes. To put that into context, only Forest, Newcastle and Swansea have lost fewer second halves and these are stats worth bearing in mind if betting on any of their games "in running".

6.5 points Peterborough- Preston "over" 2.5 goals 2.02 asian line..... now 1.85 !

These have both been well supported, especially the Posh-PNE game, but sometimes the quotes drift again later in the day and as the previews still contain some information of value, at least IMO, I feel they are still worthwhile posting. 1.90 + on this game is acceptable, which you will get if shopping around.

Good Luck

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