Foxes to hunt another win
Leicester are loving life at home this season and I'd back them to carry on their fine form against fellow high-fliers Cardiff.
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Nigel Pearson's men have taken 26 points from a possible 33 at the King Power and it's that record that keeps them in the play-off pack.
A watertight back-line has been the key with just nine goals conceded but Wes Morgan and co will face a real test this weekend with Malky Mackay's side having bagged 43 goals already.
- 2pts Leicester to beat Cardiff at 21/20 (General) - Foxes flying at home and Cardiff aren't the best travellers.
- 2pts Leeds to beat Middlesbrough at 8/5 (General) - ignore Capital One Cup defeat; Leeds can bounce back here.
- 1pt Derby to beat Hull at 13/8 (BetVictor) - Derby have improved at home and can pick up another three points.
- 2pt double Swindon and Bury at 3.63/1 (BetVictor) - both these Friday games should go to the home sides.
- 2pts Scunthorpe to beat Carlisle at 7/5 (BetVictor) - last week's win sets them up nicely for what should be another.
- 1pt Hartlepool to beat Portsmouth at 8/5 (Paddy Power) - hosts showed last week that they're improving all the time.
But the Bluebirds, like their hosts this weekend, haven't travelled well, accumulating just 14 of their 44 points away from South Wales.
That includes five defeats and I believe a sixth will come at Leicester - at the prices I'm getting on the Foxes.
Take no notice of Leeds' heavy defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday - they look a juicy price to topple third-placed Middlesbrough at Elland Road.
Whites boss Neil Warnock rested several key players for the clash with the European Champions and they will all return for league action.
Warnock's men have won their last three home Championship matches and on the back of beating Ipswich they are on the rise.
The loan additions of Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas have given them a real boost and with cash to spend in January, Warnock will want to turn up the heat on the top six.
I'm staying on home turf for my final Championship bet of the weekend with Derby, quietly improving of late, a big price to topple Hull City.
After wins over Leeds and Bristol City Nigel Clough's side head into this clash just four points off the top six.
Their form at Pride Park has been key to their upturn and in front of a bumper crowd this has the makings of the game of the day in the second tier.
With the Tigers already winning six on the road County won't have it all their own way but I'd back the Rams to edge it.
In League One I fancy a home double for Bury and Swindon on Friday night to get us off to a flyer.
Both are odds-against to win on their own patch and although the Shakers are second from bottom they have shown signs of recovery since Kevin Blackwell took the reins.
They entertain a Shrewsbury side who have yet to win on the road and are worth backing.
The Robins meanwhile have the opportunity of jumping up to fifth and with that incentive they should see off leaders Tranmere.
Scunthorpe's 3-1 win at Leyton Orient last weekend will no doubt have ruined several accumulators, mine included, but I will forgive them if they come good at home to Carlisle this time around.
That win at Brisbane Road ended a three-match losing run and should give them a huge confidence boost.
They've won just once at Glanford Park this season but with the Cumbrians in freefall, they have lost five of their last six, they have the perfect opportunity to double their tally. They are a best priced 11/8 with sportingbet to do just that.
My big outsider for last weekend came good with Coventry winning at Doncaster at over 2/1 and I've got faith in Hartlepool to come good this weekend.
Yes, rock-bottom Pools have won just once this season, but after John Hughes took the reins they haven't been the pushover they were earlier in the season.
Their 1-0 defeat at MK Dons last weekend was a pointer that better things are around the corner and I've got a hunch they will head into the festive period by beating Portsmouth.
Pompey haven't won in ten themselves so back the hosts.