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Free betting tips: Sky Bet Championship - Leeds United v Sheffield United

Our best bets for Leeds v Sheffield United
Our best bets for Leeds v Sheffield United

It's a potential promotion decider at Elland Road when Leeds welcome Sheffield United. Tom Carnduff takes a look at the betting.


Recommended bets

2pts Luke Ayling to have 1+ shots on target at 11/4

For advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Leeds v Sheffield United (Elland Road, 1230 GMT, Sky Sports Football)

A massive game in the race for automatic promotion sees Leeds meet Sheffield United with just nine games to go.

Victory for the home side would see them move five points clear of third, whereas three points for Chris Wilder's side will fire them into the automatic promotion spots.

Leeds have responded to a surprise defeat away to a struggling QPR side in the best way possible. Since then, they've won three from three - scoring eight and conceding none.

Sheffield United can boast better though. They are now unbeaten in their last nine, keeping a clean sheet in their last six games. It's a remarkable record and shows the defensive strength of Wilder's men.

We can expect this to be a game where Leeds see plenty of the ball. The Blades are comfortable with a minority split of possession, their speed on the counter attack catches sides out and that will likely be the game plan here.

The defence will have to try and keep Patrick Bamford quiet. The Leeds forward is hitting form following a lengthy spell out through injury and netted a brace in their last home game against West Brom.

Patrick Bamford celebrates a goal against West Brom
Patrick Bamford celebrates a goal against West Brom

However, one other player has shone over the past seven days and that is Luke Ayling. The full-back has struggled for form following his return from injury but Marcelo Bielsa has kept faith.

He put in a strong performance against Bristol City following it up with another good showing at Reading. Defensively he has been sound, while three assists in those two games shows his attacking quality.

As is the case with Bielsa teams, the full-backs are expected to attack and that's why we see Ayling and Gjanni Alioski operating as wingers when they are near the opposition area.

A characteristic of Ayling's play is that he likes to drive into the box, whether it be cutting inside or running onto a through ball. That's why he has been able to provide the assists recently.

He will always try his luck if the opportunity presents itself too. There's a best price of 14/1 available on a goal anytime, but the 11/4 for one or more shot on target with Sky Bet looks the best option.

One of the key areas in this game will be out wide. Both teams have attack minded full-backs and that could leave space on the counter-attack. For Ayling, he'll be eager to exploit space left by Enda Stevens when he is up the pitch.

Pablo Hernandez scores for Leeds away at Sheffield United
Pablo Hernandez scores for Leeds away at Sheffield United

The only thing that separated the teams at Bramall Lane was a mistake from Dean Henderson. The Sheffield United goalkeeper giving the ball away and Pablo Hernandez was presented with a tap-in.

It will likely be a cagey affair for large parts given the significance of the game. Both sides will be relying on a strong defence and will know how difficult it is to break down the back lines.

Three at the back has been successful for the Blades and the presence of three confident centre-backs has given them the edge. They'll be hopeful that the aerial presences of John Egan, Chris Basham and Jack O'Connell will give them the difference on set-piece situations.

Confidence is high and Leeds will be wanting to replicate the performance against West Brom, which completely blew away the opposition. A five-point gap at this point in the season is massive, it would mean that the Blades couldn't afford to slip-up again.

A point though will be different, things stay as they are and Leeds remain within touching distance. Wilder will have a game plan and his side will be fairly comfortable dealing with Leeds' style of play. The 12/5 price on a draw is always worth a consideration.

Score prediction: Leeds 1-1 Sheffield United (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)

Best bet: Luke Ayling to have 1+ shots on target at 11/4

Billy Sharp celebrates his third goal against Aston Villa
Billy Sharp celebrates his third goal against Aston Villa

Opta facts

  • Leeds United haven’t completed a league double over Sheffield United since the 1991-92 season, when they won the top-flight title.
  • Sheffield United are looking to win consecutive away league visits to Leeds for the first time since March 1961.
  • Just six of the 15 goals Leeds have conceded in the Championship at Elland Road this season have been from open play.
  • Sheffield United are the only Championship side to have had a larger share of possession in a game against Leeds this season, enjoying 56% in the reverse fixture; since that game, Leeds have had at least 60% possession in 15 of their 17 Championship games.
  • Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp has scored three goals in four away league appearances at Elland Road – as many as he managed in 18 appearances for Leeds at Elland Road during the 2014-15 season.
  • Pablo Hernandez is the first Leeds United player to register both double figures for goals (10) and assists (11) in a Championship season since Robert Snodgrass in the 2011-12 campaign (13 goals, 13 assists).

Odds correct at 1410 GMT (14/03/19)

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Most Read Football

Saturday's best bets1

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our team highlight their best Saturday bets, with Matt Brocklebank waiting until the evening card at Kempton and George Pitts looking at Euro 2020 qualifiers.

2

Sporting Life Accumulator

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Check out today's Paper Talk3

Paper Talk: £65m Maguire?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives green light on big-money Harry Maguire move and Man City want £105m-rated wonderkid, according to the back pages.

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Birmingham hit with points deduction

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