Two of the Sky Bet Championship's top three face Welsh opposition on Wednesday night. EFL expert Michael Beardmore picks out his best bets.
1pt Under 1.5 goals in Swansea v West Brom at 5/2 (Bet365, Unibet)
2pts Fulham to win and over 2.5 goals at 13/10 (General)
1pt Fulham to win and over 3.5 goals at 16/5 (Paddy Power/Betfair)
West Bromwich Albion will head to south Wales with fond memories still fresh in their minds of their last visit – a 4-0 hammering of Cardiff just three weeks ago.
This trip, though, should be much harder against an improving and resilient Swansea side who boast an excellent defensive home record, making Albion a touch difficult to back at odds-on given the handful of draws they've been involved in recently.
The Swans have kept five clean sheets in six home games this term, the only three goals they have conceded coming in one match, a 3-1 defeat by Stoke. Their Expected Goals per home game figures (xGF 0.82, xGA 0.86) tell the miserly story.
No team in the division has let in fewer goals at home than Russell Martin’s men, who have recorded three 0-0 stalemates too, with their home matches yielding, on average, just 1.33 goals per game.
That’s a joint division low, alongside Derby, and while West Brom are among the division’s top scorers, that’s very much based on early-season form. Indeed, if you take out the crushing of Cardiff, Albion's past seven games have featured only 10 goals.
You can get 4/5 generally on this game to feature under 2.5 goals but I think it’s worth going one lower and taking the attractive 5/2 that Unibet offer on UNDER 1.5 GOALS.
It’s a bet that would have landed in four of Swansea’s past seven games and four of Albion’s past eight, making those odds very appealing in a game between two sides who boast 12 clean sheets between them in 24 attempts combined.
Score prediction: Swansea 0-1 West Brom (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
When it rains, it pours. After six straight defeats, including a south Wales derby disaster at Swansea, what’s next up for Mick McCarthy’s Cardiff? A trip to free-scoring Fulham, of course.
The Cottagers were simply sublime on Saturday as they tore apart west London rivals QPR seemingly at will in the second half to triumph 4-1, just 24 hours before the Bluebirds slumped to a 3-0 defeat by the Swans.
A Fulham win seems nailed on here as Marco Silva’s men bid to keep pace with Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League but they are heavily odds-on across the board.
What I am amazed by are the rather more generous odds when you add goals to the equation given Fulham, on 27, are by far the second tier’s highest scorers and Cardiff have the second leakiest defence.
Odds of around 1/2 on a home victory jump to 13/10 when you combine FULHAM TO WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS.
Fulham’s matches are averaging 3.42 goals per game, Cardiff’s 2.83 – and of the Cottagers’ seven league victories this season, all but one have featured over 2.5 goals.
Indeed, given those victories include scorelines of 5-1, 4-1 twice and 3-1 (plus a 4-1 defeat), it’s also worth a play on FULHAM TO WIN AND OVER 3.5 GOALS at 16/5 against a Cardiff side that have been thumped 4-0 and 5-1 recently.
No side in the division boasts a higher Expected Goals For figure than Fulham’s 24.4 from 12 games – against a confidence-shorn Cardiff outfit, it makes sense to back them to make hay.
Score prediction: Fulham 3-1 Cardiff (Sky Bet odds: 11/1)
Odds correct at 1520 BST (18/10/21)
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