After recording a seven-point profit in his last Saturday lunchtime Sky Bet Championship preview, Michael Beardmore analyses a west London derby between Fulham and QPR.
1pt Over 11.5 corners 21/10 (Unibet)
1pt Ilias Chair to score anytime 4/1 (Betway)
0.5pt Over 3.5 goals, over 12.5 corners and over 45 booking points at 18/1 (Sky Bet)
Operation ‘Walk The League’ seems to have significantly stalled for Fulham as they head into Saturday lunchtime’s big west London derby against Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Having begun the season unbeaten in five, the Cottagers’ results have dipped – three defeats and a draw in their past six – and while boss Marco Silva will not panic, he will have some concerns.
In fifth, they are just one place above visitors QPR, who shook off three consecutive defeats to get back on track with back-to-back wins before the international break.
Now, if you like your Expected Goals, there’s only one betting route in this game – a home win. But the best you’ll find is 4/6 at Betfred. According to Infogol’s xG metrics, Fulham should be top, not fifth, they've won the xG battle in nine of their 11 games.
By contrast, Rangers are very fortunate, on the balance of chances, to be in the play-off spots – they have overachieved, scoring 22 from an xGF (Expected Goals For) total of 14.9 – and are 10 places higher than they deserve.
Common sense dictates that the pattern of picking up points they don’t totally deserve cannot continue long-term. But short-term? Against a Fulham side with several players returning from international duty? It’s not impossible.
In truth, neither team have been consistent enough recently to back with any certainty but the value lies with the visitors – they are 17/4 top-price, the draw is 10/3 and double chance an inviting 29/20.
There are, though, better bets to be found in other markets in this one – most notably in the corners, which is where we profited heavily, to the tune of seven points, in Fulham’s most recent game, the shock 4-1 defeat at Coventry.
Between them, Fulham (5.91) and QPR (5.00) are averaging 11 flag-kicks a game – and nine of their combined 22 matches (41%) this season have featured 12 corners or more. In a clash between two sides who love to attack, those stats make Unibet’s 21/10 on OVER 11.5 CORNERS worth backing.
Fulham struggle to keep clean sheets and while there’s little value in the Cottagers goalscorer markets – dominated by 10-goal Aleksandar Mitrovic plus Harry Wilson – QPR spread the goals around a bit more.
Perhaps that’s why Rangers playmaker ILIAS CHAIR TO SCORE ANYTIME is 4/1 with Betway – a price that has to be taken against a vulnerable defence, on an in-form player who’s scored four in 10, including three in his last two.
The bookies see goals in this one, with over 2.5 a skinny 4/7 top-price and over 3.5 only 29/20, and it’s not difficult to see why – QPR’s matches are averaging 3.45 goals per game, Fulham’s 3.27.
As a result, if you like a long shot, I reckon Sky Bet’s 18/1 on OVER 3.5 GOALS, OVER 12.5 CORNERS AND OVER 45 BOOKING POINTS is worth a little of your spare change.
We’ve explained why the first two bets of that triumvirate have a chance but referee Oliver Langford’s Championship games last season averaged 45 points – he likes a yellow and the odd red.
As a derby, this one can be combustible – the past 13 meetings between the sides over the last decade have seen the following booking points: 30, 50, 10, 50, 60, 80, 50, 40, 10, 55, 30, 75, 50. So over 45 points has landed in eight of the 13.
This game has the potential to be a blockbuster – based on the two sides’ records this season and their head-to-head history, that triple header should give you a run for your money at 18s.
Score prediction: Fulham 3-2 QPR (Sky Bet odds: 16/1)
Odds correct at 1930 BST (14/10/21)
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