Aston Villa will be hoping to put last season's play-off final disappointment behind them when they get their season under way - George Pitts is backing them to do so when they face Hull on Monday night.
Recommended Hull City v Aston Villa bets
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Hull City v Aston Villa (KCOM Stadium, Monday August 6, 1945 BST) - Sky Sports Football
Aston Villa will dust themselves off and look to bounce back from play-off heartache when they travel to Hull for their Sky Bet Championship opener.
The televised clash will be their first competitive match since losing the play-off final to Fulham in May and 7/4 looks like a generous price for a Villa victory.
Granted, it has been a hectic summer for the club with off-field events, but they kept
hold of manager Steve Bruce while only really losing John Terry and Robert Snodgrass (end of loan) from the first team and should be up there again this year.
They have only signed goalkeeper Andre Moreira on loan from Atletico Madrid, but they should still have more than enough to beat a Hull side facing a long season ahead.
With Scott Hogan still injured, Jonathan Kodjia is set to lead the line off the back of an impressive pre-season in front of goal. The Ivory Coast forward netted three goals in four friendlies and a general price of just over 2/1 for him to find the back of the net anytime looks like great value, as does backing him at 100/30 in a score-and-win double.
He faces a Hull defence without the leadership of Michael Dawson, who left for Nottingham Forest on a free transfer, and Nigel Adkins will be hoping summer signing Reece Burke can help fill that void. At the other end of the Tigers' side, without Abel Hernandez it is difficult to see where their goals will come from, so a Villa win-to-nil at 7/2 could also be worth backing, but siding with Kodjia is the preferred option for this clash.
Score prediction: Hull City 0-2 Aston Villa (Sky Bet odds: 11/1)
Alternative bet: Aston Villa to win to nil at 7/2
- Hull have won one of their last 14 games against Aston Villa in all competitions (D3 L10), a 2-0 home win in February 2015.
- Aston Villa are winless in their last three away league visits to Hull (D2 L1), failing to score despite attempting 40 shots across those three matches.
- Hull and Aston Villa also met on the opening day last season, sharing a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
- Outside the top-flight, current Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has won four of his last five opening day matches (D1), last losing in 2000-01 against Watford as Huddersfield Town manager.
- Hull are playing their first match of the season on a Monday for the first time since a 1-0 defeat to Leyton Orient in September 1907, while Aston Villa kick the season off on a Monday for the first time since September 1913.
- The losing play-off finalists from the previous season’s Championship final have only lost on the opening day of the next season in one of the last 10 seasons – but that occurred last season, when Reading lost 2-0 to QPR.
Odds correct as of 1930 BST on 04/08/18