The weekend's football begins at Loftus Road as an in-form QPR side take on Aston Villa. EFL expert Tom Carnduff picks out two best bets for the game.
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QPR v Aston Villa (Loftus Road, 1945 BST, Sky Sports Main Event)
They started the season poorly but QPR can approach their clash with Aston Villa with plenty of confidence given their form in recent weeks.
Steve McClaren's men have won three of their last four, drawing the other, and as a result have moved above Friday's opponents in the table.
Villa have had issues on the road this season and they could have pinpointed this as a contest in which they could turn the tide a couple of weeks ago. However, the R's performances in recent games have shifted them into favouritism.
I saw QPR first-hand in their defeat to Sheffield United in August and the one thing that stood out to me there was how vulnerable their defence appeared to be when teams looked to attack them, something underlined when they were hammered 7-1 by West Brom in the following game.
McClaren though, has seemingly rectified those problems with just one goal conceded in their last four. They have also seen just two goals against in their last five home games in the league and those early-season defensive woes are a thing of the past.
Villa do possess individual quality in attack, but as we saw in their first season in the Sky Bet Championship, they are struggling to get the most out of it as a team and that lack of cohesiveness remains a problem.
I didn't think I'd be writing that a win would move QPR to within a point of the play-offs at any point this season, but based on recent track record, it's difficult to argue against Rangers continuing their winning ways here.
One man who can help the R's continue to shine is Luke Freeman and he's worth backing at 9/2 to find the net.
The 26-year-old has featured in every league match this season, playing at least 80 minutes in all of them and the full 90 in all but five. He is, quite simply, highly important to the success of QPR going forward.
He has four goals and one assist on his tally already, with his 21 shots on goal also demonstrating that he isn't afraid to try his luck when the opportunity is presented to him.
Freeman is also a man in form, scoring two in his last two appearances and having eight attempts on goal during his last three, and we'll stick with him at what looks a generous price.
It's also worth backing QPR to continue their record of strong starts by siding with them in the half-time/full-time market. In all but one victory this season, the Hoops have been leading after 45 minutes and at the best part of 4/1 they look worth a bet to keep up that record.
Score prediction: QPR 2-1 Aston Villa (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
Best bet: Luke Freeman to score anytime at 9/2
- QPR – 3-1 winners in their last league game against Aston Villa – haven’t won back-to-back league matches against the Villans since September 1989.
- Aston Villa have won their last two league visits to Loftus Road against QPR, having won none of their previous seven (D3 L4).
- QPR have lost their last 13 league matches played on a Friday, a run stretching back to Boxing Day 2014.
- Aston Villa have lost 11 of their last 13 league matches in London – their other two matches have been wins against QPR.
- QPR have won six of their last 10 Championship matches (D2 L2) – their previous six wins came across a period of 20 league games.
- Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is winless in nine away Championship matches (W0 D5 L4) since winning 1-0 at Nottingham Forest with Brentford in April.
Odds correct as of 1205 BST on 25/10/18