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3pts Bradford to beat Shrewsbury at 23/10

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


Bristol City v Nottingham Forest

Ashton Gate, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka
Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka

Nottingham Forest are our tip for the Sky Bet Championship title this season, and they are more than equipped to kick things off with a win.

The appointment of Aitor Karanka back in January was a positive step forward following the doomed spells of Philippe Montanier and Mark Warburton, with this summer bringing a number of impressive additions.

Attacking midfielder Joao Carvalho has joined from Benfica for a reported £15m fee and Lewis Grabban, who finished as the league's second-highest scorer at the end of the last campaign after loan spells at Sunderland and Aston Villa, has made the switch from Bournemouth for what could prove to be a bargain £6m price.

Gil Dias, El Arbi Hillel Soudani and Tobias Figeuiredo are a trio of other signings that rate as particularly shrewd business and should help to propel Forest further up the table.

They have enough about them with this side to take advantage of a Bristol City side who have seen two key players depart during this window.

Bobby Reid, who finished as the league's third top scorer last season with 19 goals, has gone onto Cardiff while Aden Flint, a key part of their defence, has moved onto divisional rivals Middlesbrough.

Mo Eisa will be tasked with filling Reid's boots, and it remains to be seen if he can adjust to life at a higher level following an impressive spell with Cheltenham.

City may have almost hit the heights last season, but this campaign could see them slide back into mid-table and Forest will fancy their chances on Saturday.

Recommended bet: Nottingham Forest to win at 19/10


Preston v QPR

Deepdale, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

QPR boss Steve McClaren
QPR boss Steve McClaren

It's another return to management for Steve McClaren, this time with QPR, and Rangers could find themselves in relegation trouble this season.

They start the season away at Deepdale against a Preston side who are remarkably even money to secure all the points on offer.

McClaren's men have had to endure a summer with little in terms on incomings, as their Financial Fair Play fine for breaking the rules during 2013/14 season in which they were promoted also means they are banned from making signings.

The squad last season saw them barely avoid any relegation trouble, and with the teams around improving, the R's can find themselves real candidates for the drop this time around.

On the contrary, Preston are a team who have flirted with the play-offs over the past two seasons, even after spending less money than those they are in competition with.

North End have seen five new faces arrive this summer, with Graham Burke the most intriguing of the bunch. The 24-year-old scored 16 goals for Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland last season so he makes the step into English football with form behind him.

Alongside home advantage, Preston should start off with victory.

Recommended bet: Preston to win at Evens


Peterborough v Bristol Rovers

Abax Stadium, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

Steve Evans will be looking to lead Peterborough to the Sky Bet Championship
Steve Evans will be looking to lead Peterborough to the Sky Bet Championship

Last season's top scorer Jack Marriott may have departed for Derby, but Peterborough have made an incredible 14 signings so far during the summer transfer window.

Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was a standout performer for Accrington as they secured League Two glory last season, with Louis Reed, Tyler Denton and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts all exciting prospects.

Alex Woodyard was a regular in the Lincoln midfield and has been named Posh's captain for the season, while Matt Godden struck 14 last season for Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage and is expected to cope with the step up in class.

Jason Cummings, who arrives on loan from Nottingham Forest, can be viewed as a bit of a coup at this level given his fantastic track record in Scotland.

Steve Evans' men are in the right place to win in front of their own fans and, based on the two squads, are overpriced at 23/20 for the victory.

Home form will be crucial for any side who have promotion aspirations, and Peterborough will look at teams such as Bristol Rovers who they will target for three points.

Recommended bet: Peterborough to win at 23/20


Shrewsbury v Bradford

Montgomery Waters Meadow, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

Jon Nolan (right) has handed in a transfer request
Jon Nolan (right) has handed in a transfer request

Shrewsbury came agonisingly close to a shock promotion having started the 2017/18 season as favourites for the drop, losing out to Rotherham in extra-time of the Sky Bet League One play-off final.

In all honesty, in what was supposed to be a summer of re-building, it could not have gone any worse.

Manager Paul Hurst departed to take the vacant role at Sky Bet Championship Ipswich, whilst star goalkeeper Dean Henderson, on-loan from Manchester United, has since moved on to Sheffield United on a temporary basis.

Junior Brown and Abu Ogogo have since swapped Shropshire for League One rivals Coventry, whilst Alex Rodman has gone onto join Bristol Rovers after a storming season down Town's left-wing.

Just when Salop thought the worst was over with - Jon Nolan and Toto Nsiala, key players last season, handed in transfer requests to force a move to the second tier.

Combine that with the fact that new manager Jon Askey will actually miss this game through a suspension picked up at Macclesfield, it is remarkable that Bradford are 23/10 outsiders here.

For Bradford, the start of the summer saw a lot of questions surrounding the Bantams, with the appointment of coaching trio Michael Collins, Greg Abbott and Martin Drury left a lot to be desired by supporters.

However, their business has been very impressive throughout the transfer window. Josh Wright and Hope Akpan add quality to the midfield whilst Joe Riley comes in after captaining Manchester United's under-23s side.

They may have lost last season's top goalscorer Charlie Wyke, but in Eoin Doyle they have a more than suitable replacement as he finished one goal below Wyke in the charts, but that was at a team who were eventually relegated.

Bradford come into this one far more prepared than their opposition and look great value to wrap up the three points.

Recommended bet: Bradford City to win at 23/10


Notts County v Colchester

Meadow Lane, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

Notts County boss Kevin Nolan
Notts County boss Kevin Nolan

They have had the best transfer window of any side in Sky Bet League Two, and that will be enough for Notts County to get past Colchester at Meadow Lane.

The Magpies have welcomed striking duo Kane Hemmings and Kristian Dennis to the club, with the latter striking 21 goals in a Chesterfield side that dropped out of the EFL altogether last season.

Hemmings meanwhile, struck 15 during his time on loan at Mansfield, showing how this Notts County side is one that possesses plenty of attacking threat.

County have also brought in the experienced David Vaughan, who has international experience with Wales, with Enzio Boldewijn a star winger for Crawley last time out.

Under Kevin Nolan's guidance, Notts have all the potential to storm to the title.

They come up against a Colchester side who could push for a top-seven finish this season, although their transfer dealings have not been anywhere near that of their opposition.

At odds-against, Notts County provide real value for a League Two bet.

Recommended bet: Notts County to win at 11/10


Oldham v MK Dons

Boundary Park, Saturday 4th August, 1500 BST

Paul Tisdale joined MK Dons in the summer
Paul Tisdale joined MK Dons in the summer

Despite coming down from Sky Bet League One last season, Oldham are a popular pick with punters to suffer consecutive relegations.

They have brought in nine new players during this window, but off-the-field issues have disrupted their preparations for the upcoming season.

Athletic boss Frankie Bunn refuses to discuss the future of defender Anthony Gerrard amidst reports that he has been sacked by the club for apparent disciplinary issues while matters with HMRC overshadow the club.

Milton Keynes on the other hand, have also added nine faces to their already talented squad and should be Notts County's main rivals for the title.

Kieran Agard has the ability to be a top-class striker in this division with Ryan Harley set to establish himself as a key player in midfield after his arrival from Exeter.

MK do have former Grecians boss Paul Tisdale at the helm and he is someone who knows this league inside out.

Tisdale took Exeter to League One in 2012, and more recently the League Two play-off final despite a limited budget.

His side are better prepared here given the situation at both clubs, and represent great value at 7/4 for victory.

These two sides both came down from England's third tier last season, but MK are in a significantly better place for promotion back at the first time of asking.

Recommended bet: MK Dons to win at 7/4


Odds correct at 1635 BST (02/08/18)

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