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Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action
Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

With a positive festive period returning profit in multiple previews, Tom Carnduff takes a look at the EFL fixtures on New Year's Day.


Recommended bets

1pt Jarrod Bowen to score anytime in Hull v Bolton at 15/8

1pt Jake Cooper to score anytime in Ipswich v Millwall at 11/1

1pt Jack Robinson and Ezgjan Alioski both to be carded in Nottingham Forest v Leeds at 16/1

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


Hull v Bolton

Sky Bet Championship, KCOM Stadium, 1500 GMT

Jarrod Bowen scores for Hull against QPR
Jarrod Bowen scores for Hull against QPR

It's been a very Merry Christmas for Hull this year, with four consecutive victories firing them to within two points of the top-half.

The Tigers handed Leeds a reality check at Elland Road last time out as they won 2-0, ending Marcelo Bielsa's seven-game winning streak in the league.

I'll be honest, as someone who tipped a top-half finish for Hull this season at 7/1 in the last Sky Bet Championship podcast, I'm quite enjoying the results that Nigel Adkins' men are picking up.

They should make it five wins in a row against a Bolton side who have struggled on the road this season. The visitors have failed to win in ten away from home, and the timing of this trip to the east coast could hardly be worse.

A home win looks a good option to add to your New Year's Day roll-ups at a general price of 4/6, in fact Hull are also a selection in our first Sporting Life Accumulator of 2019.

One of the stars of this Hull side is Jarrod Bowen, with the 22-year-old the subject of interest from at least eight different clubs heading into the January transfer window.

It's hardly a surprise - he has ten goals and three assists this season, netting a brace in three of his last six outings, and looks destined big bigger things.

I wouldn't worry too much about the interest from elsewhere providing a potential distraction, either. Leeds were one of the clubs asking about him, and despite this interest becoming public knowledge, Bowen still hit two at Elland Road.

At a price of 15/8 with Betfair and Paddy Power, the winger is fancied to strike again on Tuesday.

Best bet: Jarrod Bowen to score anytime at 15/8

Opta facts

  • Hull City and Bolton Wanderers have alternated between victory and defeat in their last seven league encounters (four Hull wins, three for Bolton), with the Tigers winning 1-0 last time out in October.
  • Bolton have lost each of their last four league visits to Hull since a 1-0 win in the Premier League in November 2008.
  • This is the third time Hull and Bolton have met on New Year’s Day in the Football League – a goalless draw in 1974 and a 1-0 win for Bolton last season.
  • Bolton have won just four points in their last 10 away Championship games (W0 D4 L6).
  • Hull City boss Nigel Adkins has lost just one of his five Championship matches against Bolton as a manager (W2 D2), a 1-0 defeat with the Tigers last season.
  • Bolton have only won once in their last 10 matches in January in all competitions (D3 L6), though it did come against Hull on this date last year.

Ipswich v Millwall

Sky Bet Championship, Portman Road, 1500 GMT

Jake Cooper has an attempt on goal against Bristol City
Jake Cooper has an attempt on goal against Bristol City

It's hardly going to be a classic at Portman Road, but there is value to be had in this encounter.

In previous previews, we've discussed Ipswich's struggles on set-pieces, and you feel set-pieces are going to be where this game is won and lost.

Ipswich possess the third-worst record for conceding from set-piece situations, while they have been a huge help to Millwall who boast the second-best record.

Only Aston Villa have struck more from dead-ball opportunities than Neil Harris' men, so they'll fancy their chances of adding to their total here.

If you've been reading these previews throughout the season then you'll know I am a fan of defender Jake Cooper and the attacking threat he offers.

The centre-back has four goals and six assists during the first-half of this season, putting him amongst the top-end for defenders who have contributed in the goals department in the Championship.

He'll be heavily involved in any Millwall attack as you imagine the majority will come from set-pieces, and I'd back him to have at least one good opportunity to find the net. The 11/1 on offer with Unibet and 888sport for Cooper to score anytime looks great value as a result.

We've seen the likes of Middlesbrough have defenders priced lower than 4/1 at times this season given their impact from free-kicks and corners - but the stats say that Millwall capitalise on those opportunities more than Tony Pulis' men.

That also highlights that an 11/1 price, and even a general price of 9/1, is too high on another Cooper goal in a game such as this.

Best bet: Jake Cooper to score anytime at 11/1

Opta facts

  • Ipswich are unbeaten in their last four home Championship matches versus Millwall (W3 D1), scoring 2+ goals in each such game.
  • Millwall, 3-0 winners over Ipswich in the reverse meeting in October this season, haven’t won consecutive league games against the Tractor Boys since April 2012 (three straight wins).
  • Ipswich manager Paul Lambert last faced Millwall in the Championship in February 2011 – his Norwich City side ran out 2-1 winners despite falling 0-1 behind.
  • Millwall last faced Ipswich on New Year’s Day in 2003, losing 4-1 with current boss Neil Harris playing the full match for the Lions.
  • During 2018, Ipswich won just three matches at Portman Road in all competitions (D11 L9), all 1-0 (against Leeds, Barnsley and Wigan).
  • Millwall are winless in 14 away Championship matches (D4 L10) since a 2-0 win at Bolton in April 2018.

Nottingham Forest v Leeds

Sky Bet Championship, City Ground, 1500 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event

Leeds celebrate Pontus Jansson's goal at Villa Park
Leeds celebrate Pontus Jansson's goal at Villa Park

The televised game on New Year's Day comes from the City Ground as Leeds look to return to winning ways against an inconsistent Nottingham Forest side.

Aitor Karanka's future continues to come into question with Forest sitting six points adrift of the play-offs, that's despite some impressive signings in the summer.

Leeds meanwhile are loving life under Marcelo Bielsa with their performances putting them three points clear of Norwich at the top. They also possess the best away record in the division, which could put them in a good position here.

Forest's home form, by contrast, leaves a lot to be desired. They've won just five of their 12 games in front of their own supporters in the league and that's nowhere near good enough for a side with promotion hopes.

Darren England's appointment as referee should signal bookings. He's shown a total of 18 yellow cards in his last three games, which includes seven last time out in Sunderland's narrow win over Bradford.

Jack Robinson has been a player who has caught the attention of the officials throughout the season. That is highlighted by the fact that he has eight yellow cards in all competitions, including in each of his last three outings.

The full-back represents good value at 7/2 with Betfair to be shown another card in this game, although that price goes up to 16/1 if you add in an Ezgjan Alioski card as a double.

The winger sits top for fouls committed by any Leeds player this season with a total of 39. The 36 fouls against him further underline the fact that he is a player heavily involved for the Whites.

Considering the high number of fouls, it's a tad surprising to see that he has only picked up five yellows cards, but there's a decent chance a sixth arrives in an important game like this one.

Best bet: Jack Robinson and Ezgjan Alioski both to be carded at 16/1

Opta facts

  • Nottingham Forest are winless in their last four Championship matches against Leeds (D2 L2) since a 3-1 win in August 2016.
  • Leeds, 2-0 winners at the City Ground last season, haven’t won back-to-back league visits to Nottingham Forest since August 1969 (three straight wins).
  • Nottingham Forest’s Aitor Karanka has only won one of his seven league games as a manager against Leeds United (D3 L3), a 3-0 victory over Uwe Rosler’s Leeds team when in charge of Middlesbrough in September 2015.
  • This is Leeds’ first away league match on New Year’s Day for 22 years – since losing 0-3 at Newcastle United in the Premier League in 1997.
  • Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban has scored four goals in his last five league starts against Leeds United.
  • Leeds have had a player red carded in four of their last six January matches in all competitions – against Sutton United (Liam Cooper), Newport County (Samuel Saiz), Ipswich Town (Eunan O’Kane) and Millwall (Cooper again).

Odds correct at 1030 GMT (31/12/18)

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