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Sporting Life's EFL preview package and free tips
Sporting Life's EFL preview package and free tips

After a winner on opening weekend, Tom Carnduff takes a look at Saturday's Sky Bet EFL action and picks out his best bets.


Recommended bets

1pt Adam Forshaw to score anytime in Leeds v Nottingham Forest at 9/1

2pts Plymouth to win and over 2.5 goals in the match at 12/5

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


Leeds v Nottingham Forest

Patrick Bamford celebrates his goal against Bristol City
Leeds can continue their winning start to the season

Leeds started the season with a comfortable victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate, while Forest were beaten by West Brom in front of their own supporters.

The Whites are a best price of 4/7 to secure another three points in Saturday's early kick-off, which they should do given what we saw from them on the opening weekend.

With the home side so strongly fancied to win, value can sometimes be difficult to find. However, it's definitely worth considering the 9/1 available on Adam Forshaw finding the net.

He's a player who divides opinion among the Elland Road faithful, but the midfielder is clearly favoured by Marcelo Bielsa and suits the style of football he wants to play.

A point of interest from that win in Bristol, and indeed throughout the pre-season campaign, is the more advanced role that Forshaw has been allowed to take up.

We were used to seeing him sit further back last season, but a slight tactical tweak from Bielsa allowed him further up the field throughout the course of last week's win.

Leeds netted three in that game, and there will be a greater emphasis on attack as they look to begin their home campaign in the best possible fashion.

Forshaw posted three shots last time out, one of which was inches wide, and with Kalvin Phillips allowed to play the deeper role in midfield, expect Forshaw to have more opportunities to strike.

Best bet: Adam Forshaw to score anytime at 9/1

Opta facts

  • Leeds United have won just two of their last 13 league games against Nottingham Forest (W2 D5 L6), winning 2-0 in both games against them during 2017.
  • Since a 7-3 win away at Leeds in March 2012, there have been just 10 league goals scored in seven meetings between Leeds and Nottingham Forest at Elland Road.
  • Leeds have only played their first home league match of the season against Nottingham Forest once previously – in 1991-92, winning 1-0 and going on to win the top-flight league title that season.
  • Nottingham Forest have only won one of their last 14 away games in the Championship (D6 L7), although that victory did come in their final away trip of last season (1-0 at QPR).
  • Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Leeds United’s Pablo Hernández has scored and assisted in six Championship matches – only David McGoldrick and Neal Maupay have done so more often in that time (seven times).
  • Nottingham Forest haven’t lost their opening two league matches of a season since the 1971-72 campaign, when they were in the top-flight.

Middlesbrough v Brentford

Lewis Wing celebrates his goal against Luton
More goals to come for Middlesbrough?

The good news for the neutral here is that we expect goals whenever Boro play, which is a welcome change following Tony Pulis' departure.

They shared the points in a 3-3 thriller with Luton in the first game of the 2019/20 campaign, whereas Brentford couldn't find the net as they were the victim of a remarkable smash-and-grab by Birmingham.

Expect more goals here given the talent that both sides possess offensively, albeit they are still open at the back.

Over 2.5 goals is available at a price of around even money, which is appealing, but those playing overs are advised to go a step further and back over 3.5 at 5/2.

Even with Neal Maupay's departure, Brentford boast players who can contribute in the short-term, whether that be from the forward or midfield positions.

Bryan Mbeumo will provide competition in the wide places while Ollie Watkins could play more centrally if required and I like the look of this game from a goals perspective, which is a strange thing to say given that it's taking place at the Riverside.

Best bet: Over 3.5 goals in the game at 5/2

Opta facts

  • Middlesbrough’s 1-2 defeat against Brentford at the Riverside Stadium in March last season was their first league defeat against the Bees since December 1938.
  • Brentford have scored four league goals in their last two visits to Middlesbrough (W1 D1 L0) – one more than they managed in their first eight trips there (W1 D1 L6).
  • Middlesbrough have won their first home league game of the campaign in four of the previous five seasons (D1), including in each of the last two.
  • Brentford suffered a 0-1 defeat in their opening game against Birmingham despite having 15 shots to Birmingham’s one and hit the woodwork more than any other Championship side on MD1 (3).
  • Just 40 goals were scored at the Riverside in the Championship last season (23 for, 17 against) – the fewest at any home venue in the competition.
  • Since the start of 2017-18, departed striker Neal Maupay was involved in 49 Championship goals for Brentford – 19 more than any other Bees player.

Plymouth v Colchester

Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe
Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe

It was a great start for our outright pick for success in Sky Bet League Two as Plymouth hit three past Crewe away from home on the opening day - even more so given that we're on the to be the division's top scorers.

Plymouth can continue their winning ways on Saturday as they welcome Colchester. The visitors have promotion aspirations of their own, but started with a draw at Port Vale.

Ryan Lowe expressed his desire to bring his attacking brand of football to the Pilgrims this season and, based on what we saw last week, it's clearly taken little time for the players to adjust.

In front of their own supporters, Lowe will expect more of the same. That victory at Crewe is made more impressive by the fact that they are still on the lookout for a replacement for striker Freddie Ladapo.

Callum McFadzean hit a brace in his first game at the club and could well strike again here. Regardless of who gets the goals, expect a home victory with plenty of them.

Best bet: Plymouth to win and over 2.5 goals in the match at 12/5

Opta facts

  • Plymouth have lost just one of their last 14 matches against Colchester in all competitions (W8 D5) and are unbeaten against the U’s since a 1-2 defeat back in August 2003 (P10 W7 D3 L0 since).
  • Colchester have faced Plymouth away from home more than any other side in the Football League without ever ending on the winning side (P17 W0 D8 L9), losing each of the last five such matches.
  • Plymouth have scored three goals in each of their last two EFL games (v Scunthorpe on the last day of the League One season in 18/19 and v Crewe on the opening day of this season) – the Pilgrims last scored three of more goals in three consecutive Football League matches in October 2003.
  • Colchester are unbeaten in their last five games in League Two (W3 D2) – they last went longer without defeat in January 2018 (run of six games).
  • On the opening day, Callum McFadzean became the first Plymouth player since Sonny Bradley (v Cheltenham) in January 2017 to score an away brace in the EFL.

Odds correct at 1320 BST (08/08/19)

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Most Read Football

Joelinton scores for Newcastle against Tottenham1

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