Back in the Championship after suffering relegation from the Premier League, Watford host Sheffield United at Vicarage Road on Monday night.
United are looking to build on a strong 2021-22 campaign, which ended with a playoff loss, but it’s Watford who are favourites for the season opener.
Sheffield United struggled for consistency on the road last season, winning just eight of their 23 matches away from Bramall Lane.
Having crucially retained wing duo Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis, Watford arguably have the best squad in the Championship. Sheffield United have depth, but they are lacking the top-end talent that makes Watford one of the favourites for promotion.
Watford are unbeaten in their last five against the Blades in all competitions. New Hornets manager Rob Edwards has had a full preseason to work with the squad, and they should be able to hit the ground running.
Sheffield United’s away form in the second half of last season wasn’t great, with just four wins from 11 matches. Watford are a good price to take all three points on Monday.
Total Goals: Under 2.5
Goals were hard to come by for Sheffield United on the road last season, scoring just 25 times in 23 matches. The attack is hampered on Monday night by the absence of striker Oliver McBurnie.
Edwards’ Forest Green Rovers had lots of low-scoring matches at home in 2021-22, keeping 12 clean sheets at the New Lawn. The young manager will set Watford up in a similar way.
It’s a short price, but under 2.5 goals still represents decent value here.
Total Cards: Over 3.5
Only eight teams committed more fouls than Sheffield United last season. Their 87 yellow cards and two reds also placed them ninth in the league.
Facing a Watford team with talented ball carriers, cards are a real risk for the Blades on Monday night. The Hornets had their own foul issues in 2021-22, ranking behind only Leeds in fouls committed in the top flight.
Again, these are short odds, but over 3.5 total cards is a good bet given the number of fouls we saw from these teams last term.
Odds subject to change