English Championship Betting Round Previews: Goals Galore in Week 32

Last updated: 18 Dec 12:53

There are a handful of Championship sides in FA Cup action this weekend, but there is still plenty of betting to be done, and plenty of goals to fire you towards some decent cash in week 32.

The game of the day on Saturday has to be at Craven Cottage where in-form Fulham host the even more in-form Aston Villa. A five-game winning streak for the Cottagers was ended by a 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers last weekend, while Aston Villa’s derby day win over Birmingham City last Sunday made it a magnificent seven victories on the bounce for Steve Bruce’s side. Fulham will be looking to maintain a strong recent record at home which has seen them win six on the spin, so I’m confident of plenty of goals between the division’s hottest sides. Villa also have the added incentive of potentially going four points clear of third-placed Derby County following the Rams’ 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek. With that in mind, goals are the order of the day, and you can get a lovely 12/5 for the game to have more than 3.5 goals. However, if you’re feeling brave and fancy Villa to make it eight wins out of eight, stick a tenner on the Villains to win and there to be over 3.5 goals in the game at a massive 9/1 with William Hill.

There’s an equally intriguing game in south Wales on Saturday as Cardiff, fresh from a 2-0 win over Bolton on Tuesday, take on a Middlesbrough side that are yet to really get going under new manager Tony Pulis. The Bluebirds have picked up their form again following a tough Christmas period, and have now gone undefeated in five, conceding just twice in the process. Boro, meanwhile, remain erratic -they’ve not won consecutive games since Boxing Day, and seeing as they won their last game, they’re due to be brought back down to earth this weekend. 7/5 for the Cardiff win is pretty good odds for a home side chasing automatic promotion, and it’s going in my treble.

Runaway leaders Wolves look to continue their stroll towards the promised land of the Premier League when they travel north to face Preston North End at Deepdale. However, this should be a tricky game for the visitors, as North End have only lost three of their 15 home games in the Championship this season, and they haven’t lost against Wolves at home in nearly a decade. That said, the last three meetings in Lancashire have ended all square, and I fancy it to be four Deepdale draws in a row between these two, which looks an appetizing bet at 23/10 with Paddy Power.

Looking further down the table now and there’s a six-pointer at the bottom of the Championship in Staffordshire, as Burton Albion hope to end their wretched home form against goal-shy Nottingham Forest. A quite remarkable spell (for all the wrong reasons) has seen Burton pick up just one point from their last ten home games. Yes, you read that correctly… one draw, and nine losses in their last ten at the Pirelli Stadium. With a record like that, it’s easy to see why the Brewers are struggling at the bottom. Forest, meanwhile, are in big danger of being dragged into yet another relegation dog fight after a 2-0 home defeat to struggling Hull City last weekend. They need a result, but they should have enough in their new-look squad to get past a Burton Albion defence that is stubborn on the road but brittle on their own patch. Forest stunned the Championship when they beat Wolves away from home a few weeks ago, so in the perfectly logical world of football (spot the sarcasm), a win at Burton at 29/20 with Ladbrokes should be a pretty safe bet…right?

QPR sit just a point above Forest in 16th place but are by no means safe. They’re at Loftus Road on Saturday when they hope to entertain Bolton Wanderers, who will be targeting this away game as a chance to climb further away from the relegation scrap heap. If the Championship table was based purely on home results, then QPR would be sitting comfortably in the top half, and if the league was based on away results, Bolton would be rock bottom. Throw Bolton’s precarious league position into the mix and a QPR win with both teams to score at 10/3 with Coral looks like a bet with a lot of potential.

Speaking of potential, Sunderland showed that there’s plenty of life in them with a heroic 3-3 draw at Bristol City in which they were 3-0 down at half-time, leading to comparisons of Liverpool’s famous Champions League final win over AC Milan in 2005. This week they’re back at the Stadium of Light as they face Brentford, who are starting to falter in their quest for a surprise push for a play-off place. Their season is slowly petering out and they’re struggling for goals, presenting a golden opportunity for Chris Coleman’s black cats to strike. I’m going to raise a few eyebrows (and hopefully a bit of cash) by backing Sunderland for a surprise home win at 12/5 with Paddy Power.

The final Saturday game to take a look at is at St Andrews, where Birmingham take on Millwall, which is enough to tell you why this is the last Saturday game I’m covering this week. This one probably won’t be a classic. But that’s what I said when I looked at Birmingham a couple of weeks back, before a 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday, so what do I know?!. The wind was knocked out of their sails last weekend when local rivals Aston Villa comfortably beat them, but their form was solid until then. The Blues had taken 13 points from a possible 18 prior to the Villa game, so they will be confident that they can get a positive result against a Millwall side that have won just twice away from home this season. The Lions have been in decent nick themselves in recent weeks though, losing just once in eight games. If I had to pick a bet for this one, I’d say a draw plus under 2.5 goals looks promising at 5/2 with William Hill. Neither side scores a great deal, and a point would come in handy for both sides.

On to Sunday now, and there’s no better place to start than the East Anglian derby at Carrow Road between Norwich and Ipswich. They say form goes out the window for local derbies, but current form and recent history between these two is hard to ignore. It’s almost nine years since Ipswich beat the Canaries, and it’s 13 years since they bagged all three points from a trip to Norfolk. Norwich were excellent in their away draw at Derby last time out, while Ipswich were lucky to escape with a draw from their home game with relegation-threatened Burton in their previous outing. All things considered, 4/5 for a home win looks an absolute banker, and is my tip of the weekend.

Last up is a pair of sides that have put in plenty of Jekyll and Hyde performances this season. Leeds United started the season with five consecutive wins. Since then, they have seen runs of three straight defeats, then another four losses in a row a few weeks later, followed by a four-game winning streak in December. The only consistency in their season has been the inconsistency in their performances. Bristol City, meanwhile, managed to sum up Leeds’ entire season in one game last weekend when they were 3-0 up against Sunderland at half-time, only to end the game drawing 3-3. The game will be Paul Heckingbottom’s first home game as Leeds United manager, so he’ll be keen for his side to put in a decent display, while the Robins will have ground to make up on the leading pack by the time kick off comes around. Just one win in nine games for the visitors makes Leeds the favourites for me, and the fact that they haven’t won and kept a clean sheet in the same match since before Christmas leads me to the very interesting price of nearly 4/1 for them to win with both teams scoring. That’ll do for me, and it could be the Sunday side bet that makes you a lot of wonga.

Tip of the Day: Form and history are on Norwich’s side as they prepare to face local rivals Ipswich on Sunday, and odds of 4/5 for the home win are too good to refuse.

Championship Treble: £10 on Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Cardiff returns a whopping £195 with William Hill.

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Teemu Maarela

Esports & Ice Hockey Specialist


Teemu is an enthusiastic Finn who spent his childhood around ice hockey and video games, and he has 10+ years of experience with sports betting industry. Teemu specialises in analysing esports and ice hockey games. He contributes to website in English, writing about his two passions - ice hockey and esports.
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