EFL Championship preview and tips: Burnley flying, QPR in freefall, and more
There's Lancashire pride on the line when Blackpool welcome Burnley this weekend, and it's the visitors who continued their fantastic form in February.
The Clarets remain unbeaten in 2023 having picked up four wins and two draws. Blackpool find themselves near the bottom of the form table, while a win could take Burnley 20+ points clear of third place with one foot firmly in the Premier League door. Not only were Burnley the top scorers in February, but they also boasted the meanest defence, leaking just two goals to make it just 28 conceded from their 34 Championship outings.
The visitors have won their last three trips here by a goal to nil, and that seems an obvious play given their prowess at both ends of the pitch.
Whilst Vincent Kompany's men are flying, QPR are on their fourth manager in less than 12 months, with new boss Gareth Ainsworth in the job for just 10 days at the time of writing. Up to now, he has suffered much the same fate as his predecessors, and his usual bounce was absent against Blackburn, as the R's lost their fourth straight game in February. They begin March with a trip to Rotherham who seem to have found their backbone, avoiding defeat in six of their last eight games. The form of Shane Ferguson and Leo Hjelde has been important for the Millers, who might fancy their chances of claiming a seventh home win of the season. Since QPR have won just one of their last 11 away games, it seems odd that they should be the bookmakers' favourite here, so there may be value in backing Rotherham Draw-No-Bet and hoping they pinch it.
Middlesbrough finished February with a 2-0 loss to West Brom, but before that had won four straight with a three-goal haul in each. Chuba Akpom seemingly scores when he wants and contributed five of those, including the all-important leveller at Bramall Lane, which Boro went on to win 3-1. Boro will welcome a Reading side destined for a mid-table finish thanks to their positive home form. On their travels, the Royals have lost 13 of 18, losing their last five and failing to find the net in four of them. There's such a gap between these sides at present you'd be stunned if it wasn't a home win, but that is reflected in Boro being heavy odds-on favourite. Given that Middlesbrough have scored at least twice against 11 of their last 15 opponents, and Reading have conceded two or more nine times on their travels, it's worth a look at the goals market.
Middlesbrough to win and over 2.5 goals looks a decent option and should only be helped if Reading do happen to find the net, but it feels like a game where Boro are capable of scoring three or four.
Burnley win to nil
Middlesbrough win and over 2.5 goals
Rotherham draw no bet
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