Football League Tips – 29th & 30th January
Last week was one of those weekends when it was a case of ‘so near, so far’ for my tips. I had the Leicester v Brighton game down as a draw, but rather than take the more flexible draw and both teams to score, I went with a 2-2 correct score and it was 1-1.
I also felt Harry Kane’s disallowed goal robbed me of a draw chance in the Chelsea v Spurs game, and Dan James missed a good chance early on against Newcastle and despite lots of pressure in the second half, Everton couldn’t draw level against Aston Villa to grab the 1-1 I’d expected.
So, no winners last week, which is disappointing, however, I am still in profit on 2022 so far and I want to try and build on that with this week’s selection of games.
It’s a bit of an unusual week this one as many of the top leagues around Europe, including the Premier League, are on a winter break, which means no top flight football across many of the best European Leagues, so this week we are going to venture into the Football League and look at the games in the Championship, League One and League Two that I feel offer us some good opportunities for a return.
There’s plenty of teams, many ex-Premier League teams, that are plying their trades in the lower divisions and there are some intriguing match-ups this weekend, including the top two clashing in League Two as well as key games between promotion and playoff hopefuls in other divisions.
Anyway, I feel like I am due a bit of luck after last week, so here are my tips for this weekend’s set of Football League games.
Football League Tips: Saturday 29th January
If you look at the stats of these two teams then you will notice that while it is not unusual for Reading to be involved in games with lots of goals, QPR are the exact opposite and they have had many 1-0, 0-0, 1-1 and 2-1 results this season.
That means the 3-3 draw between the two earlier on in the year was a more unusual result for QPR than it was Reading and given that the Royals are without a win since November and have shipped 15 goals in their last four games, the signs don’t look too good for them here.
They did give QPR a real game when they met earlier on this season, but the confidence does look to have drained from this Reading side and with Andy Carroll’s short term contract now up, I find it hard to see where the goals are going to come from.
QPR will know if they can keep it tight and score a goal, then they should be in with a great chance of picking up the win, so I am going to go for the Correct Score option here and back a 1-0 win for the home side.
These two teams would have clashed in the Premier League not too long ago but their fortunes have fallen since then and now this is a League One clash, with Bolton lying in the bottom half of the table, while Sunderland attempt to get back into the Championship.
The Wearsiders have had a good season but while they are level on points with Wigan, with a slightly worse goal difference, they have played four games more than the leaders and so, this is an important game for them to stay in touch at the top of the table.
Sunderland’s away form is good and while they have drawn a fair few games, their last defeat on the road was away at Sheffield Wednesday back at the start of November. Bolton’s home form is better than their away, but they have suffered a few heavy home defeats, losing 4-0 to Wigan for example, and they were beaten by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in September.
I can see this being a generally tight game with the away side perhaps snatching the victory on the back of a strong second half showing. As such, I think the HT/FT Market offers good value here with the Draw/Sunderland option being the one that I am going to back.
It’s fair to say that these two teams and sets of fans really are not on great terms. The animosity stretches from boardroom level down to the fan base and has been based on the two teams being involved in promotion battles in the Conference and League Two in recent years, as well as two meetings in the playoffs.
Forest Green have been the best team in the division this season and have not lost an away game, losing their two games at home. They have the best strikeforce in the division in Matt Stevens and Jamille Matt but they are coming up against a team who comfortably have the best defence in the division and who are unbeaten in ten games.
Outside of Manchester City, no team in the country has a better record than Tranmere Rovers over their last ten games and some astute moves in the transfer market has seen them add a few more goals to the team over the last few weeks, the key ingredient that was missing earlier on this season.
Games between these two teams can be fractious affairs and I was tempted to back a bet on a sending off in this game. That may still be a good call, but instead, I am going to go for what has been a standard result at Prenton Park this season and a 1-0 win for the home team.
Football League Tips: Sunday 30th January
If you look at the table, you’d think Derby were much the weaker team here, but Wayne Rooney’s side have endured a 21-point deduction due to financial fair play and without that, they would lie 15th and above Birmingham City in the table.
The Rams recent form is pretty good too. A loss at Nottingham Forest last time out will have stung somewhat but they have lost just once at home this season and their recent form in general has been much the better of the two teams.
Birmingham City are a team that tend to score goals, but they also ship them too. All of their last five Championship games have seen both teams score, but they have picked up just five points in that run, their sole win coming against a Barnsley team that sit below Derby in the table.
This is a pretty tricky one to call to be honest as both teams are capable of doing very well on their day, but also can lose to anybody in this division, but given their excellent home advantage, I am backing Derby Country to land the win and with better than even money available on that, I am happy to take the win bet alone.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.