Our Saturday BTTS column sees us take a deep dive into the Championship, which makes up 60% of our fivefold.
England’s second-tier is also joined by a game in the fourth, and Manchester United vs Luton makes up the numbers for a 14/1 shot…
Leg 1 – Manchester United vs Luton Town @ 4/5
Manchester United’s defensive deficiencies have been well documented this season, and they were on full display on Wednesday as they lost 4-3 at FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.
Even a return to Old Trafford is unlikely to inspire hope, with their only clean sheet there in the competition a more than fortuitous 1-0 win over Wolves on the opening weekend.
Luton, meanwhile, have scored in their last three away games, and they should take extra confidence from a 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend.
United’s defensive options were further depleted in midweek with the injury to Jonny Evans, and the likes of Carlton Morris will surely be licking their lips in the Luton attack.
The Hatters are still yet to keep a clean sheet this season, though, and it’s difficult to see that run being ended here, despite the general air of malaise at Old Trafford.
Leg 2 – Leeds United vs Plymouth Argyle @ 8/11
Leeds are motoring along nicely as they hunt down the Championship top-two of Leicester City and Ipswich Town. A win over the former last week was a huge statement of intent from the Whites, who have now scored in seven of their last eight games.
Five goals conceded in seven games at Elland Road marks it down as one of the most difficult stadiums to score at in the Championship, but Leeds have conceded in their last two games at home, both to bottom-half sides in Bristol City and Huddersfield Town.
Plymouth can also be found among the lower echelons of the league, but the Pilgrims’ tally of 26 goals is only beaten by Leicester and Ipswich, while BTTS has won in 67% (10/15) of their games.
They struck two past Ipswich at Portman Road in their last away trip, and they’ll fancy their chances of scoring on Saturday, particularly with Leeds defender Pascal Struijk ruled out through injury.
Leg 3 – QPR vs Bristol City @ 4/5
It’s a battle of the new boys at Loftus Road on Saturday, as Marti Cifuentes and Liam Manning prepare to manage their second and first Championship games respectively.
Cifuentes’ first in charge of the Hoops ended in a 1-1 draw at Rotherham, and he’ll hope for a rousing reception on his Loftus Road debut.
Ilias Chair scored his first of the season at the 15th attempt in that draw last weekend, and instilling some confidence into their most creative player could be the spark that’s needed as QPR attempt to push up the league.
BTTS has won in over half (53%) of their Championship games this season, while their opponents on Saturday – Bristol City – fall just under at 47%.
The game will be the first under their new manager Manning, and he joins after an impressive stint at Oxford United, whom he guided to second in League One at the time of his departure.
Oxford were also among the highest scorers in the third-tier, and his appointment is designed to improve the Robins at the top end of the pitch.
Against a QPR side who have conceded 27 times in the Championship – behind only Norwich City (30) – they have a great chance of addressing their issues in front of goal.
Leg 4 – Southampton vs West Brom @ 8/11
Life under Russell Martin certainly hasn’t been dull for Saints fans, who have had to remain patient for the results to follow.
But after going unbeaten in their last seven games – winning four of them – Martin has been able to back up his words, which previously felt rather hollow as his side were hit for four, five and four by Norwich, Sunderland and Leicester respectively.
Southampton have certainly shored up at the back, but they have still conceded once in four of their last five games, and the BTTS bet has won in 73% (11/15) of their Championship games – the joint-most along with Norwich.
BTTS has won in over half (8/15) of West Brom’s league games this season, and the Baggies have now scored in six of their last seven, winning their last three.
Like Southampton, West Brom are starting to hit their stride after a relatively slow start, and they should be confident of scoring at St Mary’s after hitting seven in their last three. Carlos Corberan’s side have also scored in six of their seven away matches in the Championship.
Leg 5 – Swindon Town vs Stockport County @ 8/15
Swindon feature highly in any goals-related column, and for good reason.
The Robins have scored 34 goals in League Two this season, second only to Crewe Alexandra (35). They’ve also shipped 27, and that’s without going into the recent 7-4 home defeat to National League Aldershot Town.
Saturday’s opponents at the County Ground, Stockport, are flying at the top of League Two, and that’s putting it mildly.
The Hatters have won their last 12 games in all competitions, and sit five points clear in England’s fourth-tier.
Their success has been founded on a solid defence, but they are not impregnable as Northern Premier League side Worksop Town discovered last weekend.
BTTS has won in 63% (10/16) of Swindon’s League Two games this season, and the Robins are yet to be shut out at the County Ground.
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