QPR v Aston Villa (Friday 26th October, 7:45pm kick off)
Friday night sees a stop-start Aston Villa side travel to west London to face a resurgent Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
The honeymoon period for new Villa boss Dean Smith is over after they surrendered a half-time lead to lose 2-1 at Norwich on Tuesday, while QPR made it three wins in four games with a 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
Hoops manager Steve McClaren can put his side’s turn in form down, largely, to a run of just one goal conceded in their last four games. With that in mind, a QPR clean sheet looks like decent value at 11/5 with Betfair. However, a quick look at Villa’s record in front of goal makes this one a tough bet to back. Villa have scored in every Championship game so far this season, which is a stark improvement on their last campaign, when they scored just once in their final four league games, before a play-off semi-final defeat to Middlesbrough.
A great scoring record is one thing, but when you also sit comfortably in the bottom half after 14 games it’s probably because you have problems in your own penalty area. Aston Villa may have a 100% scoring run so far, but just two Championship clean sheets all season is alarming defensive form for a side with the financial clout of Villa. At the sharp end they should have enough quality to find the goal at Loftus Road, but their defensive frailties make both teams scoring a near-certainty at 8/11 with BetVictor.
A likely source of QPR goals could well be in the form of Brighton loanee Tomer Hemed. After a goal on his debut against Wigan at the end of August, the Israeli international went nearly ten games without a goal, but a strike on international duty a couple of weeks ago has been followed up by goals in back-to-back wins for his temporary employers. Hemed is 19/10 with BetBright to notch a goal anytime for the fourth straight game.
If you like a bet on the double result or half-time markets, you should probably look in the direction of a draw at the break. In the 28 Championship games featuring these two, 17 of them have been all square at the break, and only four games have seen either team behind at the interval. A draw at half-time is even-money with Betfair, but if you think both sides will continue their decent scoring form, a tipple on a 1-1 half-time score line could leave you laughing at odds of 13/2 with the same bookie.
A televised Friday night game is always a great candidate for a same-game multi bet to keep you interested. For those who don’t know, a same-game multi is essentially an accumulator of multiple selections that are all based around the same game. For the Loftus Road clash, £10 on both teams to score, Tammy Abraham to score the opening Villa goal (the Chelsea loanee has scored in two of his last three games), and a goal to be scored in both halves returns £78 with Betfair.
With the Championhip table slowly starting to take shape, you can’t help but feel that with the quality Villa have, they aren’t a million miles away from a run of good form. Dean Smith has plenty of goals at his disposal, so if and when he can impose his attacking, possession-based philosophy on his new side then they will really start to click. I don’t think Villa will be 6/4 (BetBright) to win all too often once their quality starts to kick in.
QPR’s surprise return to form, however, could be seen as something of an anomaly to many. Their squad is a relatively weak one as far as the Championship goes, and before their unbeaten run they had lost three straight games without scoring. The Londoners look like the epitome of a team that blows hot and cold.
Loftus Road isn’t the easiest place to go to, and when the crowd gets going it becomes one of the Championship’s toughest hunting grounds. Villa can boast plenty of top-level experience, and have the quality to maneuver the tight pitch at QPR. Rangers will make it hard work for them, but an entertaining game that sees Villa come out on top is my order of the day here. An Aston Villa away win that will kick-start their season – as well as both teams scoring – looks a very lucrative double indeed at 22/5 with BetVictor.
Championship Trio: A tenner on Aston Villa (to win at QPR), Sheffield United (at home to Wigan) and Millwall (at home to Ipswich) returns more than £77 with BetBright.