EFL Betting Tips: Leicester to carry on title charge and Salford to get back to winning ways
By Matthew O'ReganLatest Football Odds
8 February 2024
Four selections from the EFL this weekend. Leicester look to continue their title charge against a Watford side which have only won once in their last five games. Luke Williams has struggled since being appointed Swansea manager and he faces a Hull side who bolstered their attacking-talent in the January window. Away from the Championship the focus is on four sides who are struggling.
Kick Off: 15:00, Saturday
Under Valérin Ismaël, Watford are ticking along in the Championship, currently sat 11th- the position they finished last season.
With the top four seemingly cemented, it looks to be a battle for fifth and sixth place. In traditional Championship style, there are a host of teams who will fancy their chances of sneaking into the final spots – Watford being one of them.
The Hornets are four points off Hull so have as good a chance as many of achieving the Wembley dream but after a disappointing transfer window, it seems an uphill battle.
After five matches without a win, scoring two goals in this period – the last thing Watford need is the visit of table-toppers Leicester City.
Enzo Maresca’s side currently sit atop of the Sky Bet Championship and are on course for a record point tally. The Foxes are on 72 points, 11 clear of second place Southampton.
They have won their last three, scoring 11 goals and conceding just once. In their 15 away league games thus far, Leicester have won 15, drawn two and lost two.
With one of the best teams in Championship history facing off against a team without a win in five, the value lies with the visitors.
Prediction: Leicester Win @ 1.78
Kick Off: 15:00, Saturday
Despite only starting 15 games this season, Jaden Philogene has established himself as one of the best players in the Championship and is imperative to any play-off ambitions Hull have.
Since signing from Aston Villa in the summer, the 22-year-old boasts seven goals and five assists - scoring 0.49 goals per 90. Philogene’s shot volume is impressive, with him recording 4.15 shots per 90, with 1.62 of these on target.
After sustaining an injury in December’s 2-0 defeat to QPR, he made his long awaited return last Saturday against Millwall and it took him just five minutes to return to the scoresheet.
Their visitors are Swansea who have conceded the fifth highest xGa in the league (1.38). Away from home, Luke Williams' side have conceded 29 goals in 15 games. The Swans have also only kept two clean sheets on their travels thus far, conceding 3.29 xG in these games. In Williams' last five games, Swansea have conceded 14 goals.
Prediction: Jaden Philogene to score @ 2.68
Kick Off: 15:00, Saturday
Plagued with financial difficulty and boardroom issues, it has been a turbulent season to say the least for Wigan away from the pitch.
However, one constant that remains for the Latics is their performances on the pitch, with Shaun Maloney’s side sat 13th, despite an eight-point deduction at the start of the season.
Wigan are currently seven points clear of relegation in a tight bottom half and their run of form over the last seven games has given them some breathing space.
In this period, they’ve drawn at Barnsley and Northampton, won at Peterborough and recorded back-to-back home wins against Reading and Wycombe, with their only defeat coming against Stevenage.
Wigan rank fifth for home form and will be looking to win their tenth home game of the season on the weekend.
Making the 243-mile trip to the DW Stadium is an Exeter side sat in 14th, just one point behind Saturday’s hosts. However, Gary Caldwell’s side have played more games than every team below them, so the pressure is on the Grecians – pressure they seem to be dealing with well.
Exeter have only lost once in their last five games, having won away at Bristol Rovers and Barnsley, as well as defeating high-flying Peterborough 2-1.
Away from home, The Grecians rank 14th in the league. However, an alarming stat will be their defensive record, with their games on the road seeing them concede 29 goals – a league high.
Despite the one point difference between the sides, I am siding with Wigan to get another win and move up the table.
Prediction: Wigan win @ 2.04
Kick Off: 15:00
A bottom half of the table clash takes centre stage in Wiltshire as 17th place Swindon host 19th placed Salford at the County Ground.
After sacking Michael Flynn in mid-January, The Robins are yet to appoint a new manager, with Gavin Gunning still in temporary charge.
The 33-year-old started with a win against struggling Bradford, before throwing away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Newport.
Swindon have had an inconsistent season, with their attack shining and defence leaky. Only Colchester (58) and Sutton (59) have conceded more than the Robins this season, while only Stockport, Wrexham, Crewe and Notts County have scored more goals.
The visitors on Saturday are a Salford side three points and two places below Swindon. However, they are unbeaten in the five games since the appointment of Karl Robinson.
In these five games, the Ammies have won away at Crawley and Crewe, as well as dispatching Wrexham. Draws to Forest Green and away at Bradford have made it a happy start for Robinson.
Despite only beating Crawley 1-0, Salford recorded 35 shots with a 3.75 xG – a sign of the improvement Robinson has brought to the club.
Salford were (as usual) one of the pre-season favourites for promotion but their season has flattered to deceive. However, the appointment of Robinson has reinvigorated their season and they are showing signs of a team that could mount a late playoff push. A win against Swindon would boost their chances.
Prediction: Salford to win @ 2.42