EFL TIPS: With the new EFL season now underway and the second round of fixtures just around the corner, we’ve taken a look at the best bets from the key fixtures across the Championship, League One and League Two this weekend.
Norwich v Wigan – Saturday, 12.30 BST
While it’s of course helpful to study last week’s opening round of Championship results to give you some idea of form going into this weekend, you can ignore them when approaching this fixture. While perennial yo-yo club Norwich are among the favourites to go straight back up to the Premier League this season, their campaign got off to a bad start last week with a disappointing opening-day defeat to Cardiff in which they were unable to convert their chances in a 1-0 reverse. Meanwhile, Wigan, a side tipped by many to go straight back down to League One this season, surprisingly looked a real threat as they drew 0-0 with Preston. You can, however, expect the natural order to be restored at Carrow Road on Saturday and favourites Norwich to record a routine home win against underdogs Wigan. The Canaries can be backed at 1.7.
Burnley v Luton – Saturday, 15:00 BST
After the disappointment of dropping out of the Premier League after six seasons, there’s an air of excitement back at Burnley following the appointment of Vincent Kompany. The arrival of the former Manchester City captain signalled a new direction for the club following the more direct and rough-and-ready approach of Sean Dyche – and this transformation was made abundantly clear during Burnley’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield in their season opener last week. The Clarets played a brand of football that was quicker on the deck and easier on the eye for their supporters, and so Kompany and Co. will be keen to build on that performance, and result, with victory at home to Luton on Saturday. Luton picked up a decent point at home to Birmingham last week, but a trip to Turf Moor is a challenge for any team – just ask the Premier League’s big boys. The sensible bet for this one is backing Burnley at 1.81.
Charlton v Derby – Saturday, 15:00 BST
Last season was one to forget for Derby fans as they saw their side relegated from the Championship, but only after being docked 21 points for entering administration and breaching profit and sustainability rules. But a new season brings with it a new start and some fresh hope under interim boss Liam Rosenior, and after a 1-0 opening-day victory against Oxford last week, Rams fans can be forgiven for dreaming of an immediate return to England’s second tier. A tougher proposition awaits this weekend, though, with a trip to The Valley to face Charlton, who will have their own aspirations of at least reaching the play-offs this term. The Addicks will have to improve upon their 2-2 draw to Accrington Stanley, though, in which they were guilty of conceding a 96th minute equaliser. But both teams will be up for it, that’s for sure, and there may only be one winner, so it could be wise to lay the draw at 3.35.
Stevenage v Stockport – Saturday, 15:00 BST
After an 11-year hiatus from the English Football League, Stockport are finally back this season, having lifted the National League title last term. Remarkably, after a summer of big spending, including signing promotion rivals Northampton’s captain Fraser Horsfall, they are now one of the favourites to win League One. Their plan for back-to-back promotions didn’t get off to the greatest of starts last week, however, as they slipped to a 3-2 loss to Barrow, having gone down 3-0 in just over half an hour. They did show some character after half-time as they fought back with two goals, and you’d suspect Dave Challinor’s side will be eager to make amends against Stevenage this weekend and may take something at least from their second-half display. Saturday’s away trip will be no easy task for Stockport against a side who saw off Tranmere 2-1 in their opener. But backing Stockport at 2.98 could still be the way go.