Championship Tips: Top bets for Tuesday's second tier action
After a draw at Bramall Lane on Saturday, Mark Robins Coventry dropped to 5th-place in the Championship table on goal difference, victory this evening could see the Sky Blues rise to 3rd if results elsewhere go their way.
Coventry boast the joint best home record in the Championship, taking 22 points from a possible 27 having only lost once there all season, which explains why they are odds on favourites here. However, I would not be so quick to write off the visitors, especially not at 7/2 given the fact that Lee Bowyers side have won 30% of their games when priced accordingly.
Leigh Doughty has the whistle for this one. Given he has brandished 4.88Y and 0.13R cards per game this season - giving five or more in all bar two of the games he has overseen in the second tier this season - player cards is the play.
My longshot dips into Sky’s televised game; Reading vs Sheffield United. This fixture pits two out of form sides against one another. The Royals find themselves in 20th, having accepted a six-point deduction, they have won two in their last six. Following a draw on Saturday, the visitor slumped to 17th, closer to the drop zone than the play-offs, having won just one of their last six.
In a game with one of the best referees for cards the division has to offer taking charge, I was surprised to see that the most booked player in the division was not the shortest priced for a card.
Coventry midfielder, Gustavo Hamer, has an impressively poor disciplinary record. He has eight bookings to his name, the most in the division, and has the fourth highest fouls per game average (1.90).
With 36Y and 2R cards in a career spanning 141 games, I was expecting Hamer to be priced at around 5/2 here which is why Betfair’s price of 10/3 appeals. It is also worth noting the same bet is as short as 7/4 elsewhere but with a cards per 90 average of 0.35 in the Championship, you can see why they have been so stingy.
I was at Hamer’s most recent appearance vs Sheffield United and saw first hand how cynical and petulant he was, he was carded and committed the most fouls of any player on the pitch (4) despite only lasting an hour.
With a favorable referee I fancy him to add to his tally for the season here as he chases down that cards record, I will be having 2pts on this play.
Riley McGree’s price of 5/1 with Bet365 for a card also seems a touch long as the Australian is never far away from the action. Despite only completing 507 domestic minutes this season, he has scored twice and picked up four bookings!
He made his A-League debut at 16-year-old and went on to make 76 appearances down under, picking up ten bookings. For the Blues, he has made 23 appearances and with five cards, he has a cards per 90 average more than twice as large (0.36).
Granted, it is a small sample size but this average implies that a price of 2/1 would be value and with Paddy Power pricing him as short as 5/4, 365’s 5/1 looks suspiciously long.
This is McGree’s second season in the UK, the majority of his first was played in empty stadiums where he picked up one booking in 15 appearances. This season he has four in eight, all of which coming in his last six games, and you would have to assume this influx is in some way related to the presence of fans.
With this fixture being a bit of a local derby, and McGree playing for the away side, I fancy the emotion of the occasion to get the better of the youngster. I’ll be having two points on this bet as well.
If you fancy something a bit longer you can combine a McGree card with a Danny Drinkwater booking at 41/1 with Bet365.
After years in the cold, Drinkwater has dropped back down to the Championship and has been a bit of a revelation in the Royals engine room. It is easy to forget how influential he was in Leicester's promotion season back in 2013-14. The Foxes went up as champions that year and Drinkwater scored seven and racked up three assists.
He appears to be rediscovering some of that form at the Madejski. He has picked up two cards in his last three appearances though and is posting some astronomical defensive figures completing 14 tackles in that period, five interceptions and five fouls.
With the likes of Morgan Gibbs-White and Iliman Ndiaye opportating inbetween the lines for the Blades, I expect Drinkwater to be busy this evening which is why his price for a card appeals.
Best of luck if you are backing any of these selections and please remember to gamble responsibly.
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