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Aston Villa to strengthen promotion charge? Get Championship Tips

Ben Darvill 15 Apr 2019
Tammy Abraham (credit:Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Can Swansea keep their slim playoff hopes alive, will Aston Villa continue their awesome run, and can Middlesbrough see off Stoke? Read on for our three best bets for the games in the Championship this week. 

Swansea vs Rotherham (Friday, 15:00 BST)

Swansea took a real body-blow in their last match as their slim playoff hopes were hindered on their visit to London. A 4-0 hammering at the hands of QPR at Loftus Road was ultimately sealed inside the first 20 minutes as QPR went 3-0 up, and the Welsh side had no answer at all, with the Swans easily brushed aside as, despite the away side enjoying a massive 72% of the ball, they only had one shot on target in the whole game. The loss means the Swans sit in 13th in the league with 56 points from their 41 games, meaning they are nine short of Bristol City in sixth with only five games of the season left to go. Rotherham meanwhile arrive in real trouble, with the side in 22nd in the league with 40 points after a torrid campaign. Eight wins, 16 draws and 18 losses means they are two points short of Wigan in 21st, with relegation a real possibility for the side if they cannot find points from somewhere. While the Swans will still be reeling from their hammering at the hands of QPR, we think that they will return to form at the Liberty Stadium. 

11 wins in 20 home games for the Swans along with four draws and five losses is a very impressive record, while this is a huge contrast to Rotherham’s one win on the road, while they have drawn eight and lost 12 matches in this time. Indeed, Swansea have won their last five home games in a row, while they have not lost a home game in their last eight. Rotherham on the other hand may have drawn their last away match with Stoke, but prior to this they have really struggled. With this in mind, we think the Swans will clinch another huge win that will help to enhance their slim playoff hopes. To add value to this bet, we are recommending backing this game to see over 2.5 goals which we are confident about considering the Swans have seen this in their last six games in a row, while the visitors have seen the same in their last six games too. 

Bolton vs Aston Villa (Friday, 15:00 BST)

Bolton are all but relegated from the Championship after yet another loss that saw the gap between themselves and safety stretch to a massive 10 points with only 12 points left to pick up. 42 games have resulted in eight wins, eight draws and 26 defeats, while the 29 goals scored and 72 conceded is simply not good enough. Their last game saw the side fall to a crushing 4-0 loss to Derby, with Bolton having to endure a blitz from their hosts as they scored three goals in the space of 18 minutes. The loss only intensified the pressure on the side, and with their desperation for points not sated last time out, they will now likely be relegated in this round of games. Visitors Aston Villa arrive in superb form, with the side flying up the table. 18 wins and 15 draws in 42 games has seen the outfit pick up 69 points as they have capitalised on the profligacy of those around them to take up residence in a playoff spot. Their last game ended in an impressive 2-1 win over Bristol City which helped them open up a four point lead over their vanquished opponents and, with five points between themselves and Middlesbrough in seventh, Villa have almost secured their place in the playoffs.

Bolton have not been good enough this season and this has stemmed from their awful home form, with the side unable to build a base and pick up valuable wins in front of their own fans, with four wins, four draws and 13 defeats at home simply not good enough. Villa on the other hand have won eight on the road to go with their seven draws and six defeats, while they have won their last four matches on the road, which has helped their current run, which sees them boast an eight game winning streak. Bolton meanwhile have lost their last three, while they have lost five and won one of their last six matches as their woeful run continues. With this in mind, we cannot look to back Bolton, and we instead think that Villa will pick up all three points in a game that will see goals. 77 goals scored for Villa is a huge total, while Bolton have conceded a massive 72 times already, and with Villa seeing more than 2.5 goals in their last six games in a row along with Bolton seeing this in four of their last five, we think Villa will be able to flex their scoring muscles. 

Middlesbrough vs Stoke (Friday, 15:00 BST)

Middlesbrough’s season threatened to be one in which the wheels completely came off, with the side in free fall at the most vital stage of the campaign. However, some quick mechanical work has seen the side pick up two wins in their last two to edge to within a point of the playoff places, meaning that a Premier League berth for next year could still be on the cards. 17 wins, 13 draws and 12 losses in 42 means Middlesbrough have picked up 64 points, and while they are very close to the playoff spots, they must be aware of the cluster of teams just below them, with dropped points likely to prove very costly. Stoke meanwhile have been incredibly disappointing this season, with a side that was earmarked as a potential promotion-candidate in awful form. 11 wins and 12 losses have come along with a massive 19 draws, with the 52 points they have picked up seeing the side languish 34 points off Norwich at the top, and 13 short of Bristol City in sixth. Now, attention will turn to next season, and they will want to finish this campaign with as many wins as possible to swell their points tally. 

Middlesbrough have looked fairly good at home this year, winning eight, drawing six and losing seven, while their last match at home saw the side beat Hull City 1-0 in a performance that they desperately needed. Stoke on the other hand come into this one on the back of a 2-2 draw with Rotherham which was their seventh home tie, while they arrive with an awful away record that sees them with three wins, six losses, and a huge 12 draws. In this one, we would be more likely to back the home side considering their two wins in a row, but neither of the two are particularly prolific going forward, and their propensity to draw has us instead backing a stalemate between the two. Indeed, the last match between the pair ended in a dull 0-0 draw back in November, and we are backing this to happen again. 

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