Football betting previews and odds: Tues 20 Mar

Blackburn Rovers have a chance to move six points clear of the relegation zone on Tuesday night and the home supporters might not be protesting against Steve Kean too much if that happens

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland latest odds and free bets

Blackburn Rovers have a chance to move six points clear of the relegation zone on Tuesday night and the home supporters might not be protesting against Steve Kean too much if that happens.

The Scot has been on the receiving end of some horrible criticism this season, although he has maintained his dignity and Rovers don’t look like a team that are heading for the Championship, especially with Wolves and Wigan struggling for form.

Perhaps Blackburn are playing Sunderland at a good time, with Martin O’Neill’s side still missing Lee Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon after their derby red cards. The home side can be backed at 6/4 (Paddy Power free bets) to claim the three points and give themselves some much-needed breathing space.

The Black Cats might be a little weary after working their socks off at Goodison Park on Saturday and earning a replay at the Stadium of Light by drawing 1-1 with Everton. The FA Cup might also become a focal point based on the fact the Wearside club are comfortably placed in the Premier League.

Sunderland are a 2/1 chance (Bet Victor) to win at Ewood Park and climb to 8th place, with the visitors having already managed four away victories this season and they have a couple of sharp shooters operating in attack for them.

Nicklas Bendtner has scored twice in his last three games and the Dane can be backed at 7/1 (Stan James £150 free bets) to break the deadlock in this match, while Fraizer Campbell also gave the Everton defence a tough time and the England hopeful is available at the same price.

Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett was the main man at Molineux last weekend when bagging a brace to elevate Rovers away from the drop zone and the talented winger can be backed at a tasty 9/1 to score the first goal in this game.

Championship betting previews

There are nine Championship games scheduled for Tuesday 20 March and West Ham have an important match with Middlesbrough, while leaders Southampton face a tricky trip to the KC Stadium when they take on Hull City.

West Ham v Middlesbrough

West Ham have been occupying a top two spot in the Championship for most of the season, although Reading’s amazing run means that the Hammers sit third in the table as the campaign draws to a close.

Sam Allardyce’s team do have a game in hand on Southampton and the Royals, although they can ill-afford any further slip-ups if they are to land automatic promotion this term, with the club having invested heavily in new players this season with the express intention of reaching the Premier League.

It has been the home form at Upton Park which has let West Ham down, with just as many draws and defeats (9) as home wins. That hasn’t stopped the bookies from making them strong favourites to win Tuesday’s game and the best odds about a home win are 5/6 (Bet Victor free bets)

Middlesbrough are 6th in the Championship table although successive defeats against Leeds and Birmingham means that they will almost certainly drop out of the play-off positions if they are beaten in this match, although manager Tony Mowbray will be fully aware that the pressure is on the team’s opponents.

We shouldn’t forget that Boro have won nine times on the road this term including recent victories at Millwall and Portsmouth, with Coral quoting 7/2 that the Teeside club heap further pressure on West Ham by coming away with victory in this clash.

Hull City v Southampton

Southampton’s mini-blip is well and truly over, with the Saints having won five of their last six games to get back into pole position as far as promotion from the Championship is concerned.

Nigel Adkins’ team did wobble during January and February, although they are firmly back on track when it comes to reaching the Premier League, having come from behind to win 3-2 at Millwall on Saturday thanks to two late Rickie Lambert penalties.

Southampton now have a tricky trip to the KC Stadium and the bookies make them slight favourites to claim all three points, with a best price of 6/4 (bet365 £200 free bets) available about the visitors.

Mr Lambert just can’t stop scoring goals at the moment and he can be backed at 5/1 (Bet Victor) to score the first of the match having snared a hat-trick at The Den to delight the visiting supporters.

Hull City are just outside the play-off places and the Tigers are actually unbeaten in their last nine matches, although an incredible seven of these have finished all square which will be a source of frustration to manager Nick Barmby.

However, Hull have taken four points from recent trips to Cardiff and Crystal Palace, with the bookies perhaps overpricing them at 2/1 (Ladbrokes) on the basis that Millwall were close to beating the Saints last weekend.

Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

Portsmouth going into administration has certainly eased the relegation fears at the City Ground, with the Tricky Trees four points clear of the drop zone with a game in hand, although it has been a truly miserable season for Nottingham Forest.

The summer can’t come quickly enough, with the Midlands club needing to take stock after the tragic death of owner Nigel Doughty and it’s a simple case of ensuring that Forest are still a Championship club at all costs.

Recent form has been reasonable, with wins against Coventry, Birmingham and Millwall helping them get some breathing space above the bottom three, although morale will be low after last week’s derby defeat at Pride Park.

A trip to Elland Road looks tough although the bookies give the visitors a fighting chance at odds of 10/3 (Ladbrokes), with Forest recently becoming the first team to win at St Andrews.

Even so, Leeds are starting to show signs of improvement under new manager Neil Warnock as they attempt to squeak into the play-offs at the end of the season. United were a whisker away from beating West Ham on Saturday following a first win for Warnock at the Riverside the previous weekend.

Paddy Power and bet365 are offering 10/11 about a home win and a repeat of that performance against the Hammers should be enough for Leeds to continue marching on together, with goals expected from this encounter.

Luciano Becchio has scored in his last two matches and can be backed at 5/1 (Sky Bet bookmaker) to break the deadlock and send Leeds on the way to victory. 

Peterborough United v Reading

Reading suffered five consecutive defeats during the months of August and September, although there is no stopping the Royals at the moment, who are enjoying a sensational run of form which has seen them win nine of their last ten matches.

Brian McDermott’s team saw their winning run of eight games end on Tuesday at Doncaster, although they swiftly made amends by thrashing Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday. It’s little surprise that they are favourites to win at London Road on Tuesday.

Reading can be backed at even money (Paddy Power free bets) to beat Peterborough and Paddy are the only firm to not go odds-on about a side that have recently changed owners and look destined to be playing Premier League football again.

On paper, the team have no right to be in the top two although the loan signing of Jason Roberts appears to have been an astute one and the on-loan Blackburn man is 5/1 (bet365 £200 free bets) to score the first goal of this game, having scored six since arriving at the Madejski Stadium.

Peterborough United will be delighted with their campaign to date and probably need just two more wins to ensure they are in the Championship next season. Darren Ferguson’s team won their last home match by a 3-1 scoreline against Blackpool and they are 10/3 (William Hill) to put a dent in Reading’s promotion band wagon.

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