Two promotion hopefuls clash at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday, still looking for their first league win of the season, host Sunderland in the English Championship
After reaching the play-offs last season, great things were expected of Sheffield Wednesday this season. However, their campaign hasn’t begun the way they would have hoped. An extremely poor performance saw them lose 1-0 away to Preston North End on the opening day. They did pick up a 4-1 win over Chesterfield in the EFL Cup but that was followed by another below-par performance in the league, with a 1-1 draw the result of their first home league game against Queens Park Rangers. Everyone at the club will know they need to up their game considerably if they are to have any hope of challenging for a top-six place again. Although at this early stage of the season, one victory can turn things around.
Sunderland knew they faced a tough challenge in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League. However, they seem to have adjusted to life back in the second tier, for the first time in ten years, relatively quickly. A draw at home to Derby County in their opening game showed just how tough this division would be, but it was a hard-earned point by a team which has had a complete summer overhaul.
In their second league match of the campaign, Sunderland showed they are a force to be reckoned with by winning 3-1 away at Norwich City. Norwich had been tipped as title contenders but Sunderland outplayed them in every department and picked up a well-deserved victory. They will hope to extend their unbeaten run and send a signal to their rivals that they are determined to bounce straight back up to the top flight.
Recent League Form (most recent first)
Sheffield Weds – DL
Sunderland – WD
Head to Head
These sides have met 84 times, since the first back in 1901, and there isn’t much to choose between them. Sheffield Wednesday have a narrow advantage with 34 victories, whilst Sunderland have 30 wins, and there have been 20 draws. Despite having a narrow advantage overall, Sheffield Wednesday have struggled in more recent meetings.
Sunderland have won the last four meetings, stretching back to September 1999, and Wednesday have failed to score in three of those. The most recent meeting was more than ten years ago, in January 2007, when Sunderland won 4-2 at Hillsborough.
Betting Odds and Predictions
This is a tough match to call and the betting odds predict a close game. Ladbrokes have Sheffield Wednesday as 11/10 favourites, due mainly to home advantage rather than form in our opinion. Sunderland are a good-value 13/5, and the draw is priced at 11/5.
Sunderland were at odds of over 3/1 with most bookmakers in their last match at Norwich and won convincingly. It seems that most people are underestimating them this season, and it could be costly for the bookies if they continue to play like they did last time out.
Because of Sheffield Wednesday’s poor start to the campaign, and Sunderland currently being unbeaten, we cannot recommend backing the home side. The best we think they can hope for is a draw, so we would seriously consider backing Sunderland or Draw in the ‘Double Chance’ market at odds of 7/10.
One thing we are more confident on is this being a low-scoring game. Sunderland may have scored three at Norwich at the weekend but only scored one in their opening game and in the cup fixture against Bury. Sheffield Wednesday have only scored a total of one in their two league games.
Because of this, we think backing Under 2.5 Goals could be a good bet at odds of 4/6. Under 3.5 Goals is even more likely, and could provide a small profit at odds of 2/9. Even though we believe this game will be low-scoring, it may still be worth a punt on Lewis Grabban to find the net. He has scored three goals in the opening two league games, and an own-goal at Norwich. Grabban is priced at 6/1 to score the first goal, and 23/10 to score anytime. That second option looks too good to turn down at odds greater than 2/1.
Top Betting Tip
Because of fantastic looking odds, and his current goal scoring form, our top betting tip is Lewis Grabban to score anytime at odds of 23/10 with Ladbrokes.