The best bets in English football this weekend – and how to make the most of them
Liverpool's season is in grave danger of fizzling out into nothing, and it's not hard to envisage a points-hungry QPR giving the Reds a real fright on Saturday. Brendan Rodgers' side hold onto fifth place by the skin of their teeth, but they won't be finishing the season there if recent form is anything to go by. Barring the 2-0 win over a hapless Newcastle, Liverpool haven't registered more than a single goal in a game since the beginning of March, while in the same nine-game period (including the FA Cup), they've only scored two first-half goals.
QPR, meanwhile, have only conceded an 88th-minute Cesc Fabregas goal in their last two outings and the R's look a potential route to profit. With a pre-match investment on the draw, we could be in a strong position to clear off with a small profit by the time those boos ring out around Anfield at the break.
In-play advice: Cash out at half-time.
Neither Birmingham nor Bolton have a great deal to play for as the Sky Bet Championship season comes to a close, with the Blues just above mid-table on 60 points and Neil Lennon’s Trotters nine points adrift but 10 clear of the drop.
There’s plenty to suggest that this is going to fit the typical end-of-season mould and, with both teams finishing in patchy form, a low-scoring affair looks in the offing. Birmingham have, however, claimed back-to-back 1-0 victories in recent weeks and are worth supporting to bring up the hat-trick. Gary Rowett’s men have managed to hit the target in six of their last seven games, while Bolton have fallen behind in five of their last six. The home side look far more likely to open the scoring, and if that’s the case then the scenario should arise in which we have the option to get out for a tidy profit before the final whistle.
In-play advice: Cash out at 1-0.
An enthralling Sky Bet Championship campaign comes to an end and one of the two live TV games promises to be an absolute cracker. All eyes will be on Mick McCarthy's Ipswich, who need to avoid defeat in order to guarantee their play-off place, and they have the league's leading marksman in Daryl Murphy in attack. His strike partner Freddie Sears has also made a huge impact since joining the club and together that pair have managed seven goals in their last six games (Sears has netted five of them).
In the other corner, Blackburn boast Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede, who each have 20-plus in all competitions this season. Ipswich have been on the scoresheet within half an hour in their last four matches while Rovers have scored two or more goals in their last four. An early strike should be enough to light the blue touch paper and we may well be in a position to cash out at the break.
In-play advice: Cash out after three goals.
Reading’s season is coming to a juddering halt, and it seems a long time ago since their last win – the FA Cup quarter-final second-leg success over Bradford in the middle of March. They’ve lost all four of their most recent Sky Bet Championship games, including a 2-1 midweek defeat to Rotherham when they scored very late in the day, and Steve McClaren’s Derby look set to head into the play-offs on the back of a comfortable home triumph.
The Rams to run out 4-0 winners looks worth chancing in the correct score market, especially considering the weary-looking Royals haven’t scored a first-half goal in their last seven in all competitions. There may well be an opportunity to cash out midway through the second period, before Reading have chance to claim a consolation.
In-play advice: Cash out at 4-0.