A struggling Sheffield Wednesday side welcome Yorkshire rivals Leeds United to Hillsborough this Friday looking for their first win in nine games to move them out of the relegation zone.
After two seasons in the third tier of English football, Wednesday returned to the Championship in August, depriving Sheffield United in the process, but Dave Jones and his players would have hoped to be better placed than 22nd with nearly a quarter of the season gone.
Things seemed rosy at the start of the season for the Owls as they recorded a draw and two wins in their first three games, but they have only managed to secure one point throughout September and October, which perhaps makes it a little surprising that they are rated as 13/10 favourites in bwin’s 3-way betting market for Friday night’s clash.
Leeds are slightly longer priced at 2/1 and with the draw at 11/5, the odds reflect the fact that form tends to be forgotten in derby games as emotions and rivalries take over both players and fans.
If that old adage is true then it is good news for Wednesday, as their recent record against Leeds at Hillsborough is awful to say the least. In the past nine meetings between the two sides at the famous old ground, the home side have only managed to win twice and have conceded 24 goals in the process.
Also counting against the Owls this weekend is the form of Leeds, who are looking to extend a five-game unbeaten run that has moved them into top-six contention, this after a three-game spell at the start of September that saw them pick up just a solitary point.
Neil Warnock’s side appear to have shaken off the departure of key players such as Robert Snodgrass and Adam Clayton in the summer and at 7/2 are genuine promotion candidates.
Key to their fine form of late has been their impressive first-half performances, which statistically have been the second best in the division and most importantly for the upcoming match, far better than Wednesday’s.
The Owls have only been ahead at half-time in one match and have a -6 goal difference for the opening 45 minutes, which suggests that 11/10 on Leeds to score the first goal could see a return on your money, as could 12/5 on the Whites being ahead by the time the half-time oranges are passed around.
New customers can claim a free £20 bet when registering with bwin and placing this on Leeds to be winning at half-time would return £68 if successful.
If you don’t fancy betting on a Leeds triumph, there are still some great odds to be had, such as 8/5 on the match containing over 3.5 goals, which almost half of Wednesday’s and Leeds’ games this season have done.
Along a similar theme, six of the last seven encounters between the sides have seen the winning team emerge with a clean sheet, so 15/4 on Sheffield Wednesday winning 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 or 21/4 on Leeds doing likewise could both attract some interest.
But regardless of the final scoreline, the best value looks to be on Leeds scoring the opening goal and being ahead at half-time and that’s where my money will be going.