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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bookies Corner: Sheffield United v Bristol City

Last season, easyodds.com tipster and lifelong Bristol City fan Ross Casey started his column the Bookies Corner on this blog. He finished in profit after tipping five correct tips in the final nine games of the season.

He returns here ahead of the new season as we kick-off against League One favourites Sheffield United.

Remember that if you can’t make the trip to Yorkshire, that the match is LIVE on Sky Sports this Saturday at midday. Read below for Ross’ full betting preview…

There are parallels between the two sides in this opening day clash after seasons of two halves for both Bristol City and the Blades. Nigel Clough took over the helm at Sheffield United with little expected of the rest of the term after such a poor start to their campaign but he really turned them around finishing just one place behind the play-offs and even managing to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Whilst Robins fans could only dream of such a cup run, Steve Cotterill undoubtedly was the reason for the upward trajectory of our season after his arrival. A top half finish was accomplished after his arrival and there is now optimism for the new season with many fans expecting at least a play-off push.

This is a cracker of an opening fixture and will be a real test for the new look Robins squad Sheffield United are clear favourites to win League One and have a best price of 11/2. Bristol City have been made joint second favourites with a best price of 17/2 alongside Simon Grayson’s Preston North End.

MATCH ODDS:
SHEFF UTD – 21/20 (Coral)
DRAW – 5/2 (Boylesports)
BRISTOL CITY – 333/100 (MarathonBet)

SHEFFIELD UNITED:
As previously mentioned the Blades are favourites to win the league this year with Nigel Clough in charge and their excellent finish to last season. They lost just three of their last 22 matches last year and despite losing the likes of John Brayford and Conor Coady from last season’s squad – they have invested heavily and have brought in plenty of new faces.

Walsall captain Andy Butler has been brought in to run the backline alongside Neill Collins in the absence of Harry Maguire after the young talent joined Hull somewhat controversially. Ben Davies, Craig Alcock, Michael Higdon and former Robin Jamal Campbell-Ryce are all good additions at this level and they should be in the promotion hunt all season long.

The signing of Michael Higdon from NEC Nijmegen in Holland seems particularly astute. The burly striker has scored goals for fun in Scotland and now Holland at a very good record and now he is in the best place to score goals in League One. The bookies make him favourite to score at 2/1.

Their pre-season form was decent – including a historic win over Turkish champions Fenerbahce at Bramall Lane. Their home form was magnificent come the end with just one loss in their last 17 matches. If Bristol City are to beat them on their own patch, that would be some statement to the rest of the league.

BRISTOL CITY:
Bristol City look destined for a successful campaign following an excellent transfer window which has seen them bring in some very accomplished League One players and hold on to both Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Sam Baldock (for now).

Baldock finished top scorer in League One last season and has looked sharp in pre-season too. The former MK Dons and West Ham striker is 15/8 to score here – one of the few grounds he failed to net at last season!

A great team bonding pre-season tour of Botswana which included a 1-0 win over the national team has meant the squad have clicked both on and off the pitch and the final pre-season game ended in a decisive 4-1 win over Cheltenham Town.

Confidence and expectation is high, pus the Robins will be running out in the infamous purple and lime at Bramall Lane – City fans rejoice!

However – in the next section you may want to look away!!!

HEAD TO HEADS:
Unlike their city rivals Wednesday, where  City have recorded some great wins – including a televised 1-0 victory a few years ago thanks to a great Brian Wilson strike, Bramall Lane is NOT a happy hunting ground for the Robins.

They haven't won at Bramall Lane in 18 attempts, LOSING nine on the trot! This run means we have not won on this ground since 1957. City have conceded goals at an alarming rate there too – letting in TWENTY NINE in their last nine visits.

The last time we met we were rolled over 3-0 in February – a performance that Steve Cotterill described as the worst in his time at the club.

Perhaps little surprise we are a best price of over 3/1 to end this embarrassing history of losses and routs.

MY RECOMMENDED BET:
Bristol City draw no bet @ 41/20 – BET NOW
Yes Bristol City have a horrible record at Bramall Lane but confidence should be high coming into this game, plus the Blades are in a bit of a transition from their excellent side last year – so I think facing them now is the best time to play them. This bet means you will get the over double your money for a Robins win – plus the safety net of your stake back for a draw. Considering we drew 19 games last season I like those odds. Only a United win will mean we are in the red. C’mon the Purple and Limes!

*All prices supplied by www.easyodds.com and prices all correct as of Thu 7th August 2014*

The Exiled Robin

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