Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
The opening weekend of EFL action includes a big clash on Saturday evening, as two promotion hopefuls go head-to-head. While both of these sides missed out on the playoffs last term, they showed enough to suggest they’ll compete this term.
Middlesbrough finished seventh after Chris Wilder turned their season around, while Steve Bruce came in at West Brom after they slid out of promotion contention.
Ahead of this huge early clash, we’ve put together a bet builder tip after running through all the key numbers from last season. See our fourfold below, which clocks in at a huge 112/1!
Middlesbrough vs West Brom Bet Builder cheat sheet
Middlesbrough vs West Brom Bet Builder
Matt Crooks to score
The biggest issue for Middlesbrough’s promotion hopes this term has always been seen as their forward line, something they’re in the process of fixing. New signing Marcus Forss looks like a great addition, but he’s arrived too late to start this weekend.
With no standout striker last term Boro had to rely on Matt Crooks for their goals and the midfielder ended up being their top scorer. He’s going to be key early on as they bed in younger players and new signings up front, so back Crooks to take the early goalscoring responsibility.
John Swift 1+ shot on target
Swift is a great signing for West Brom following a great year at Reading. The attacking midfielder should look to get forward for the Baggies after scoring 11 times last season and he averaged 0.8 shots on target per 90 minutes for the Royals last term.
Expect him to get more opportunities at a stronger side and his Championship experience should see him hit the ground running. Given that, look to Swift to have at least one shot on target at the Riverside.
Jones & Molumby to be carded
Jayson Molumby picked up 10 bookings for West Brom last season and a red card, with six of his yellows coming on the road. The midfielder only made 17 starts so his time on the pitch was limited, but he still made an impression on Championship referees. Back him for another card in the opener.
Isiah Jones had a great season last time out, he was a big part of the reason that Boro didn’t need Djed Spence. The right-back offers a lot going forward, but he’s had his fair share of cautions. The defender picked up 11 yellows last season and at 5/1 for a booking in the opener he’s a brilliant bet for a card.
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