Betting: The bankers and bold bets in this weekend’s fixtures

Bournemouth v Middlesbrough

Enjoying a three-point cushion over those below them, Eddie Howe’s side head into Saturday’s match knowing that a win would see them move up to second at their visitor’s expense.

That may be easier said than done however. Aitor Karanka’s side have comfortably beaten fellow promotion hopefuls Ipswich and Derby and the 13/5 available on a Boro win here deserves consideration.

Bournemouth are no slouches at home though – as the 6/5 on offer for a home win suggests.

Watford v Ipswich

Once seen as outsiders in the race for promotion, Watford are now sitting pretty atop of the Championship thanks to their slightly better goal ratio.

Tied on 72 points with second-placed Boro, Salvisa Jokanovic’s side have won five of their last six games and arrive as the more in-form team of the two given Ipswich’s wobbles of late.

With only one win from their last five games, Ipswich know they need to improve if they are to maintain their push for play-off action. This then looks like a ‘must win’ for both sides with the hosts favourites at 29/25.

Barnsley v Preston

Trying to keep pace with those around them, Barnsley welcome a high-flying Preston side to Oakwell on Saturday.

Preston arrive 11 points behind runaway leaders Bristol, only two clear of Swindon in third, and know that only a win here will do if they are to maintain their grasp on an automatic promotion spot.

Both teams are in form too, with six wins apiece from their last seven games, but the odds suggest Preston will get the job done here at 49/50 in comparison to the 16/5 on offer for a home win. One goal was all that separated them when they last met and under 2.0 total goals here is a tempting 31/20.

MK Dons v Notts County

Relatively assured of play-off football, MK Dons will have to ensure they don’t take their foot off the pedal when they face Notts County on Saturday.

The Magpies are enduring a tough time of things at the minute though (they’ve won only one of their last seven games) and are in a precarious position just above the relegation zone – a position that will worsen dramatically should Crawley and Crewe win.

However, a home win here looks par for the course (8/15) and could well come about courtesy of a convincing result. The Dons to win by three is 33/5 and, given that only three teams have scored fewer times than the visitors, a win to nil is a plausible 81/50.

Shrewsbury v Oxford

Shrewsbury will look to put some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack – provided results go their way – when they welcome an Oxford side still staving off the threat of relegation on Saturday.

With only one win from their last three games it’s safe to say that neither side is in sparkling form here, despite their respective positions in the table.

However, anything other than a home win seems unlikely and, in addition to being 33/50 to secure the three points, Shrewsbury are 79/50 to win both halves and 33/20 to win with over 2.5 goals.

AFC Wimbledon v Portsmouth

Far from a battle of two teams in form, Portsmouth’s trip to the Kingsmeadow Stadium should see two teams go at it given their respective standings in the league.

Tied on 49 points and sitting in mid-table the two are same from relegation and appear unlikely of sneaking into play-off contention.

This then seems like a game where they could both throw caution to the wind in an effort to distance themselves from each other – an eventuality that sees them both priced at 7/4 to secure the three points.

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