After two months of waiting, a myriad of transfer speculation and countless managerial changes, the new EFL Championship season is back.
We begin with a corker as Sunderland play host to Derby County at the Stadium of Light.
Following relegation from the Premier League last term you’d think things can’t get any worse for the Black Cats.
Think again. Their opening day record is dire.
The North East club have only won two games on the opening day in 10 years and have famously not claimed victory in the league before the month of October since the 2012-13 season.
With that in mind we think the 2/1 on offer for Derby to take all three points is an absolute steal.
The Rams are opening day specialists and have only lost once in the season curtain raiser since 2007, so the double chance Derby or Draw at 8/15 is a tempting shout as well.
Similarly Derby/Derby in the Half Time/Full Time market carries sway at 17/4, especially given Sunderland’s propensity for leaking goals.
New Black Cats manager Simon Grayson has brought in a lot of experienced Championship players, but not ones that are likely to get them out of the division.
Last weekend’s 0-5 home friendly defeat at home to Celtic won’t inspire confidence either, and for that reason we like the visitors with a -1 Handicap at 6/1.
The positive news for Sunderland fans is that their record over tonight’s opponents is excellent.
The Mackems haven’t lost to the Midlands outfit in 10 matches and are unbeaten at home to Gary Rowett’s side since a 1-0 defeat at Roker Park in 1990.
If the Wearside club are to claim victory tonight it’s going to be tight, so we fancy the hosts to Win 1-0 at 13/2.
In terms of First Goalscorer, James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban head the betting at 5/1, with Chris Martin best priced for Derby at 11/2.
Further afield Tom Huddlestone looks value at 20s, as does Billy Jones for the hosts at 20/1.
Whatever happens at the Stadium of Light this evening, we’re just glad the football season is finally back.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing