Sheffield United will need to start this campaign better than the last if they are to haul themselves out of the third tier of English football. Seven defeats in their first nine left the Yorkshire club with far too much to do, culminating in them just missing out on the play-offs.
Bristol City are the first visitors to Bramall Lane this time round, and it could be another slow start for Nigel Clough’s men.
The Robins themselves were victims of their own sluggish start 12 months ago as well, taking until October 26 to get a win on the board, before a steady second half of the season saw them finish in mid-table.
Priced up at 11/4 to secure three points first time out, City will be of appeal to many, while the draw can be backed at 12/5, with the Blades the even money favourites.
There are however, three bets that stand out ahead of the League One opener.
Looking at last year’s results between these two, it might seem like an odd tip, with United running out 3-0 and 1-0 winners in the pair of meetings.
But Steve Cotterill has been a busy man in the close season and has bolstered his ranks admirably. The permanent signings of Wade Elliot, Yeovil’s Luke Ayling and the experienced duo of Nyron Nosworthy and Aaron Wilbraham, will surely aid their cause this time round.
Throw in that City were partial to sharing the spoils last season, 34% of their matches were score draws, and this looks a good price.
Sheffield United did keep cleans sheets in half of their home games last campaign, but the powerhouse attack that City posses could see them become the first side to challenge that statistic.
The visitors though, while effective going forward, are more than capable of shipping the odd goal or two themselves. A whopping 80% of their league games in 2013/14 saw both teams find the net.
The former West Ham man netted 24 times last season, claiming the League One top goalscorer accolade in the process.
And the arrival of Wilbraham at Ashton Gate could see the 25-year-old get even more this time round.
The duo were a tricky strike-force for six years at MK Dons, and with the big man in tow, Baldock is sure to be presented with plenty of opportunities.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publishing
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