(Pavel Pogrebnyak will look to strike early for Fulham)
It seems to be becoming a weekly occurrence for us but we're yet again going to be opposing Wolverhampton Wanderers, this week the league's joint worst road defence face a Fulham side at Craven Cottage who have the most goals at home outside of the league's top 5. Fulham faced a challenging start to their season & took until their 7th game to register a win but they've been pretty good of late with just 2 losses from their last 9 league games & the 3 home defeats have come against good sides in Everton, Spurs & Man United & they've registered wins against much better sides than Wolves here including Arsenal, Liverpool & Newcastle. Wolves showed great resolve last week by coming back from 2-0 down against Newcastle to get a draw showing why they're the team with most points from losing positions but that stat tells a story as they are so often slow starters & that includes them scoring the least goals of any side in the opening 15 minutes of games. Caretaker boss Terry Connor looks to have a full squad to pick from apart from summer signing Jamie O'Hara but there is an inherent lack of quality at the back & in midfield that their decent strikeforce that includes Kevin Doyle & top scorer Steven Fletcher just can't make up for. Wolves have only won once in their last 12 & that run of results was inevitably going to lead to McCarthy's departure, it's difficult to see them improving on that here. This is just the type of game Fulham's players will enjoy & new signing Mahamadou Diarra could make his first start, he's got real quality & if he gets back to close to his best will prove invaluable, their other new signing Pavel Pogrebnyak has hit the ground running opening the scoring in the last two & could do again, he's on offer at 11/2 to do just that. Fulham's attacking threat is right across the midfield & forward line with their '3-D' attack of Duff, Dempsey & Dembele all able to help create & put away plenty of chances, we fancy them to beat Wolves by at least 2 clear goals & Fulham can be backed with a -1 goal start at odds of 7/4 with Stan James.
(Lee Cattermole & Kevin Nolan could be the key to our second bet)
Looking at the other games today it's difficult to see any real value in the outright result prices but we think we've come up with an interesting double that doesn't require anyone being better than anyone else but would provide a very tidy payout. West Ham have the Championship's best away record but they have picked up 5 red cards in the league & Sam Allardyce doesn't appear to want them to curb that aggressive instinct at all. Cardiff haven't seen a red all season but the atmosphere should be red hot inside their stadium with this being such a big game & following on from their Wembley trip, in these kind of conditions tempers can flare & wild tackles can fly in & odds of 11/2 about a sending off look fair. We want to stick that bet in with a sending off in the Newcastle United v Sunderland derby where odds of 3/1 are available, neither side have had too many reds (Newcastle 2 & Sunderland 1) this season but you've always got a good chance of one with Lee Cattermole playing & this should be a real battle as it is every time these two teams meet. By putting these two bets together you can get odds of 25/1 with William Hill & it gives an interest plus a decent chance of a big payout off of small stakes.
Fulham to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers with -1 goal start at 7/4 (Stan James)
Pavel Pogrebnyak to score first at 11/2 (BetVictor & Coral)
Double up a sending off in Cardiff v West Ham & Newcastle United v Sunderland at 25/1 (William Hill)