David Prutton’s Sky Bet EFL opening weekend predictions

The Sky Bet EFL is back! And with it comes the return of David Prutton and his weekly predictions for the Championship, League One and League Two.

But who is our expert tipping ahead of the first weekend of the season? Read on to find out…

Reading v Derby, Friday 8pm – Live on Sky Sports Football

The new season is upon us and what a start it promises to be at the Madejski Stadium on Friday night! Where Frank Lampard’s first foray into management starts with a trip to Reading.

Derby came close to the play-off final last season but the change in management means there shouldn’t be too much of a hangover there, while surely the only way is up for Reading after such a poor campaign. That being said, I reckon that Lampard will kick things off with a win.

Prutton predicts: 0-2 with Jack Marriott to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)

Reading vs Derby

August 3, 2018, 7:00pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Sunderland v Charlton, Saturday 12.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football

It’s been a dismal couple of years for Sunderland, it’s as simple as that. They now find themselves in League One and that will really sink in on Saturday.

Charlton just fell short in the play-offs last season and there’s still some uncertainty at the club with Lee Bowyer still being left in caretaker charge. However, I think the Addicks could go to the Stadium of Light and nick this one.

Prutton predicts: 0-1 with Lyle Taylor to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)

S’land vs Charlton

August 4, 2018, 12:00pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Sheffield United v Swansea, Saturday 5.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football

It’s been seven years since these two clubs last met! It was a final-day Championship meeting in 2010/11 which Swansea won 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium. They would go on to secure promotion through the play-offs while the Blades had already been relegated to League One.

Sheffield United will be fine under Chris Wilder but Swansea’s fortunes are a little less clear. Their squad isn’t as strong as the other relegated clubs and this is a little bit of a leap into the unknown for their new manager Graham Potter. Three points to the Blades.

Prutton predicts: 2-0 with Leon Clarke to score first (28/1 with Sky Bet)

Sheff Utd vs Swansea

August 4, 2018, 5:15pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Leeds v Stoke, Sunday 4.30pm – Live on Sky Sports Football

Marcelo Bielsa’s move to Leeds is yet more proof that the Championship is transforming into one of the most desirable leagues in the world to manage in! Win, lose or draw, there’s no doubt that it will be a fascinating season at Elland Road.

Stoke are the best-placed of all the relegated clubs to go straight back up with arguably the strongest squad in the league, and this really is Gary Rowett’s moment to shine. This could be a great game with plenty of goals, and I fancy Leeds to edge it.

Prutton predicts: 3-2 with Barry Douglas to score first (325/1 with Sky Bet)

Leeds vs Stoke

August 5, 2018, 3:30pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Hull v Aston Villa, Monday 7.45pm – Live on Sky Sports Football

What will the atmosphere be like at Aston Villa after that play-off final defeat? Their problems off the pitch, at least in the short term, appear to have been sorted out, but there is still work to do. Holding on to Jack Grealish would be a huge boost for them.

Hull have lost most of their first-team squad from last season and they’ve not yet been replaced. This could be a really difficult season for the Tigers. Away win.

Prutton predicts: 1-2 with Jonathan Kodjia to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)

Hull City vs A Villa

August 6, 2018, 7:00pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Birmingham v Norwich, Saturday 3pm

Two sides meet at St Andrew’s and both will be hoping for far better this campaign. Birmingham just about stayed up last season while Daniel Farke will know he needs more than just a mid-table finish with Norwich.

Birmingham haven’t been able to bring anyone in and Norwich have suffered a big loss with the departure of James Maddison. This has the feeling of an opening-day draw to me.

Prutton predicts: 0-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

5:25 Championship – Ones to Watch Brentford v Rotherham, Saturday 3pm

There will be great positivity around Brentford as they’ve managed to hold onto most of their key players this summer – at least for now!

Rotherham, meanwhile, can’t be much worse than the last time they were in the Championship, and they should be a different proposition altogether with Paul Warne in charge. The Millers will be fired up and they’ll have a go, but Brentford should edge it.

Prutton predicts: 2-1 (7/1 with Sky Bet)

Bristol City v Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm

Both of these sides have had a very busy summer! Bristol City fell just short last season and have lost Bobby Reid and Aden Flint, but have also recruited very well and seem to be on a bit of an upward trajectory.

Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, have made some very promising signings and excitement is brewing at the City Ground. This should be a good game. Score draw.

Prutton predicts: 2-2 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

Ipswich v Blackburn, Saturday 3pm

Paul Hurst was within one game of taking Shrewsbury to the Championship, but he deserves his chance at this level after some superb work in the lower leagues.

It’s all about consolidation for Blackburn following their promotion. Bradley Dack is a fantastic talent who could really thrive and he’ll be the key to them staying up. It’s tough to call this one but I’m backing a narrow home win.

Prutton predicts: 1-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)

4:55 Sky Bet Championship: Five things to know Millwall v Middlesbrough, Saturday 3pm

Millwall were among the favourites to get relegated last season and Middlesbrough were heavily backed for promotion, but here they find themselves meeting again on the opening day of the Championship season!

Neil Harris has done a brilliant job and taking Millwall to within touching distance of the play-offs last season was remarkable. Boro are among the favourites to go up again and Tony Pulis will want to hit the ground running. I just have a feeling that Millwall will nick it.

Prutton predicts: 1-0 (13/2 with Sky Bet)

Preston v QPR, Saturday 3pm

Preston are another side who just fell short of the top six last season and will be hoping for more after another summer of preparation under Alex Neil. They’ve also made some shrewd acquisitions in the transfer market.

Steve McClaren has taken charge at QPR and it will be interesting to see what he can squeeze out of the squad there, especially with some of the young players that were starting to come through under Ian Holloway. Home win for me.

Prutton predicts: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

West Brom v Bolton, Saturday 3pm

West Brom are among the favourites for promotion but Darren Moore faces a difficult job to take the Baggies straight back to the Premier League, especially with the question marks surrounding the future of a few of their key players.

Bolton, meanwhile, survived in the most dramatic fashion last season and will be delighted to be playing at this level this season. Phil Parkinson has done brilliantly there but it’s likely to be another season of struggle for the Trotters. Bore draw.

Prutton predicts: 0-0 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

4:49 Sky Bet Championship predictions Wigan v Sheffield Wednesday, Saturday 3pm

Wigan will be hoping to do better than the last time they won promotion to the Championship and actually stay up this time! They do seem far more stable under Paul Cook, although it is his first time managing in the second tier.

After so much positivity in the last couple of years at Sheffield Wednesday it all seems a bit gloomy now. Last season was incredibly disappointing and there has been nothing to really lift the mood over the summer. I think the Latics will claim an important opening win here.

Prutton predicts: 2-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Oldham v MK Dons, Saturday 3pm

Oldham begin life in League Two after having their 21-year spell in the third tier ended at the end of last season, although it will be familiar opposition to start off with!

Paul Tisdale left Exeter in disappointing circumstances after 12 years at the club, and it will be interesting to see how quickly he can make his mark at MK Dons. I’m backing him to start off his new era with a win.

Prutton predicts: 0-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

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