Brentford v QPR
Carsley is adamant he lacks the experience to land the job full-time and insists he did nothing too drastic to trigger the turnaround - mainly fitness work - so we should assume that Brentford are currently somewhere midway between the standards they set in the final few months under Mark Warburton and the disaster that was the Dijkhuizen experiment.
In terms of shot ratio, the Bees were third-best in the Championship over the second half of last season, yet second-bottom after ten matches of this, dropping from a 58 per cent share to 44 per cent. So it’s anyone’s guess where exactly between those two stools they sit now but the precise midpoint puts them on a par with QPR, suggesting current market prices are bang on the money once home advantage is taken into account.
Given the ambiguity of it all, punters are probably best advised to swerve the match betting, save to say that QPR have a terrible habit of starting games badly - the 4-0 defeat at Fulham on their last televised appearance offering a fine demonstration - but it’s a problem Chris Ramsey is acutely aware of and actively trying to do something about and the R’s head into this local derby on the back of successive clean sheets at home.
Instead, turn your attention to the goalscorer markets because there’s one player who has been consistently excellent this term and is making a big impact from seeing more of the ball now that standards around him are being raised. Take the 11/1 on Alan Judge to score the first goal and back it up with the 17/4 available on the Irishman to score anytime.
Judge has always had bags of potential but as he approaches his 27th birthday, he is maturing into a consistent performer who is arguably the standout attacking midfielder in the division. And with his first full Republic of Ireland international cap in touching distance ahead of next month’s Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina, he won’t be short of a personal incentive here.
The former Blackburn man isn’t particularly renowned for his goalscoring prowess, which perhaps explains the confusion among layers. Irish firm Boylesports make Judge only 7/4 to find the net here, yet Stan James have him chalked up at over 4/1. All you need to know is that he has bagged six goals already this season, three of them arriving in Brentford’s current purple patch since he returned buoyant from the international break.