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Malky Mackay's men were defeated in the semi-final of the Championship play-offs last season but Willie Duncan expects them to begin with a win against the newly promoted Terriers

Cardiff City are among the favourites for promotion from this year’s Championship and Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds will look to get their campaign off to the best possible start when newly promoted Huddersfield Town are the visitors to Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.

The home side were defeated in last season’s play-off semi-final by West Ham United and Mackay’s men will be desperate to make amends for that disappointment this term.

The Bluebirds can be backed at 4/5 (1.80) with Bet365 to get their season off to a flyer on Friday and that is an attractive price for a side that lost just five of 23 home matches in the 2011/12 season.

For Huddersfield Town, this match represents a stiff examination of their Championship credentials and Bet365 offer a 7/2 (4.50) that Simon Grayson’s side pass their first test with flying colours by taking all three points on Friday. The same firm go 5/2 (3.50) that both sides are forced to settle for a point.

Both sides suffered a hiccup in League Cup action in midweek with the Terriers going down to Preston North End while a youthful Cardiff side were dumped out of a competition that they reached the final of last season by Northampton Town.

Those results, though, should have little bearing on Friday’s outcome and this match promises to be an intriguing curtain-raiser for the Championship season.

Vastly experienced front man Heidar Helguson is the 5/1 (6.0) favourite with Bet365 to notch the opening goal of the season for Cardiff on Friday night.

Craig Bellamy, fresh from his exploits for Team GB at London 2012, is chalked up at 6/1 (7.0) with the same firm to score the opener in what could be the former Liverpool striker’s first start in his second spell in a Cardiff shirt in as many years.

Jordan Rhodes scored an astonishing 40 goals in 45 appearances for Huddersfield last season and, buoyed by a second start for Scotland in midweek, Rhodes certainly represents outstanding value at 6/1 (7.0) should Huddersfield spring a surprise.

The script, though, would appear to be written for Craig Bellamy and the Welsh star may be the key as Cardiff City look to begin the long road to the English Premier League with a home victory on Friday night.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Cardiff City to win at 4/5 (1.80) with Bet365
Craig Bellamy to score first at 6/1(7.0) with Bet365

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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