Aston Villa kick off their Championship campaign with what promises to be a captivating clash against Hull City on Saturday evening.
The Villans are dabblebet’s 13/2 (8.50) joint favourites to be crowned as champions this season and Steve Bruce’s side will be determined to lay down a marker by claiming a convincing victory against the Tigers.
The home side are chalked up as a 23/20 (2.15) shot to take all three points this weekend, with 23/10 (3.30) that the match remains level at the end of 90 minutes. Hull, relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, are under the stewardship of former Russia manager Leonid Slutsky for the first time in a competitive fixture and there is 12/5 (3.40) that the 46-year-old boss steers the team from Humberside to victory at Villa Park.
Villa made a dreadful start to the season last term, winning just one of their opening 12 matches of the campaign – a sequence of results that led to the dismissal of Robert Di Matteo as manager and the subsequent appointment of Bruce.
Despite those struggles, Villa boasted a solid record on their own patch throughout the season. Indeed, Bruce’s charges were beaten in just three of their 23 Championship fixtures on home turf, keeping a clean sheet in seven of their most recent eight league victories at Villa Park.
It is that kind of form that makes Bruce’s charges amongst the favourites to take the title this season and the former Birmingham City boss has strengthened his squad this summer – most notably through the acquisition of former Chelsea captain John Terry.
The Tigers have seen a number of their key men from last season depart - including Ahmed Elmohamady to Villa - while the loss of manager Marco Silva was also viewed as a significant blow to the men from Humberside.
Slutsky, though, is vastly experienced and the Russian has overseen some impressive pre-season results, including a 1-0 win against Benfica and a thrilling 3-3 draw against Ajax Amsterdam in their final warm-up fixture.
Hull, therefore, will not arrive at Villa Park simply to make up the numbers and there is plenty of potential for an entertaining clash between two teams keen to start the campaign with a high-profile victory.
A tight tussle, though, looks likely, for there have been more than two goals scored in just one of Villa’s last six matches, with Bruce’s charges playing out consecutive 0-0 draws in their last two pre-season fixtures. dabblebet go 8/13 (1.62) that fewer than three goals are scored in this game.
Better value, though, could lie in backing the Villans to start the season by winning a match that features fewer than three goals at a generous 3/1 (4.0) . The selection would have landed in each of Villa’s last six Championship wins on home turf.