Gab Sutton is back with his EFL acca for Saturday 27th August. It’s a big one, a 40/1 acca, with five teams making it up.
Burnley to win at Wigan – 11/8
It’s hard to believe that Burnley have not won since the opening day 1-0 success at Huddersfield, given how irresistible Vincent Kompany’s side looked in the first half that evening.
There has been enough in performances, however, to suggest that the Clarets are the pick of the three teams coming down from the Premier League, even if results on paper tell a different story.
The East Lancashire outfit have established some clear patterns of play: they are very patient in their defensive third, and are willing to recycle the ball between Connor Roberts, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Charlie Taylor, but once gaps between opposing units surface, they look for wide accelerations of play.
On Saturday, they will have to produce those without Ian Maatsen, who is suspended for two games, but there is no reason why the versatile Vitinho cannot do a similar job with his attacking forays.
Vitinho will look to link up with Nathan Tella, an agile, tricky attacker who impressed with a cool brace in the 3-3 draw with Blackpool.
Wigan are an incredibly spirited bunch who will battle until the end, and showed remarkable togetherness to win 1-0 at Birmingham, playing 80 minutes with a man disadvantage.
Burnley, though, are on a different level, they are superbly coached and have a higher standard of technical players, which could make all the difference.
Cambridge to beat Burton – 23/20
After a safe, midtable finish in their first season in League One after promotion, Cambridge were able to retain 19 players who had featured for them in the league in 2021-22.
The U’s hope that continuity will serve them well in their efforts to build on that success under a highly talented coach in Mark Bonner.
Cambridge have won both league encounters at the Abbey, defeating MK Dons and Exeter by one goal apiece, and were the better side in first halves of their away defeats to Oxford and Portsmouth.
With that in mind, it is likelier that the CB5 outfit can use last year as a springboard for a top half escapade, than it is that they suffer a second season syndrome.
The likes of Jubril Okedina and Harvey Knibbs appear to have gone up another level for Bonner’s side, while Shilow Tracey and James Brophy have also started the campaign well.
Cambridge also have plenty of depth: in most positions, their manager can make an alteration without suffering a significant drop in quality, which could be vital for turning a game that may not be going their way.
Burton, meanwhile, have just one point to their name from the opening five games and while Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has vowed to fight on after accepting a conversation over his future, it has been a worrying start for his side.
Portsmouth to win at Port Vale – 29/20
Optimism is sky high at Portsmouth after an excellent start to the season, with 11 points from five games for Danny Cowley’s side.
Pompey deservedly beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 last time out thanks to goals from Connor Ogilvie, Joe Pigott and Owen Dale, with the compact 4-4-2 allowing them to press their opponents into submission.
The Portsea Islanders are always hassling and harrying opposing defenders, which forces them into clearances that play into the hands of organiser Michael Morrison and aerial dominator Sean Raggett, who seem to win everything that comes their way.
Portsmouth pursue a fourth straight success at Port Vale, who will be delighted to have seven points to their name already, from five games, considering how late in the window Darrell Clarke and David Flitcroft have done their business.
Six of Vale’s points though have come against Fleetwood and Burton, two sides tipped to struggle – Pompey are a different proposition.
Leyton Orient to beat Hartlepool – 13/20
Leyton Orient have collected a whopping 13 points from a possible 15 to start the season.
The O’s won 3-1 at Colchester last time out but despite an outstanding beginning to the campaign, manager Richie Wellens has told the media he is still frustrated with his players because he wants more from them performance wise.
Wellens sets very high standards and if his side can push it another level this weekend, they have the potential to demolish Hartlepool, who have endured a difficult start.
Pools were punished by Bradford last time out, losing 3-1 to the illustrious West Yorkshire visitors, leaving Paul Hartley’s side with a paltry two goals and points apiece to their name from the opening quintet of fixtures.
Orient have quality in Charlie Kelman, Paul Smyth, Theo Archibald and Idris El Mizouni – get the ball to those players in the right areas and the results could be ominous for the visitors.
Tranmere to beat Colchester - Evens
Tranmere were the better side for large periods of their midweek 2-1 EFL Cup defeat to Newcastle.
Micky Mellon’s side need to build on that high-energy showing and while they have not quite had the start they wanted to their league campaign, with four points from the opening five, the 3-0 demolition of Gillingham is a sign of what Rovers can produce at their best.
The Wirral outfit employ a high-press, and with livewire Elliott Nevitt up top, they always have that capacity to turn the ball over in the opposing half and immediately threaten goal.
If not, wing-backs Josh Cogley and Ethan Bristow provide the width on the overlap, while Reece McAlear and Josh Hawkes have the potential to bring quality from more central positions.
If Tranmere play as they are capable of, they will defeat Colchester, who could be in for a season of struggle – although Wayne Brown’s side were competitive themselves against Premier League opposition in midweek, losing 2-0 to Brentford.
Burnley – 11/8
Cambridge – 23/20
Portsmouth – 29/20
Leyton Orient – 13/20
Tranmere – Evens