Derby draw is the favourite

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday battled back impressively at Oldham on Monday, to book their place in the next round of the Capital One Cup but the serious business starts tomorrow as the Owls kick off their Championship campaign with a trip to Derby County.

The Rams’ home advantage means they kick-off as favourites at 11/8 via Skybet while Dave Jones’ side are Stan James’ 2/1 outsiders and it’s 12/5 courtesy of BetVictor to finish all square at Pride Park, where William Hill post 6/1 against it ending one-apiece.

The stalemate is likely to be popular as to neutrals an obvious winner won’t jump from the page given that Derby finished in mid-table and the Owls are an unknown quantity at this level. However, aiming to be the division’s surprise package this term, Wednesday could fly out of the blocks and they’re actually decent value to stun the hosts, BetVictor pricing them at 18/5 to shade it by a one-goal margin.

More specifically, it’s 8/1 (bet365) for Jones’ troops to grab the game’s only goal, Ladbrokes offer 13/2 for Wednesday to pick up a win despite a drawn first period and the undecided can hedge their bets a touch by backing the Owls at 5/4 in Paddy Power’s ‘Draw No Bet’ market.

Despite a slip-up at home to Burton Albion in the League Cup last Saturday, Sheffield United are emphatic favourites at 8/13 with BetVictor to open their League One title bid with a victory against newly promoted Shrewsbury.

Bet365 make the visitors 5/1 to plunder the points at Bramall Lane, where they also offer 3/1 for the draw but home matches will be key for the Blades this year and they look unlikely to slip-up here.

With that in mind, they’re worth following in the handicaps, where they’re 8/5 via Stan James when starting a goal in arrears and bet365 post 13/2 against Danny Wilson’s men notching twice without reply.

Back in the Championship, Barnsley are BetVictor’s 23/10 underdogs as they entertain Middlesbrough but Skybet’s identical quote of 23/10 for the points to be shared is arguably a better bet at Oakwell. Doncaster meanwhile, head to Walsall in League One and with the Saddlers expected to struggle this season, Rovers should have the upper hand, BetVictor quoting them at an enticing 31/20 to emerge with a maximum haul.

Finally, in League Two, pre-season title fancies Rotherham are expected to start with a success as they entertain a Burton Albion side tipped to struggle. The Millers are 4/6 with Stan James to send the Brewers home empty-handed and they could be joined on three points after the opening weekend by Chesterfield, a 13/10 chance at Ladbrokes as they head to Wimbledon.

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