The much-anticipated return of the Premier League kicks off with newly-promoted Luton Town facing a challenging trip to Brighton.

Meanwhile, in the Championship, a Yorkshire derby between Hull and Sheffield Wednesday promises a tense battle, and League One sees Cheltenham hosting a confident Bolton side. From goals galore to tight defensive struggles, this weekend's football action across England's top divisions offers something for every fan. Here's our analysis and betting tips for these compelling matchups.

Brighton vs Luton, Saturday, 3pm

The Premier League is back, and having watched Luton Town’s progress over the years I think we are all glad this great football club get their opportunity on the big stage. It could have been a much easier start for them in the top division as a trip to Brighton is dreaded by even the top teams these days. Still, they’ll just be glad to get started now, whilst the Seagulls just want the football to do the talking now after a summer dominated by players leaving or linked with doing so.

Although Roberto De Zerbi has notably seen Alexis Mac Allister depart for pastures new and Moises Caicedo try to do the same, it is still a season which could be memorable for all the right reasons. They will soon have European football to contend with, and that will present a new challenge for them, but early season they’ll just be keen to start strongly and continue the momentum from last year. In terms of style, don’t expect anything different to what we would expect from a De Zerbi team. They’ll play their football, but early season they won’t be at their best, so Luton’s pressing game will give the away side opportunities.

Luton will aim to get the ball forward quickly when given the chance, but they are capable of mixing things up. Rod Edwards will know there is a need to make subtle changes moving out of the Championship, but at the same time they’ll look to stay true to themselves. Brighton defensively will be tested and put under pressure, and Luton had an excellent away record last season so they won’t be too concerned being second-best in possession. They were clinical in front of goal, and they’ll cause a few surprises this season.

My first instinct in this game was to focus on goals, as is often the case when Brighton are involved. They will dictate the play and it will contribute towards an entertaining opening day for these two teams. I expect Luton to score, but if Brighton do click into gear the hosts could score a few goals here, if Luton have a rabbits-in-the-headlights kind of approach. Over 3.00 Goals is available 2.02 with VBet, and I expect us to cash in on this. We get a refund if exactly three goals are scored, but Brighton could feasibly score four if they have one of their going days and Luton don’t handle the occasion. As I say, I expect Luton to score, so this bet makes sense, and at the price.

Hull v Sheffield Wednesday, Saturday, 3pm

We had good success tipping on the Championship last weekend, a league I specialise in and watch for a living, and although this weekend looks a bit more of a challenging prospect from a tipping perspective, there is one opportunity that stands out. Hull against Sheffield Wednesday is a Yorkshire derby that could may look quite tasty from a competitive perspective, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to goals. Both are searching for their first win inside 90 minutes this season, so it could be a little tense, even at this early stage of the campaign.

This is Liam Rosenior’s first full season in charge of Hull and he’ll be looking for his side to break into that next calibre of club that can seriously contest the play-off positions. They are maybe a few signings light of realistically doing that as things stand, but there is still time in the window for that to change and they have an owner that won’t stand still. Last season, Hull were generally an under’s team, with roughly 59% of their matches not seeing at least two goals scored. Rosenior looked to strike a balance between defence and attack, being well-organised off the ball but sometimes lacking at the other end of the pitch. Only five teams failed to score in more Championship games than Hull last season.

As for Sheffield Wednesday, they are of course under new management and naturally that will take a little time for everyone to adjust, especially given he was appointed relationship late in pre-season. Xisco, once of Watford, is now at the helm and has only been so for roughly a month. He replaced Darren Moore, who was very popular with the players, in a shock move and he is implementing a style and system that will take some adjusting to given they’ve been so used to Moore’s methods. They’ve started the season losing to Southampton, and deservedly so, before needing penalties to overcome Stockport County in the cup. Those games showed the team is still in sort of a pre-season given the changes at the club, which also includes several new signings. The manager is still searching for his best team, and in the short-term they will look to be solid defensively first and foremost.

My initial instinct when focusing on this game was to look to oppose goals and I’m happy Betfair have a price of 1.87 on Under 2.5 Goals. It presents two teams that look to be solid off the ball, so it won’t be so easy for big chances to be created here. I suspect the xG’s come full time will be under 1.50 combined; it just screams that sort of tight game. It’s also a derby too, so it’ll be scrappy and I’d be shocked if it became a basketball game or anything other than cagey.

Cheltenham v Bolton, Saturday, 3pm

Our final focus across the EFL card allows us to take in a League One contest when Cheltenham welcomes Bolton to Whaddon Road. Cheltenham are entering their second full season under the management of Wade Elliott, but first since the departure of star player Alfie May, whilst Bolton aim to go again after falling short in the play-offs last season.

Elliott has overseen back-to-back defeats without scoring to open the campaign, losing narrowly away to Shrewsbury in league action before being comfortably despatched by Championship outfit Birmingham in the EFL Cup. It may be early to jump to immediate issues scoring goals and missing May, but it no doubt would have been a concern when he moved to Charlton in the off-season. He was responsible for netting 44.44% of their goals, and is not easily replaced. They need to prove they can perform without him.

On the flip side, Bolton have started the season with back-to-back wins and not conceded in the process. Lincoln were beaten 3-0 on the opening day, whilst Bolton boss Ian Evatt oversaw a win over his former club Barrow in the EFL Cup. A trip to Cheltenham is not easy assignment, especially as they lost on their visit to Gloucestershire last season. It was important for them to start strongly after the disappointment of the play-offs, and avoiding a hangover is key to ultimately getting over that big setback and setting your stall out to win promotion next time up. It is so far, so good for Wanderers.

Early season form is not everything but Bolton does look to be the play here. They’ve not necessarily been scintillating in their opening two games, but it is also hard to ignore that Cheltenham are still trying to adjust to life without their star man, who has been integral to them. I will be putting up Bolton at 2.15 with Unibet, but maybe more so as a fade against Cheltenham, who I suspect will have issues scoring goals. Bolton are in a good place right now and I’m not prepared to step in front of them just yet.


  • Brighton v Luton – Over 3.00 Goals (2.02 VBet)
  • Hull v Sheffield Wednesday – Under 2.5 Goals (1.87 Betfair)
  • Cheltenham v Bolton – Bolton (2.15 Unibet)

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