Fresh boost in Leeds United promotion bid expected and immediate change in automatics equation
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Third-placed Leeds have closed the gap to the Championship's two automatic promotion places to eight points ahead of this weekend's return to action after the current international break. Leicester City lead second-placed Ipswich Town on goal difference after 16 games of the season in which the top two have both amassed 39 points compared to United's 31.
The bookmakers, though, firmly expect Leeds to immediately further reduce the deficit to just five points with another victory upon Friday night's return to action at third-bottom Rotherham United. Despite being away from home, Leeds are very strong odds on favourites and no bigger than 2-5 but as short as 1-3 with some firms. The Millers can be backed at 13-2 whilst the draw is on offer at just bigger than 4-1 at 17-4.
Leicester and Ipswich are both in action the following day and the odds compilers think the Foxes will bounce back from their recent defeats to Leeds and Middlesbrough with victory at home to 13th-placed visitors Watford in a 3pm kick-off. Enzo Maresca's leaders are odds-on favourites at 4-7 to beat Watford who are 11-2. The draw is 33-10.
But the Championship's teatime game sees Ipswich visit West Brom and the bookmakers think there is a good chance that Ipswich will drop points at their seventh-placed hosts who are favourites with some firms in a very close market. The duo are generally joint favourites given that both can be backed at 7-4 whilst the draw is available at 5-2.
Ipswich are now only fractionally ahead of Leeds in the division's title betting at 4-1, marginally shorter than the 9-2 Whites. But that would likely change in the event of Farke's side winning at Rotherham and Ipswich not taking all three points against Carlos Corberan's Baggies.
Leicester remain odds-on to go up as champions but now out to 8-11. Southampton are only one point behind Leeds in fourth place but the Saints are 20-1. West Brom are next at 100s.
The division's top three are all-odds on to go up. Leicester are a very short 1-7 whereas Ipswich are 8-11 and Leeds 5-6. Southampton are 5-2 for promotion, followed by tenth-placed Middlesbrough at 6s, West Brom at 8s and then sixth-placed Sunderland at 10s.
Southampton visit fourth-bottom Huddersfield Town upon the Championship's resumption as part of a Saturday afternoon on which Middlesbrough go to 11th-placed Bristol City and Sunderland head to a Plymouth Argyle side who are 19th. Fifth-placed Preston North End welcome ninth-placed Cardiff City.