Bolton v Leeds
Sunday 6th August, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports


Bolton picked up 86 points en-route to League One promotion last season - their best tally since 2000/01 - as they bounced back to the Championship at the first time of asking under Phil Parkinson's tutelage.

High levels of debt and ownership uncertainty continue to dog the Trotters off the pitch but Parkinson's patchwork team of free signings and loanees performed admirably in League One. Eight triumphs from their final 12 games ensured a top-two finish despite the club operating under a transfer embargo.

Wanderers' campaign was built upon a miserly defence but they've looked to strengthen in forward areas this summer. Will Buckley and Sammy Ameobi the most eye-catching arrivals amongst nine new additions.


For the seventh consecutive season, Leeds start the season with a different manager. Garry Monk resigned in the summer and United's new owner Andrea Radrizzani raised eyebrows when courting APOEL Nicosia boss Thomas Christiansen as his replacement.

The Whites were in contention for a top-six finish for the bulk of 2016/17 but a tally of only six points from their final eight matches saw Leeds slide out of the play-off positions. The Yorkshire giants became only the third side in 29 years to miss out on the top-six having tabled 75 points.

Monk's lack of a Plan B and United's slim squad was to blame but both angles appear to have been rectified. A raft of players have arrived at Elland Road and with Pontus Jansson suspended, on-loan Everton defender Matthew Pennington is in line for a debut appearance.

Elsewhere, question marks over star striker Chris Wood's condition remain following a hectic summer with New Zealand at the Confederations Cup.

Match Odds

Leeds have been made 2.60 favourites for Sunday's showdown but I'm unwilling to invest in the visitors at such quotes, just yet. With Jansson banned and last season's loan star Kyle Bartley no longer about, United do appear weaker at centre-half.

What's more, the guests boast a bizarrely poor return when travelling to newly-promoted clubs. Leeds have won just once in 10 trips, losing on six occasions (W1-D3-L6).

Bolton can be backed at 2.98 - a reasonably price considering the Trotters suffered only three home defeats in League One. The Wanderers arrive with promotion momentum and clubs in similar circumstances often tend to fare well in their campaign curtain-raiser.

Across the past 20 seasons, sides promoted from League One have returned a very respectable W9-D11 L7 when playing at home on the opening weekend - a loss rate of just 26%. Bolton can be supported at 2.12 in the Draw No Bet market.

Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Neither Bolton nor Leeds were prolific in the final-third during 2016/17. Collectively the duo averaged just 1.40 goals per-game in attack whilst leaking only 0.90 goals per-game at the back.

Leeds may have lost their stability at centre-half and with Wood potentially not up to full speed after a tiring off-season - the Kiwi was involved in 51% of Leeds' goals last season - I'm not particularly keen on a high-scoring contest.

Under 2.5 Goals is on the short side at 1.68 but it looks the most likely scenario considering the two teams provided profit in this market in 26/46 (57%) of their respective home/away league fixtures last term.

Recommended Bets

Back Bolton draw no bet 2.12
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.68

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