A 23/1 game for Sunderland against Coventry on Sunday

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*All prices are up to date with our stylish widgets, while copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

Sunday’s football spectacle begins at the Stadium of Light for Sunderland and Coventry’s first game of the 2022/23 Championship season. Anything can happen at this point and, well, just about anything can happen at any stage when the Black Cats are involved.

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For what it’s worth, I think they’ll do well this season after winning the League One playoff final against Wycombe in May. They will look to emulate Coventry’s recent consolidation trajectory following promotion to the second tier. You don’t get much stronger than their 12th place finish last season.

The Sky Blues may be dreaming of a playoff push this time around but it will take time, although the gap between them and Luton in 6th was just 11 points so it’s not completely beyond the possibilities. It’s all up for grabs on opening day, so let’s try to make hay with a betting builder for Sunday’s championship fare.

*A Bet Builder with these four selections pays approximately 1/23 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

Sunday 12 p.m.: Sunderland – Coventry
Television: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

I’m going to put my neck on the line here and plump for a home win. The Stadium of Light is expected to hold over 40,000 fans for this one and the Black Cats had a superb home record last season, albeit in the league below.

I don’t think that can be discredited despite Coventry’s decent record in this division last season. Sunderland have won 16 of their 23 home league games and also got the job done at Wembley in front of huge crowds.

Maybe, just maybe, they’re starting to get rid of that bottler label. It’s not the be-all and end-all for them this season by any stretch of the imagination, but a Sunderland Win would go a long way in giving them hope for a decent campaign.

They always come here in good spirits thanks to this promotion, as tickets for the Sunday show sell out, and obviously they have recent memories of good form from the end of last season and an unbeaten record dating back to February. Coventry, on the other hand, were on the beach early on and will therefore have to go after registering three wins in their last 14 league games.

My intuition tells me it could be a 2-1 home win and the numbers back that up too. Last season, the Sky Blues scored 119 goals in 46 games last season, averaging just under 2.6 per game.

Sunderland’s totals are slightly higher at 2.87 per game and 132 regular season goals. Given the enthusiasm at the start of the campaign, I think we will have a decent game with Over 2.5 goals in the game.

Following the above, I think we’ll see both teams score in this one. Despite a poor run towards the end of last season, the Sky Blues have managed to score in four of their last six games. On average, they both scored and conceded around 1.3 goals per game, ending with a goal difference of one.

Sunderland have scored in six of their last seven regular season games in 2021/22 but earned promotion thanks to rock-solid defence, keeping a clean sheet in three of their last four games, including playoffs. Their averages were 1.72 goals scored per game and 1.15 conceded so Both teams score should have a great chance if these trends continue.

If Sunderland are going to win here, you expect Ross Stewart to play a big part. He was absolutely essential to their success last season and he scored 26 goals in 53 games, 14 more than anyone else on the team.

Swedish hitman Viktor Gyokeres topped City’s charts last season, netting 18 goals along the way, but Coventry scored less and also shared them more. If we’re going to pick Paddy’s pocket in this one we need the local side to do well and if they do just that we get a decent price on Ross Stewart will score the first.

Sunderland to win
Over 2.5 goals
Both teams score
Ross Stewart will score anytime

*A Bet Builder with these four selections pays approximately 1/23 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

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*All prices are current with our stylish widgets, while copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

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