Sharp gives Blades a dangerous edge
Sky Bet Championship
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Sheffield United have carried on where they left off last season and with confidence sky-high they are worth backing to get something from their trip to the Riverside.
Middlesbrough are a shade of odds-on for their first home match since relegation from the Premier League and just a week after a 1-0 loss at Wolves.
That was a tough start to the season for Garry Monk and his men, many of whom are getting to know each other after moving to Teesside this summer.
So this looks a good time for United to be heading north after opening up their campaign with a well-deserved 1-0 win against Brentford.
A mix-and-match Blades followed up by beating Walsall 3-2 in the League Cup. That makes it nine straight wins for United, 15 if you include a pre-season which featured impressive triumphs over the likes of Malaga and Stoke. They haven’t lost a game since January.
A lay of Boro might be the best bet. Monk has certainly beefed up their front line – and he needed to with the club on a run of nine blanks in their last 15 matches – but Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite are work in progress as a partnership and won’t find it easy against a settled and organised United back three.
Chris Wilder’s men will feel they can do no wrong at the moment after winning the League One title and they could surprise a few this season.
No player was more impressive than Billy Sharp in their promotion campaign with 30 goals. He is already up and running for the new campaign with the winner against the Bees and he has scored against Boro for three different clubs. The deadly 31-year-old is fancied to open the scoring.
Sheffield Utd or draw double chance
2pts Evs Betfair
B Sharp first scorer
1pt 13-2 bet365, BoyleSports
Marten de Roon has joined Atalanta so Garry Monk needs to reshuffle his midfield.
Defender George Baldock (foot) is out. Striker James Hanson has joined him on the treatment table with a hamstring issue. Ched Evans has recovered from a hip injury.
United are unbeaten in their last 19 matches