Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate

Luton vs Middlesbrough: Woodgate can enjoy flying start

Kick-off: 1945, 02/08/2019

Stadium: Kenilworth Road

TV: Sky Sports

Luton will be fired up for their Championship debut following back-to-back promotions but could get a reality check when entertaining Middlesbrough.

The visitors only just missed out on making the play-offs again last term and were in the Premier League as recently as three seasons ago.

We’re snapping up 8/5 for an away win as our opening Luton vs Middlesbrough prediction.

A Look At Luton Town’s Betting Odds

Admittedly, Luton had an outstanding home record in League One, winning 16 and drawing the other seven of their fixtures at Kenilworth Road.

That helped the Hatters to top the table by three points ahead of Barnsley, although they were beaten 1-0 here by Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.

Town have since made plenty of changes, with former West Brom assistant Graeme Jones brought in as manager to replace Mick Harford.

Ex-Everton defender Brendan Galloway looks an interesting recruit, while Callum McManaman, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Martin Cranie and Simon Sluga are other captures.

Keeping loan star Kazenga LuaLua was another boost, with Jones stating: “Like most of our signings, he ticks that box of having plenty of Championship experience.

“He has got that on his CV, so he hasn’t got a mental step to take whether he’s good enough for the Championship.”

However, losing Jack Stacey to Bournemouth was a blow and there are still lots of squad members with plenty to prove at this level.

Looking at the Luton vs Middlesbrough odds, we like 16/5 for the visitors to prevail by a one-goal margin.

A Look At Middlesbrough’s Betting Odds

Boro finished last season strongly by winning five of their final six Championship games, but still missed out on sixth place by a single point.

That prompted the departure of Tony Pulis and owner Steve Gibson has rolled the dice with a rookie replacement in former England defender Jonathan Woodgate.

The 39-year-old was already part of the coaching set-up, though, and has appointed a high-profile number two in ex-Leeds and Tottenham team-mate Robbie Keane.

Woodgate, who had two spells as a player with his hometown team, said: “We want to get fans on the edge of their seat.

“We want as many fans back in the stadium as we can by playing attacking, exciting football – with high pressure, pressing in different areas.”

That represents a big change in policy from the steady style of play adopted by Pulis, but £15million striker Britt Assombalonga is already a willing convert.

“It’s a whole different feeling,” Assombalonga told BBC Radio Tees. “Everyone’s fit and enjoying training sessions, there’s a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”

Boro’s big-spending days may be over due to their Premier League parachute payments drying up, but this is still a talented team, with Ashley Fletcher and Rudy Gestede other attacking options.

Let’s add 19/2 for a 2-1 away win to our Luton vs Middlesbrough betting tips.

Additional stats

Last result:

LUTON 3-1 Oxford – George Moncur (2), Elliot Lee

Rotherham 1-2 MIDDLESBROUGH – Britt Assombalonga (pen), John Obi Mikel

Head-to-head: N/A

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