Third play fifth in the Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Blackpool at the Riverside on Saturday.
After sixteen league matches apiece just five points separate two of this season’s promotion hopefuls. Blackpool’s last away match resulted in their emphatic 5-0 triumph over Leeds United, which they followed up with a steady 1-0 win at home against Millwall. Middlesbrough, too, have won two on the trot, 3-1 away to Doncaster and 1-0 at home against Watford.
The bookies go with home advantage making Tony Mowbray’s side the favourites for the win at best odds of 21/20 (Coral – £30 free bets). The value, however, could lie with The Tangerines. Ian Holloway’s men have been growing in confidence in recent weeks after some erratic form, and odds of 3/1 (bet365 – £200 free betting) for them to take victory are worth serious consideration.
When the sides last met in the 2009/10 Championship season, Blackpool did the double over Boro, winning 2-0 and 3-0 at home and away respectively. But Holloway has been forced to sell some key players since then. Though he has been able to maintain the basis of a decent side, there is not enough quality to emulate the achievements of that season’s promotion winning team in terms of consistency.
Middlesbrough are undefeated at home in eight league matches so far, but have scored only 10 goals in total from those matches. Backing under 2.5 goals could be the way to go in this match at a best price of 66/67 (188bet), while Marvin Emnes looks a fair price at 11/2 (Victor Chandler) to open the scoring considering he’s netted 10 already this season in all competitions.
Overall, while this could go either way, we fancy the draw at 13/5 (Ladbrokes), which offers just enough value to invite us in.