Aston Villa v Derby
Monday May 27, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports Football
It's the richest match around
Aston Villa 2.285/4 v Derby 3.711/4; The Draw 3.3512/5
My penance for being a Leeds United supporter is to preview the richest club game in world football between two sides my team fell out with this season. One thing about being incredibly bitter is that, in addition to not wanting either of these sides to gain promotion, I am definitely betting with my head and not my heart. There is an upside!
Aston Villa have reached top gear at the right time
Aston Villa have taken end of season momentum into this shootout for a place in the top tier. It's a match thought to be worth around £170m to the winner and Villa are back at Wembley having missed out on pay day last season against Fulham.
Boss Dean Smith saw his side edge past West Brom in the semi-finals on penalties after drawing 2-2 on aggregate. Villa finished the season in superb form. They are the side we always look for - the team gathering pace after losing only one of their last 15 games, and that was to champions Norwich. It's the reason Villa are rightly priced as favourites.
Tammy Abraham has scored 26 goals this season, six of which have come from the penalty spot. The Chelsea loanee is a major threat once again and could well make his move permanent if Villa secure promotion. He's 5/4 to score anytime and that appears superb value.
Jonathan Kodjia has bagged nine goals, Conor Hourihane eight, with six apiece came from Jack Grealish and John McGinn. Grealish provides more than goals and is likely to induce challenges with his trickery that could see Derby suffer some bookings in a bid to nullify his threat. There were six yellows and a sending off for a second bookable offence in last year's final and cards are a definite play again this season.
Derby revelling in underdogs status
Derby are getting used to being classed as outsiders. They were the outsiders against Leeds and it seemed justified at 2-0 down just before half-time in the second leg at Elland Road. As the home crowd urged Frank Lampard to "stop crying your eyes out" the first-season manager introduced Jack Marriott. The striker scored just before the break and an amazing comeback victory was secured with a dominant second half display. Consequently, the Rams head to Wembley with confidence high.
Like Villa, Derby ended their league campaign strongly as they suffered one defeat in their last 12 matches. It was Harry Wilson who led the line with 16 goals, whilst Marriott, Mason Mount and Martyn Waghorn notched nine each.
Wilson is 10/3 to add to his tally on Monday. If Derby notch Wilson is the most likely scorer, which makes that price astonishingly generous.
All stats points to Villa
This is far more than a newspaper friendly Frank Lampard vs John Terry headline. And after this showpiece, both men could be on their way elsewhere with Lampard rumoured to replace current Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri if he leaves this summer and Terry said to be on Boro's shortlist.
Villa beat Derby 4-0 at home and 3-0 away in the Championship this season. With this match effectively an away game for both sides, Villa took 35 points on the road to Derby's 28. Villa scored 32 goals and conceded 25, whereas Derby scored 29 and leaked 34. It all suggests a Villa victory at 2.285/4.
Villa matches averaged 3.11 goals this season and Derby matches saw 2.67 goals. Over 2.5 goals at EVS has to be worth a look. With plenty of goalscoring options on either side going overs on the goals makes perfect sense.
On Sportsbook you can combine a few of your betting fancies to acca up a price to significantly boost your betting balance, if successful. Combine Aston Villa to win at 23/20, Over 2.5 match goals at EVS and Tammy Abraham to score at 5/4 for the price of 4.94.
You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger