Severnside rivals Cardiff and Bristol City lock horns for Friday night football in the Championship. Mark O'Haire examines the odds...
"Neither side has particularly convinced defensively, although the pair have each scoring themselves in eight of their opening 10 contests"
Cardiff v Bristol City
Friday November 6, 19:45
Cardiff bounce back in style
Cardiff manager Neil Harris piled on the praise to his players for responding well to his scathing criticism after their dire first-half display at QPR last Saturday. The Bluebirds turned out their best display of the season to beat Barnsley 3-0 in the Welsh capital on Tuesday after arguably their worst 45 minute performance at Loftus Road just a few days earlier.
Harris was furious with his team's display last week and demanded a response from his squad in midweek. And he certainly got it against the Tykes; Cardiff were rarely troubled after Junior Hoilett's close-range finish put them ahead early on. Joe Ralls doubled the lead from the penalty spot before Harry Wilson drilled home a classy third to complete the rout.
Post-match, Harris said: "I thought the performance level individually and collectively was outstanding. The only frustration is that we didn't score more." However, injuries continue to hamper the hosts with playmaker Lee Tomlin unlikely to be fit for Friday's clash after a groin injury flared up. Greg Cunningham and Jordi Osei-Tutu also remain unavailable.
Bristol City bag come-from-behind victory
Bristol City came from a goal behind to end their five-game winless run with victory at Huddersfield on Tuesday night. The hosts, who edged a lacklustre first half short on clear-cut chances, went in front just before the break but the Robins refused to buckle and came to the fore in the final half-hour of the John Smith's Stadium showdown, striking twice.
Momentum of the match drastically changed with the 68th-minute introduction of Antoine Semenyo and Jamie Paterson. Semenyo created chaos with his direct running and pace, and it was his cross that allowed Jay Dasilva to tap home. Dasilva then turned provider to tee up Paterson for the winner, his goal arriving moments after Semenyo had struck the post.
The result moved Bristol City back into the play-off places and halted the Robins' recent slump in form, which came after they had opened the campaign with four successive wins. Boss Dean Holden may now look to switch systems considering the success of the move to 4-3-3 with Semenyo, Paterson and Famara Diedhiou all pushing for starting berths.
Severnside rivals well-matched
Cardiff have enjoyed significant supremacy over Bristol City over the past decade or so, taking top honours in 13 of the duos past 21 Severnside derbies across all competitions (W13-D4-L4). Even so, more recent meetings have been well-matched affairs with the two rivals claiming a win apiece over their last four head-to-head contests.
Cardiff 2.245/4 were under pressure having failed to take top honours in four fixtures before their impressive midweek success. That welcome win over Barnsley was the Bluebirds' first on home soil this season and was only the second occasion that Neil Harris' outfit had managed to score more than a solitary goal in their 10 Championship tussles (W3-D4-L3).
Bristol City 3.3512/5 had earned just two points from a possible 15 ahead of their come-from-behind triumph at Huddersfield and underlying performance data suggested the Robins had overperformed during their early-season winning streak. Dean Holden's visitors are amongst the bottom-eight for chances conceded this term, as well as shots in the box faced.
Both sides can oblige
Three of the past four Severnside derbies have produced Under 1.5 Goals and the market is anticipating another tight tussle with Under 2.5 Goals trading at 1.738/11. That's proven a profitable formula in 12 (60%) of the duos combined 20 Championship games thus far in 2020/21 but there's little wriggleroom in the price to get excited about.
Instead, it might be worth taking a chance on Both Teams To Score at 1.814/5. Successful in 11 (55%) of those aforementioned matches, whilst the two teams arrive buoyed by impressive midweek results. Neither side has particularly convinced defensively, although the pair have each scoring themselves in eight of their opening 10 contests.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 32.00 pts
Returned: 36.92 pts
P/L: +4.92 pts
Back Both Teams To Score at 1.81 in Cardiff v Bristol City