Promotion-chasing pair Derby and Brentford go head-to-head at Pride Park on Saturday. Mark O'Haire expects both sides to get on the scoresheet.
"Derby are offered at their biggest pre-match home price since the start of last season’s Championship campaign"
Derby v Brentford
Saturday July 11, 12:30
Derby dented in midweek
West Brom put a big dent in Derby's play-off aspirations in midweek as the Rams were beaten 2-0 by the automatic promotion hopefuls at The Hawthorns. County arrived unbeaten since the Championship's restart but were unable to conjure up anything of note in the Black Country, losing the shot count 18-4 and failing to land an attempt on-target.
On a night to forget for Phillip Cocu's charges, young star Louie Sibley's were given a harsh red card late on that will likely be appealed by the Rams hierarchy. The sending off was Derby's sixth this season - the most in the Championship - with Martyn Waghorn also serving a suspension for Saturday, whilst Tom Lawrence is available again after his own ban.
Cocu described the referee's performance on Wednesday night as a "nightmare" but accepted his team were second-best, saying: "They played a very good game, they made it difficult for us to play our game, and we needed all hands on their strikers, four players. Only a few moments in the game were we decisive, so we have to accept the defeat."
Brentford inspired by Benrahma
A Said Benrahma-inspired Brentford came from a goal down with 16 minutes to go to beat a dogged Charlton side at Griffin Park on Tuesday night and keep their hopes of an automatic promotion place alive. The hosts went behind early on - ending the Bees' five-game run of clean sheets - but dominated much of the proceedings, with Benrahma at the heart of it.
Having scored a hat-trick against Wigan last Saturday, the in-demand forward again showed his class with half-a-dozen efforts and won a 74th-minute penalty which he converted to level. Benrahma's deflected shot with six minutes left brought a fantastic reaction save from Dillon Phillips, but Ethan Pinnock rose to head Brentford's winner from the resulting corner.
The victory saw the third-placed Bees remain in contention for a top-two finish as the Londoners capped a club-record sixth-successive win in the second tier. Thomas Frank's team are unbeaten since late February and the Brentford boss said post-match, "This is a massive win. I'll not stand here and say this didn't mean anything, it was a big win.
Rams underrated by the market?
Derby boast an unbeaten home record against Brentford that dates right back to 1939. The Rams have returned W7-D3-L0 in the following 10 league encounters between the pair here, scoring at least three goals in their most recent two triumphs over the Bees. However, the visitors were 3-0 winners when the duo met in the reverse at Griffin Park in August.
Derby [4.30] are offered at their biggest pre-match home price since the start of last season's Championship campaign. The Rams are unbeaten in five fixtures as outsiders during that same sample (W3-D2-L0) with the most recent example arriving against Fulham pre-lockdown. The hosts also boast the division's second-best home record (W11-D8-L2).
Brentford [1.91] had been blighted by inconsistencies on their travels, although the Bees have achieved back-to-back away victories at Fulham (2-0) and Reading (3-0) to propel themselves into the automatic promotion picture. Even so, Thomas Frank's enterprising team have only pocketed W3-D2-L5 from trips to top-half teams this term.
Back both teams to score
Derby failed to score for the first time in 19 Championship outings in midweek. However, the return of Tom Lawrence should ensure Phillip Cocu's side pose a threat in the final-third this weekend. The hosts have seen 14 of those 19 fixtures pay-out for Both Teams To Score [1.77] backers and a repeat appeals with County conceding in 21 of their past 25 games.
Brentford adopt a slightly more pragmatic approach when playing away from Griffin Park but the Bees have gotten on the scoresheet in each of their last 13 matches, as well as shipping goals in seven of their aforementioned 10 away days at the top-half, adding further weight to the claims of a BTTS bet at an interesting price.
Mark's 2019/20 Profit/Loss
Staked: 158.00 pts
Returned: 177.22 pts
P/L: +19.22 pts
Back Both Teams To Score at 1.77 in Derby v Brentford