With just five games of the regulation season to go Mike Norman is staying clear of the Match Odds markets, which are heavily in favour of clubs that need points, and is instead looking to the Goals markets on Tuesday night...
"It's also worth remembering that earlier in the season Middlesbrough went nine away matches from 10 played where at least three goals were scored..."
Play-off battle to produce goals
Sheff Utd [2.38] v Middlesbrough [3.45]; The Draw [3.4]
One of the games of the night in the Championship is perfectly set up for a goal-filled game given the need for points by both parties, yet the odds on offer completely disagree.
We can back Over 2.5 Goals at [2.44] in this match, which sees ninth-placed Sheffield United host sixth-placed Middlesbrough, though a win for the Blades will take them to within one point of Boro who of course occupy that final play-off spot.
Middlesbrough might see a draw as a good result then, as it will maintain their four point cushion over United, but with Millwall - who are in the form of their lives - and Bristol City still right in contention Tony Pulis is unlikely to send his team out to defend a 0-0.
And there isn't much evidence that Boro would comfortably be able to do that anyway given that they've kept clean sheets in just 30% of their games under Pulis' leadership. It's also worth remembering that earlier in the season Middlesbrough went nine away matches from 10 played where at least three goals were scored, so although their last two away games have both finished 1-1 it's hard to understand why Over 2.5 Goals is priced so generously.
It's even harder to understand when you consider United's situation, and how they'll definitely be going on the attack knowing that nothing less than a win will realistically keep then in the play-off picture. And with Boro's ability on the counter attack well known, then this could easily be a very entertaining affair.
Last chance saloon for Black Cats could result in goals
Sunderland [2.84] v Bristol City [2.66]; The Draw [3.6]
I'll be amazed if Sunderland's home game with Norwich tonight doesn't contain at least three or four goals, so at [3.5] to back Over 3.5 Goals has to be the selection.
The Black Cats nearly done us a huge favour on Saturday by winning at Leeds, but they conceded a late equaliser meaning that their situation at the bottom of the table is now desperate. They are now seven points from safety with just five games remaining, so they really are drinking in the last chance saloon against the Canaries.
And given how poor Chris Coleman's side are at defending, especially at the Stadium Of Light, then it's impossible to envisage them keeping a clean sheet.
In Sunderland's last six home games their goals against column reads 2, 2, 3, 3, 2, 3, so the opposition has landed an Over 2.5 Goals punt on their own 50% of the time! But consider also that the Black Cats scored three at home to Middlesbrough in one of those games, and that they've scored six in their last three matches, then it doesn't require too much of a leap of faith to hope for four goals tonight.
Of course Sunderland going on the attack is going to help our cause, and so too is the fact that Norwich don't exactly keep games tight either. Their last six matches have produced a total of 25 goals, and four times Over 3.5 Goals has paid out.
Both teams on the attack with so much at stake
Bristol City [2.1] v Birmingham [4.0]; The Draw [3.5]
Yet another game in the Championship tonight with so much riding on it. Bristol City are in danger of falling out of the play-off picture on recent evidence. They were awful on Saturday at Millwall and fully deserved to leave the Den empty handed.
But the Robins have to keep going. Win tonight, and with play-off protagonists Sheff United and Middlesbrough facing off at Bramall Lane, then they will be in a far more encouraging position with four games of the season remaining.
So again, like the other teams chasing points, it's hard to envisage Lee Johnson's men not going on the attack, and given that they have always been on of the teams I look to first when considering an Over 2.5 Goals punt, then backing that outcome tonight is a no-brainer. The Robins, on their day, can score for fun, but they rarely keep clean sheets.
And the good news is that tonight's visitors to Ashton Gate are Birmingham, another side desperate for points as they aim to pull away from the relegation zone.
Garry Monk is doing a fine job with the St Andrew's outfit, taking 10 points from a possible 12, lifting Birmingham three points above the drop zone. But they can't relax now, there is still work to be done, and although a point against Bristol City will be a very satisfactory outcome, the fact that the Robins will surely go for the win hopefully means it will be an open affair with at least three goals being scored.
*You can follow me on Twitter - @MikkyMo73
Championship 2017/18 Season P/L
Staked: 112 pts
Returned: 97.66 pts
P/L: -14.34 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
- 2016/17 P/L = +7.56 pts from 163 pts stakes
- 2015/16 P/L = -3.46 pts from 156 pts staked
- 2014/15 P/L = +21.78 pts from 164 pts staked
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.44] in Sheff Utd v Middlesbrough (best bet)
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ [3.5] in Sunderland v Norwich
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ [2.2] in Bristol City v Birmingham