Blackpool v Luton: Hylton to put Tangerines to the sword

Luton's Danny Hylton has 21 goals in League Two this season
Luton's Danny Hylton has 21 goals in League Two this season
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Blackpool might be strong at home, but with the help of Opta Ian Lamont reasons that their inability to score against Luton this season could be key to unravelling the first leg of their play-off semi-final and a tight win for the visitors...

"When he plays in that mask Danny Hylton has a touch of Zorro about him – and he can certainly puts opponents to the sword. There are strong reasons why he is favourite in the first goalscorer market."

Blackpool 2.68/5 v Luton 3.185/40; the draw 3.55/2
League Two play-off semi-final, first leg
Sunday, 18:30

Luton appear to have an embarrassment of riches to choose from up front, starting with Danny Hylton who was so missed in the past two games through suspension that Jack Marriott slotted in two goals against Morecambe without manager Nathan Jones batting an eyelid.

Marriott has three goals in his last two games and the manager says none of the four possible strikers mind when another gains a first team place ahead of them.

In many other years, Luton would surely have earned automatic promotion. Perhaps the fact they didn't is because they drew too many away games - 10.

Blackpool, meanwhile, have had to compete against a symphony of protest from their fans against the Oyston family, their owners. The Tangerines were in the Premiership in 2010-11 but, having risen from the fourth tier from 2002, have proved the ultimate yo-yo club having spent this season in League Two. If Mark Hughes could call his autobiography Barca, Bayern and Back, then Blackpool could call it to the Premiership and back.

Luton don't have a good record in the play-offs, losing twice in the semi-finals and twice in the final (including in the National Conference) while Blackpool have won four of six play-off campaigns. They might well draw on that experience, as well as the Opta stat that three of the last five winners of the League Two play-offs have finished seventh in the regular season. For most of the first 20 years of the play-offs, the fourth tier winners had finished fourth.

Match odds

Roughly speaking, Gary Bowyer's men can claim the equivalent of a 2-1 win on average at home this season, while Luton's is just under that away.

In games between these two this season, however, Blackpool have lost twice and not even scored, emphasise Opta. As Neil Danns, the former Crystal Palace attacker, said recently, his side Blackpool might have made the play-offs but they haven't achieved anything yet.

Luton have shown little instinct to go easy at the end of the season, despite automatic promotion being out of their grasp for the past few weeks now, while Blackpool have just about hung on to their top seven status, goal difference compared to their rivals being key.

Given that the Hatters have draw so often away, and only lost four, they should be a shorter price to win or draw here, while Blackpool's home record of only four defeats, and scoring 40 goals, would unnerve most if it wasn't for the fact they don't seem to beat Luton. A draw might well be on the cards, but an away win is equally as likely.

Half-time/Full time

I expect a far cagier affair than the Carlisle v Exeter match, when you combine Blackpool not yet scoring against their opponents yet this season and Luton's huge number of away draws.

Of their 10 on the road, Luton took seven 1-1 draws, with five different scorers. Six of those goals were scored in the second half. Their three other draws were 0-0 - at Carlisle, Exeter and Notts County.

Their defence, led by the likes of Scott Cuthbert, is capable of holding opponents.

Therefore it could pay to go for draw/Luton in the half-time/full-time market at 8.07/1, rather than draw/draw at 6.05/1 and also take a narrow scoreline without Blackpool scoring, say 2-0 to Luton in the correct score market.

First goalscorer

You could bill this match as the battle of the Vassells, Isaac in midfield for the hosts and Kyle up front for Blackpool, both of whom are quite capable of scoring.

Kyle Vassell, a 5.39/2 chance, has scored 11 times for Blackpool, nine of them at home (three times as first scorer for them and twice as first scorer in the match). So you would think if the visitors can keep him quiet at Bloomfield Park they can win not only the match but the tie, because he is unlikely to score away. Mark Cullen's nine goals are more evenly split, scoring five away and he is priced 6.611/2.

Neil Danns is quite capable of scoring as well as providing and is 14.013/1.

However, Danny Hylton is the obvious favourite for a reason, having scored 21 times for Luton, 11 of them away and six of those goals were not only Luton's first but the match's first. It is no wonder he is 4.84/1 to score first in the match, ahead in the Luton market of Marriott and Isaac Vassell at 7.06/1 and Ollie Palmer at 8.07/1. When he plays in that mask he has a touch of Zorro about him - and he can certainly puts opponents to the sword.

Recommended Bets

Back Luton @ 3.185/40
Back draw/Luton in the half-time/full-time market @ 8.07/1
Back Danny Hylton as first goalscorer @ 4.84/1

P/L 2016-17

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