Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town: Price on Hurst's men too good to turn down

Wembley Stadium
Wembley is the final destination for Rotherham and Shrewsbury this Sunday
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It's the League One Playoff Final on Sunday and our third-tier expert Alan Dudman gives a comprehensive look at the two teams, and he thinks Shrewsbury are once again too high in price...

"Looking at the outright match odds, it's staggering how Shrewsbury have once again been chalked up as the far bigger of the two. Time and time again this season the Shrews were constantly underrated."

Back Shrewsbury Town Draw No Bet @ [2.70]

Rotherham United v Shrewsbury Town
Sunday May 27th 15:00
Live on Sky Sports

Eight points separated Rotherham and Shrewsbury over the course of the League One regular season. The Shrews finished in third ahead of fourth place United - so in that sense we have the right final considering their positions.

Should the Millers win promotion, it will be the first time since 2006-7 that three relegated teams from one league will have been promoted the next season. Paul Warne's side are the shorter of the two in the Promotion Market at [1.77].

If you fancy a bit of Shrewsbury at [2.22] in the same market, the Shropshire club has to overcome their Wembley hex. They have played four matches at the national stadium and lost all four. However, Shrews' boss Paul Hurst has six playoffs in nine years and has managed two previous playoff finals at Wembley with Grimsby; winning one and losing the other.

Will it be Miller time at Wembley?

Rotherham were capable of some brilliant performances at home this season. Their tally at the New York was most impressive in winning 15 games - a total only Blackburn bettered. The Millers also scored an extraordinary amount of goals at home - 45 in total. Again, only Blackburn beat that.

Paul Warne's side progressed to the playoff final with a 2-2 away performance at Scunthorpe, and a very effective 2-0 home victory in the return leg. Warne told his team to embrace the occasion, and his big-time players delivered.

The Millers lined up in a 4-1-4-1 against Scunthorpe and showed how dangerous they were (and are) on the counter-attack. It's a system that works ever so well, and one that yielded seven wins on the spin earlier in the campaign.

Hurst's warriors keep going

Warne and Hurst are old teammates from their playing days at Rotherham. Indeed, few opposing fans afford the reaction that Hurst will receive from the Yorkshire supporters - as befits a man that played over 500 games for the Millers in more than 15 years.

The Shrews surprised just about everyone in the regular season by finishing third; and one could argue they were pretty unlucky not to go up automatically with a massive 87 points. It must be remembered they went toe-to-toe with the big guns Blackburn and Wigan for the whole season.

The "Blue and Amber" spent over 200 days in the top two, so they very much deserve their place in the final. I liked Hurst's attitude in saying: "People moan about playing 50 games."

His team have played 62.

Like Rotherham, Hurst very much plays his team on the counter-attack. That was evident in the semi-final when beating Charlton 1-0 in both games. Save for a 15-minute spell at The Valley, Shrewsbury were never in any doubt over the 180 minutes.

Don't be put off by backing outsider of the two

Looking at the outright match odds, it's staggering how Shrewsbury once again have been chalked up as the far bigger of the two. Time and time again this season (and I have mentioned it plenty of times in my League One dispatches) the Shrews were constantly underrated.

We saw over the course of the campaign that Hurst's side would generally be around the [2.40] mark at home despite their excellent record. Indeed, away from the Meadow, they were a Draw No Bet dream - often overpriced and underrated.

It seems they have been written off again and [3.70] is a massive price for a team that clocked up 87 points.

A common theme throughout the ten months for both sets of players has been their relentless fitness and drive. Shrewsbury have often been labelled the fittest team in the division - although I wouldn't have Rotherham too far behind.

Those qualities will overcome more technical aspects of the game (which was evident in the Charlton matches), as both have strong mentalities and out-run opponents with their power. Hurst said as much about the victories over the Londoners this week.

Therefore my thinking here is that we have two similar teams who both play on the counter. With [2.40] for Rotherham against [3.70] for Town, I am never put off by the outsider of the two in this division.

In-Play traders to side with draw?

The fact that Hurst has said we shouldn't expect "five-star entertainment" leads to a potential in-play trade on the Draw at [3.35]. Indeed, the market looks as though that outcome could be the pick for most people - and therefore the price should contract and shorten the quickest without an early goal.

We can back that play up with Shrewsbury's impressive first-half stats. They conceded just 15 goals in the first 45 minutes during the regular season (and kept two clean sheets in both playoff games). Only Wolves equalled that in the EFL - so we know they can defend.

Using the trade for the draw doesn't just limit to the 0-0 of course, so we might be able to nick a point and more with the trade. So even at 1-0, we wouldn't mind an equaliser.

With a close game anticipated, I like the "Method Of Victory" markets. Head to the Sportsbook for these; with Rotherham at 8/1 to win on pens, and Shrewsbury 17/2.

Under 2.5 the bet, but not the price

With players eliminating risks and playing safe in finals, it's hardly a shock that the Under 2.5 is as short as [1.73]. Both play a back-four, and both know how to keep clean sheets. Rotherham collected 15 shutouts over the regular campaign, whilst Salop were better with 17 - thanks to their defence, and thanks to on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

As both are happy to defend and hit on the break, it's no surprise the 2.5 is so short for dipping under. I like the bet, but I don't like the price. Too often I have been stung by going Under 1.5 instead, and whilst the price is tempting at [2.96], I am happy to leave it alone.

The other option could be the Shrewsbury Clean Sheet 'Yes' or Rotherham Clean Sheet 'Yes', but both markets had little liquidity at the time of writing, so have a scan to see what you can get.

Nolan could be in the mood for scoring?

Rotherham carry the greater goal threat and I really like the way forward Michael Smith can give opposing centre-halves a hard time. His hold-up play is fully tuned-in to how the Millers set-up in their 4-1-4-1. He may only have six goals since joining from Bury in January, but his play is more important than his reward. I would probably want a bit more bang for the buck than [6.0].

No-nonsense Rotherham skipper Richard Wood has a knack of scoring important goals from the back. He netted from a long-throw in the 2-0 return game against Scunthorpe at the New York. Whilst Joe Newell has been involved in 16 goals this term (scored eight and eight assists).

Expect around [20.0] on Wood and [8.0] on Newell.

Shrewsbury's Carlton Morris led the line superbly against Charlton, and also likes a tackle!

However, the combination of Shaun Whalley and Jon Nolan on the break works well. Whalley has a nice left foot and has eight goals and 12 assists. He often looks for his great mate Nolan - who scored that wonderful volley in the first game at Charlton. Morris may have ten goals, but Nolan is a tricky, impish sort of player that can produce a moment of quality. I could be tempted by Nolan at around [9.0].

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