Brighton v Newcastle
Saturday April 27, 17:30
Live on BT Sport
Brighton's gameplan looks all wrong
I'm not sure Brighton will have too much sympathy from neutral fans if they end up being relegated.
They surprisingly lost back-to-back games a couple of weeks ago but since then their policy of playing for 0-0 without showing any sort of attacking intent at all is like something out of a manual for a Maltese team travelling to Juventus in the 1980s.
They just about pulled it off away at Wolves and almost did again at White Hart Lane but it's not the sort of gameplan that often yields results, let alone admirers. Still, it served us well given it pointed to a low-scoring win for Spurs on Tuesday, which is what we got.
Glenn Murray was rested in midweek- presumably in preparation for this game - but he's looked out of sorts for a while now.
Is Benitez's reign coming to an end?
The smart money is on Rafa Benitez leaving at the end of the season when his contract expires. The Newcastle hierarchy would be well-advised to make sure that doesn't happen. He may lack the charisma and entertaining presence in press conferences that others boast but he gets the job done and few know this league like him.
If he does leave, he can leave with his head held high. On a shoestring budget and with not much in terms of player quality in his squad to start with, he avoided the drop once again by playing smart football and getting the most out of the players he had.
Whoever is in charge next season should make securing Salomon Rondon on a permanent deal a priority. He scores goals and just makes life easy for those playing around him with hard work and the ability to hold the ball up.
If I was a bookmaker, one of the first things I'd throw out of the window is this idea that a team who needs a result is so much more likely to get it. This match is a case in point.
Brighton- who are 17th on 34 points and have lost their last three Premier League games while scoring none and conceding eight - are just 13/10 to win the game.
Newcastle, who are 13th, on 41 points and have won their last two league matches, are 9/4. That doesn't make much sense.
It's not just how poor results have been for Brighton of late; it's their negative mindset that's as much a problem as anything. And it's a hard mentality to get out of.
We simply can't go with Brighton at that price so the draw - which would probably suit both teams anyway - would be the smartest selection of the three at 2/1.
You can back under 2.5 goals at 1/2 and that's probably the safest bet on offer in this match. It would have paid out in three of the last four games between these two at Brighton and in five of Brighton's last seven, which includes a 1-0 loss to Man City in the FA Cup.
It would also have been a winner in eight of Newcastle's last 11 games.
But it could pay to be a bit more adventurous. Three of Newcastle's last 11 ended with under 1.5 goals, as did four of Brighton's last seven. So did two of the last four between these two in Sussex.
All things considered, if the stats suggest this could be low-scoring and so does common sense: that might just be what we get.
Under 1.5 Goals is 7/4.
Given we think there should be few goals here, we're hardly going to be steaming into multiple players to get one. But let's have a look.
Murray, just 7/5 to score, can be dismissed straight away. He hasn't scored at home in any of his last 10 matches.
That man Rondon is 23/10 and though it's been four without a goal for him, he always has at least one clear-cut chance a game.
As Opta point us, Rondon is their second-highest scorer, with the honour of top gun going to Ayoze Perez, his tally strongly boosted by a hat-trick last time out against Southampton.
He also scored in the game before that. It makes the 10/3 on him scoring a decent wager but if we believe (which we do) that goals might be at a premium, the 8/1 he scores first is arguably the better choice.
You can always put two or more selections together in a same-game multi if you wish.
Going with Newcastle or Draw on the double chance market (8/13) and under 2.5 goals (1/2) looks a pretty safe option and would pay out at odds of 2.31.