Brighton v Southampton: Seagulls and Saints set for seaside stalemate
Brighton have lost just one of their last five in all competitions and Southampton are looking for their third win in four. Will either side give way in Saturday's south coast sizzler?
“Over 2 ½ goals at getting on for 6/4 looks fair but I prefer Yes in the Both Teams to Score market at odds-against. So far this season, both teams have found the net in 57% of Brighton’s home games and in 53% of Southampton’s away games.”
Brighton v Southampton
Saturday March 30, 15:00
Wembley-bound Seagulls back to winning ways
Brighton's promising Premier League campaign hit the buffers hard after they secured back-to-back victories against Huddersfield (away) and Crystal Palace (home) in the space of four days at the start of December. Relegation had looked all but an impossibility and they were matched at a high of [70.0] to return to the Championship after their second season back in the top-flight but a run of just one victory (at home to Everton) in 12 matches saw their price plummet to a low of [3.05].
Throughout that poor run, the F.A Cup provided solace for Seagulls supporters and progression to the last-eight, following victories against Bournemouth, West Brom and Derby, gave the side enough of a lift to again beat Huddersfield and Palace at the start of this month.
Following their late late show in the Cup at the Den against Millwall, where they won on penalties having trailed 2-0 up until the 88th minute, Brighton have now lost just one of their last five in all competitions and they're back out to [60.0] in the Relegation market.
The Seagulls are starting to look fairly safe again and three points on Saturday would be a fine fillip ahead of their semi-final with Manchester City next weekend.
Saints seek safety ahead three tricky tussles
Southampton's final three Premier League games will be at home to Bournemouth, away to West Ham and at home to Huddersfield, so even if they find themselves deep in the mire (currently 16th and three points behind Brighton), their last few fixtures offer hope of an escape, should they still need any.
The Saints are now trading at around [23.0] for the drop, having been matched at a low of [3.0], so like Saturday's opponents, they're starting to look safe, but with Liverpool and Wolves at home next on the agenda, and trips to Newcastle and Watford following, Saint's supremo, Ralph Hasenhüttl, will be targeting this match for three crucial points, as they bid to hang on to their Premier League status.
Southampton have been solid if not spectacular under Mark Hughes' mid-season replacement, with his harrying and hustling style starting to reap rewards, and they've won two of their last three in the Premier League, beating both Fulham and Spurs at St. Mary's. They haven't been as impressive on the road, but James Ward-Prowse has found some form in front of goal (scoring in his last three) and the Saints have found the net in four of their last six away from home, with only Chelsea and Arsenal shutting them out.
Given Hasenhüttl's reputation for demanding hard graft at all times, the international break may have done his side a bit of a favour and if they're fighting fit and ready to work their socks off again, Brighton won't get away with anything less than 100% effort as thoughts wander towards next Saturday's Cup encounter with City.
Tight affair just too tough to call
This is a difficult game to predict. With Wembley only a week away, there's definitely a possibility of a slight loss of focus by the home side and if I had to plump for one team over the other it would be Southampton, but as an indication of how closely these two teams are matched, two of Southampton's three away wins this season have come at Crystal Palace and Huddersfield - two sides Brighton have also beaten on the road. And like the Saints, Brighton have only managed three wins on the road all season.
For anyone hellbent on playing the outright market, almost by default, the draw looks the most plausible play, especially given all three previous Premier League encounters between the two have ended in stalemates (1-1 twice last season and 2-2 at St. Mary's in September) but I fancy the value sits in the side markets...
Both teams to score the value play
Brighton are stingy at home and somewhat bizarrely, fellow strugglers, Burnley, are the only team to score more than twice at the Amex this season. Only 43% of Premier League games there have yielded three or more goals and that would explain why Under 2 ½ in the Over/Under 2 ½ Goals market is trading at odds-on.
As highlighted above though, Southampton are starting to find the onion bag away from St.Mary's and given games involving the Saints this season have yielded at least three goals 60% of the time and that 53% of their away games have seen three or more scored, Over 2 ½ at getting on for 6/4 looks fair but I prefer Yes in the Both Teams to Score market at odds-against. So far this season, both teams have found the net in 57% of Brighton's home games and in 53% of Southampton's away games.
We saw in the Cup that Brighton are capable of fighting back, and in the reverse fixture in September they also came from two nil down to earn a point.
To their credit, Southampton came from one nil down to beat Spurs at Wembley in their last game but in their penultimate Premier League match, they lost to Manchester United 3-2, having been leading at half time and the Saints have lost more points (20) from leading positions than any other side in the division this season. Taking a small chance on Southampton-Draw and Southampton-Brighton in the Half Time/Full Time market might just pay rich rewards.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, Both Teams to Score and Charlie Austin to score against Brighton again (he's already scored seven against them - more than any other club) pays £4.87 for £1 stake.
Staked: 80.5 pts
Returned: 55.59 pts
P/L: -24.91 pts
2 pts Both Teams to Score @ [2.1]
½ pt Southampton-Draw @ [22.0]
½ pt Southampton-Brighton @ [50.0]