Chris Hughton's Brighton travel to Neil Warnock's Cardiff for Saturday's live lunchtime game and our man fancies the Seagulls to fly home with all three points. Read Steve Rawlings' take on the first live Premier League action of the weekend here...
“Cardiff have lost four of their last five at home and their only success all season came against a Fulham side in freefall. It’s just over a year since Brighton took all three points at Swansea and I can see them enjoying their trip to South Wales this time around too. The Seagulls are value at an industry-wide best of 21/10 with the Sportsbook.”
Cardiff v Brighton
Saturday 10 November 2018, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports
Cardiff in trouble after sorry start to the season
A 4-2 win at home to failing Fulham three weeks ago could have kick-started Cardiff's sorry season but away to Liverpool and at home to Leicester, following the appalling helicopter tragedy at the King Power Stadium a week earlier, weren't ideal fixtures to follow the win and any momentum gained has since been lost.
To their credit, Cardiff put up a fight at Anfield and it took goals in the 84th and 87th minutes to properly separate the two sides and to see the game end 4-1 in favour of the title challengers, and they were only beaten 1-0 at home by the Foxes.
That result could be misleading though. It's difficult to quantify how hard a game that was for Leicester and the visitors should have gone ahead before the break when (unseen by the ref) Cardiff's Sol Bamba denied Jamie Vardy a goal by pushing the ball on to the bar with his hand. Leicester had the majority of possession and they were the better side.
Cardiff have now lost seven of their last eight in the Premier League and the only games in which they've not conceded were at the beginning of the season when they drew nil-nil with both Newcastle and Huddersfield - two sides that have been really struggling for goals all season. The Bluebirds are long odds-on for the drop now and it's hard to argue a case for them avoiding it.
Solid Seagulls seeking fourth win in five
Brighton travel to South Wales after a 3-1 defeat on Merseyside last weekend, thanks in part to an uncharacteristic mistake by the usually rock-solid Lewis Dunk. Everton are always hard to beat at Goodison Park though and their manager, Marco Silva, described the Toffees performance as their best at home this season. After three wins in-a-row, a bump in the road wasn't a big surprise for Brighton.
Prior to their visit to Goodison, a 1-0 away win at Newcastle had been sandwiched in-between two 1-0 home wins against West Ham and Wolves and those three victories had followed a decent hard-working performance at the Etihad where they went down 2-0 to Manchester City.
Brighton don't travel well as a rule and they've now won just one of their last 19 on the road but they're beginning to look and play like an experienced Premier League outfit. They're very well organised defensively and while the evergreen Glenn Murray is still scoring (only Eden Hazard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sergio Aguero have scored more this season) they're a force to be reckoned with. Murray's in search of his seventh of the season on Saturday, which would see him draw alongside the aforementioned trio.
Stats point to a tight affair but Brighton the value
This is the first time these two sides have met in the top-flight of English football but it will be their 68th meeting overall and they've been hard to split historically. Cardiff have won 22 and Brighton 23 but the visitors have lost just one of the last 11 league encounters.
Draws between the two have been commonplace of late and I was tempted to play the stalemate but I rate Brighton higher than the market does and Hughton's record against Cardiff manager, Neil Warnock, just tips the scales in favour of a wager on the away side. The two managers have met in the league on five previous occasions and Hughton has never seen his side concede against a Warnock team, and he's won four of the five encounters.
Cardiff have lost four of their last five at home and their only success all season came against a Fulham side in freefall. It's just over a year since Brighton took all three points at Swansea and I can see them enjoying their trip to South Wales this time around too. The Seagulls are value at an industry-wide best 21/10 with the Sportsbook.
Goals should be in short supply
Cardiff don't score many and Brighton don't concede so it's no surprise at all to see Under 2 ½ Goals is the long odds-on favourite. Only once in their last eight meetings in the Championship did the net bulge more than twice when these two teams met and Hughton will again look to set up tight against Warnock's men so it's very hard to envisage anything like a goal-fest. Under 2 ½ Goals is definitely the play but I'm happy to combine it with the Same Game Multi option...
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays a bit more, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. Last week I highlighted Callum Wilson and Anthony Martial to score and a draw in the Bournemouth - Manchester United game at odds of just over 40/1 and that was only thwarted in injury time so big rewards for small stakes are definitely there for the taking.
I'm not being quite so ambitious this week but I quite like Brighton to win and Under 2 ½ Goals, which pays £5.38 for a £1 stake, as well as Brighton to win, Under 2 ½ Goals and Glenn Murray To Score, which pays a juicy £11.96 for a £1 stake.
Staked: 38 ½ pts
P/L: +0.11 pts