Blues can thwart Boro promotion charge, Tigers to trounce Trotters
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 28, 2016
Birmingham City v Middlesbrough
- Friday, April 29th
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- St Andrew’s, Birmingham
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Boro to baulk at Birmingham battlefield
A total of 26 points and seven places separate Middlesbrough and Birmingham City in the Championship table, but the duo have drawn in their last two meetings at St Andrew’s, so back a share of the spoils again at 14/5 with Coral.
While a point will be enough to put Boro back to the summit of the table for two days, it will do them no favours towards their hopes of securing automatic Premier League promotion with one game to go, as both Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion face home fixtures on Monday.
Middlesbrough are the odds-on 8/15 favourites for victory to end a run of two straight draws; while the Blues, who have nothing left to play for this season, are 5/1 chances.
The duo’s reverse fixture this term ended 0-0 at the Riverside and, with nerves no doubt running high, a goalless outcome once more is priced at 9/1. In fact, a red card is more probable for the Teesside team, with four of their players being sent off in as many matches against the Midlands men.
Rhodes can continue fine form
It seems that Boro’s chances of reaching the promised land, with or without going through the play-offs, hinge on star striker Jordan Rhodes, who has bagged 15 goals this season across spells at Blackburn Rovers and his new team.
The Scotland frontman has netted four times in his last six games against Birmingham, and so is a tempting 23/20 chance to score anytime again, and 3/1 to break the deadlock.
Dave Nugent and Gaston Ramirez are also tempting shouts at 7/5 and 13/8 in the former market respectively.
For the hosts, meanwhile, Clayton Donaldson tops the anytime market at 7/2 along with Norwich City loanee Kyle Lafferty, while James Vaughan is 4/1.
Bolton Wanderers v Hull City
- Saturday, April 30th
- Kick-off: 12:30 BST
- Macron Stadium, Bolton
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Tigers to belie bad record at Bolton
Going by history, confirmed relegated outfit Bolton Wanderers (6/1 chances for victory) should be able to take at least a point off Hull City (4/9 odds-on favourites), being undefeated against them in each of their last 19 home matches, since 1935.
However, the Tigers should be able to belie that woeful run against a team that has triumphed just four times in 44 appearances in the league this season. A draw, though, is 10/3.
Chuba Akpom was the match winner for Steve Bruce’s boys in the reverse fixture this campaign, and is 13/8 to score anytime again.
Hull to rely on attacking talent
But it is Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez who has bagged most of Hull’s goals this term, with 19 in the league. The 25-year-old is even-money in the anytime market and 3/1 for two or more.
Stars such as Sone Aluko (19/10), Mohamed Diame (21/10), Shaun Maloney (11/5) and Robert Snodgrass (23/10) will be looking to add to their tallies this term too.
With 40 goals this season, Bolton have actually scored more than fellow relegated clubs MK Dons and Charlton Athletic, largely thanks to frontmen Zach Clough and Gary Madine. You can back them at 14/5 and 7/2 respectively to strike anytime.
We can’t forget the iconic former England half-centurion Emile Heskey of course, so why not take odds of 7/2 for him to find the net?
Coral’s top tip: Back Birmingham and Boro to draw at awesome odds of 14/5 at St Andrew’s.