The Championship enters its final days of the season this week and there is a big game coming up on Monday evening with Blackburn vs Luton in a 5:30pm BST kick-off from Ewood Park. The Hatters are playing to have momentum when they get into the play-offs, while Rovers are playing to get into them full stop. The Lancashire club are out of form, but with few of their immediate rivals being exactly in form, they still have an outside chance.
Blackburn’s Drop in Form
If watching bitter rivals Burnley celebrate winning the Championship title on their own turf won’t rattle Blackburn cages, nothing will. Jon Dahl Tomasson’s charges had drawn four games in succession before that result, but defeat leaves them seven league games without a win, and with that kind of form, perhaps it’s miraculous that they’re still in with a shot at the play-offs. Bookmaker William Hill have them listed at 33/1 to gain promotion this season which is probably a fair assessment right now.
The teams that have been up there for much of the season, Watford and Norwich, are dropping like a stone, and the teams currently in form, Coventry and Sunderland, are more recent entrants to the play-off shake-up.
That gives Blackburn a chance, and Tomasson can take heart from his side’s midweek performance, in which the Lancashire outfit dictated large parts of hosting one of the best second-tier sides of all time (don’t look at us like that, Rovers fans!). Rovers are listed at 13/10 with Betfred to win this one off the back of that performance.
Luton Tough to Beat
It might seem obvious to suggest Luton may drop off their levels in the final two games now their automatic promotion chances are gone, and their top six spot is booked in. The bookies are fancying the 3rd placed team to rival Middlesbrough for promotion at odds of 5/2 with Bet365.
The Hatters though have known this fate seemed a likely one for much of the last three months, and in that time they’ve lost just one of 19 league games – that defeat coming to runaway champions Burnley – conceding only nine goals in that time. It does feel that odds of 9/4 with SpreadEx for an away win here are a little tempting.
Rob Edwards beat Middlesbrough 2-1 last time out, making one of the best teams in the league look rather ordinary, as the defensive core of Tom Lockyer, Amari’i Bell and Marvellous Nakamba continues to excel.
The Tactics Board
The irony of Blackburn’s recent drop-off in results is that it has coincided with the best football they have played under Tomasson’s watch.
Adam Wharton has been outstanding in midfield, bringing assurance in possession, improving their use of the ball over longer periods, as opposed to relying on counter-attacks as they have at other stages, while an attacking quartet of Ryan Hedges, Sammie Szmodics, Ben Brereton-Diaz and Tyrhys Dolan can create chances – they’ve simply missed a ruthless goalscoring presence, not helped by a significant drop-off from Brereton-Diaz from last season. The Chilean striker is still 5/1 with Boylesports to be first scorer compared to the thriving Carlton Morris who is 6/1 with Bet365.
It’s plausible that Rovers will have some good periods in this game, but will they be clinical enough to take them, against such a resolute Hatters defence? Luton are priced at 9/2 with Paddy Power to keep a fourth clean sheet in 7 league games.
Blackburn vs Luton Betting Tips
Under 1.5 goals would have landed in seven (54%) of Blackburn’s last 13 league games, and eight (47%) of Luton’s last 17, so 12/5 quotes look generous, while no goalscorer can be backed at 13/2. It feels like this will be a closely fought game given the situation of both teams and given their previous track records of low-scoring affairs. Rovers do need the win but is there any more gas left in the tank to break down this resolute Luton back-line?
Under 1.5 Goals Scored @ 12/5 with Betfair
No Goalscorer @ 13/2 with Betfair
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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