The second leg of the Championship play-off Semi-Final between Middlesbrough and Coventry is set to kick-off at 8pm BST on Wednesday night from the Riverside Stadium. It’s a tie that is finely balanced after a 0-0 draw in the first leg but it certainly feels like the advantage is with the home team coming into this one. Here are my football betting tips for the big game.
Boro Set to Bounce Back?
The general feeling around the Football League this season is that Michael Carrick’s appointment as Middlesbrough manager was a stroke of genius by owner Steve Gibson. The club have been playing an attractive brand of attacking football and, at one point, looked like they had the potential to pip Sheffield United to the second automatic promotion spot. It is now 4 games without a win though.
Fast forward to now and there is still that feeling that Carrick is the man to help Middlesbrough bounce back to the big time. The team are 6/4 favourites with Unibet to earn promotion via the play-offs. The 0-0 draw at the Coventry Building Society Arena in the first leg saw Boro not only keep Coventry at bay but prevent their opponents from having a single shot on target. Based on that stat, it’s tempting to back Middlesbrough to win to nil at 9/4 with Bet365.
This is a Middlesbrough team that only suffered 3 losses from 23 home league games this season. So it’s no surprise that the club are 17/20 with Betfair to win this second leg and progress to the Final at the end of the month. I still feel that striker Chuba Akpom is the man who could be the difference. The former Arsenal man needs 1 more goal to hit 30 goals across all competitions this season and is decent value at 11/8 to score anytime with William Hill.
Missed Opportunity for Sky Blues
Coventry experienced an encouraging run of results at the back end of the league season to confirm their play-off spot on the final day of the season. Mark Robins has done a sterling job to get the Sky Blues from the brink of the abyss in League Two and back up into a position where they are vying for a place in the Premier League next season. The team aren’t fancied by the bookies though with Robins’ side priced at 15/4 to win this game with Bet365 and, therefore, 5/1 outsiders with BetVictor to win the play-offs.
A failure to even get a shot on target was disappointing for Coventry in the first leg at home. Especially with the prolific Viktor Gyokeres leading the line. The giant Swedish international has bagged 20 league goals this season but didn’t even come close to breaking the deadlock on the weekend. It was a level of attacking impotency that makes even the odds of Evens on a Coventry double chance look poor value.
The narrative that Robins will no doubt be providing his team with is that his players are now undefeated in 8 games including having managed to get two draws against Middlesbrough in their last two meetings over the past couple of weeks. The team picked up a 1-1 draw in the final league game of the season away to Middlesbrough so they know they can do it.
As mentioned above, these two sides are very familiar with each other with this set to be the third meeting between the two teams in 9 days. The last two encounters have ended in draws and it’s now three meetings without a win for Coventry so it’s looking ominous.
It’s also worth stating how tight these fixtures have been over recent times. Less than 2.5 goals have been scored in the last 5 head-to-head meetings. Given the tight circumstances of this tie, there is a belief that this game could go the same way.
Middlesbrough vs Coventry Betting Tips
The first leg was an exceedingly cautious game from both sides. It felt like Carrick’s side didn’t want to risk giving up a goal and maybe Robins’ men lacked the confidence to go for it themselves? I have a feeling the dynamics of the game will be different here.
I fully expect Middlesbrough to get the job done and I think they have enough attacking qualities to ensure they do it. Coventry shouldn’t be underestimated because they are a well-oiled side under Robins but it just feels like there is a gap in quality. Middlesbrough couldn’t quite get the win on the weekend but I think they should see it through here.
Middlesbrough to Win @ 17/20 with Betfair
Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 10/11 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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