A game in hand for these two Championship strugglers, and the winners are effectively safe from relegation, though a point would take both one significant step closer to retaining second-tier status for 2023-24. So, will we see a stalemate, or will one of these sides be brave enough to attack the game, knowing how valuable all three points would be?
Rotherham’s Tough Run
On paper, Rotherham aren’t in great form having taken two points from the last 12 available. In that time though, Matt Taylor’s side have faced play-off candidates Norwich, play-off shoe-ins Luton and runaway leaders Burnley, as well as going to Bristol City.
The Millers were competitive for large portions of each of those games, and while they haven’t quite been able to string two good halves of football together, that’s understandable given the financial disparity between themselves and some of their opponents. That recent form is the obvious reason for them being priced at 2/1 with Betfred to win this game.
The South Yorkshire outfit continue to rely on star goalkeeper Viktor Johansson, who looks close to a Sweden call-up if he gets the right move this summer, while January recruits Domingos Quina, Tariqe Fosu and Jordan Hugill have all made a difference.
Quina has added some extra quality to Rotherham’s attack, Fosu can hold onto the ball in dangerous areas as if the ball were glued to his boot, while Hugill has brought strength and industry. Hugill could be a tempting bet for first goalscorer at 8/1 with Bet365 after spending a period of last season on loan with the Bluebirds.
After a tough run of fixtures, the Millers now have a better chance of adding to their tally with Cardiff and Wigan to come in their final three games. It’s perhaps no surprise with their remaining fixtures, a superior goal difference compared to teams lower-placed, and with the club in 19th position that they are relegation outsiders at 59/5 with Betfair.
Cardiff could afford to be cautious in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke because the previous Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Watford took some of the heat off Sabri Lamouchi’s side in their survival battle. The club are now ranked at 54/5 with Betfair to suffer the drop down to League One.
With Reading losing 2-1 at Coventry on Saturday, the Bluebirds are three points clear of the drop with a superior goal difference, and have a game in hand.
The capital club didn’t go all out for victory, and Lamouchi opted for a back-three, having favoured a four up until mid-April, now favouring the security of an extra centre-back.
The situation for Cardiff and Rotherham is that a draw would mean they could rubber-stamp survival before the final day.
If the spoils were shared, both would be mathematically guaranteed to finish above bottom-placed Wigan, and therefore would only need to find two more teams to complete an unbridgeable lead over.
As such, Cardiff would require at least two of the following three scenarios to occur in the subsequent four days to complete the mission:
- Blackpool fail to beat Millwall
- Matching or bettering Reading’s result against Wigan when they play Huddersfield
- They avoid defeat against Huddersfield
In Rotherham’s case, the state of play would be very similar – they’d need two of the following three to happen:
- As above
- Matching or bettering the above when they play Middlesbrough
- The above AND they avoid defeat against Middlesbrough
This set of permutations looks very favourable for both teams, because not only is there a fair chance that Blackpool don’t beat Millwall, leaving just one more scenario needed to tick off, numbers two and three are closely entwined.
Cardiff avoiding defeat against Huddersfield, and Rotherham avoiding defeat against Middlesbrough, in three, would directly influence two.
In short, the above are an appealing set of permutations to go into the penultimate weekend with and, consciously or otherwise, that may linger in the mind. It certainly explains why Reading are 4/7 and Huddersfield are 2/1 to face relegation out of the Championship this season.
Rotherham vs Cardiff City Betting Tips
In the position Rotherham and Cardiff are in, it’s possible both will have a mentality of trying to protect their current position rather than climb much higher. In fact, it’s arguable that the difference in terms of implications for either side is almost greater between no points and one point than it is between one and three. This could be a tight one. Here are my top football betting tips for the game:
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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