Two teams in contrasting form meet at Deepdale today, with League One Preston evens favourites to beat League Two’s Southend United.
However, the Shrimpers’ price of 9/4 for the win in 90 minutes looks extremely tempting given the momentum taken into the tie by the team in the lower division.
The fact Southend are more likely to score in the second half than the first – 20 of their 32 league goals have come after the interval – suggests the Shrimpers are more likely to edge ahead in the closing stages of the game.
A run of 11 wins and a draw from their last 12 matches has propelled Southend into the area semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and first place in the league with a two-point cushion over second-placed Crawley.
Preston, meanwhile, have not won a game in normal time since 27th September and are priced at evens to secure victory, with the draw at 12/5.
This run has lasted for nine matches, with their only successes during this period coming by way of penalty shootout in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
With the pre-season promotion hopefuls languishing in 13th place, the early pointers are that next year they will be playing in the same division as their opponents today.
And with odds of 9/4 meaning a successful £25 free bet is worth £81.25, Southend should be backed to get the win and provide an early indication that they can compete with teams in a higher league.
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Other bets to consider include one on there being over 3.5 goals in the match given this has been the case in five of Preston’s last six matches.
Southend’s form in front of goal should also help to ensure there are at least four goals, with the Shrimpers having netted at least twice in nine of their last 11 fixtures.
This makes odds of 31/20 on there being at least four goals good value.
Finally, the fact Southend are more likely to score in the second half than the first – 20 of their 32 league goals have come after the interval – suggests the Shrimpers are more likely to edge ahead in the closing stages of the game.
A draw/Southend result in the half time/full time market could therefore be a good option at odds of 27/4.
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