Tony Mowbray may not appreciate the music of Bon Jovi, but the Middlesbrough boss could well be “Livin’ on a Prayer” come Saturday, with his men needing nothing less than a win against Watford to stand any chance of making the Championship play-offs.
With relegation decided and Fat Sam’s West Ham clinging on to hopes of a Premier League return at the expense of Southampton, much of the attention could be on events at Vicarage Road.
Boro are available at 29/20 to claim victory and will need to do so and then hope Cardiff City lose against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in order to maintain their hopes of a top-flight return.
Goals remain at a premium for Mowbray’s men, though, with a total of 51 in 45 games placing Boro as the league’s 15th-highest scorers – hardly the stuff of promotion campaigns.
The Teesiders have particularly struggled in the early stages of league games, with first-half goals proving rarer than a Michael Ricketts England cap.
Boro come into this match having gone in 0-0 at half-time in four of their last five league games and could prove a shrewd punt for a repeat here at odds of 9/5, particularly for those using bwin’s free £25 bet for registering to enjoy winnings of £70.
Ultimately though, Boro have reason to be confident of victory following a creditable win over Southampton last time out and particularly against a Watford side without a win in five Championship games.
In their previous meeting with the Hornets, the Teesiders came away with a 1-0 victory at the Riverside and at odds of 29/4, a repeat scoreline could make for a good bet this time round.
After all, Middlesbrough have scored exactly one goal in each of their last five away games in the Championship, including a 1-0 win over Derby in their last outing on the road.
Watford, meanwhile, have little to play for in this one with their hopes of a late play-off run dashed but they are also priced at 9/5 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
Much of their decline has stemmed from a recent run of four score draws and while odds of 11/5 on a stalemate here may seem tempting, those believing that the Hornets may have a sting in their tail could be more inclined to bank on both teams to score at 18/25.
Whatever the case, the Teesiders will be hoping Crystal Palace shatter Cardiff hopes come Saturday.
Recommended bet: Middlesbrough to beat Watford @ 9/5 Outside punt: Middlesbrough to beat Watford 1-0 @ 29/4
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