The semi-finals of the Championship play-offs are almost upon us and the first dreams are shortly to be dashed against the rocks of despair.
But whose will last longer and, for that matter, longest? Here’s how news.bwin.com believe that cookie will crumble.
Brentford not to score against Middlesbrough @ 33/20
As might be expected from a side managed by a Champions League-winning centre half, Boro had the Championship’s best home rearguard by an eight-goal margin.
Just 12 of the 37 they shipped came at the Riverside, suggesting it will take a gargantuan effort from Brentford/cock up from the Teessiders for the visitors to find the net here.
The theory is further supported by the evidence of the first leg, which saw the Bees pretty but ineffectual in front of red-clad wall for the majority of the fixture.
Having already been shut out twice this term by Aitor Karanka’s men, they only found the net thanks to a moment of madness from Boro stopper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Norwich win/Under 2.5 goals double @ 3/1
The Canaries arguably had the better of the first leg on enemy territory meaning they must be fancied to overcome an Ipswich side in sickly form on the road.
Two wins in their last ten outside Suffolk (one in the last seven), including a 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road, suggest the win they need could be beyond the Tractor Boys.
All three 2014/15 meetings between the rivals have seen two or fewer goals find the net, as have five of Norwich’s last seven home games, so the prophesised Canaries win be of the low scoring variety.
Middlesbrough to beat Norwich @ 6/4
Three seasons have gone by the play-off final last went the way of the team that deserved it most on the day, when Swansea triumphed 3-0 over Reading in 2011.
Since then West Ham were fortunate to justify favouritism against Blackpool, while Watford and Derby were hard done by to lose to Crystal Palace and Derby respectively.
Of our two projected finalists Boro’s defensively stringent qualities suggest they are by far the better equipped to be undeserved, or barely-deserved victors at Wembley.