Having hauled themselves into the Championship promotion shake-up with solid starts to the season, both Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United suddenly look at risk of undoing all their good work.
Despite their midweek heroics against Southampton in the Capital One Cup, Neil Warnock’s side have won just one in five league games to slip from sixth to 11th, while the Seagulls’ slide has been even more dramatic, going winless in the last six to fall from the top of the table to tenth.
Those statistics make the Friday-night showdown between the pair at the Amex Stadium even more important and despite their lack of form, Gus Poyet’s hosts are 19/20 favourites in bwin’s 3Way betting market, with the draw at 23/10 and an away win priced at 14/5.
At the heart of Albion’s drop-off in performances has been a major decline in their goalscoring. Just two goals have been mustered in those past six outings and it’s 16/5 for Brighton to draw another blank here.
Leeds have also hit a dry patch of late, with their goal average dropping from 3.6 per game over the first ten matches to 1.8 in their last five, so it’s worth backing another low-scoring affair and under 2.5 goals is at a decent 3/4.
With a lack of goals on the horizon, opening the scoring will be key and that’s an area in which Leeds have specialised so far this term, striking first in 14 of their matches – they are 6/4 to break the deadlock again at the Amex.
However, they have also developed an alarming habit of letting those leads slip (the midweek cup upset aside), which makes lead-draw in the run of play market another enticing option at 333/100.
Interestingly, that’s exactly what happened in this fixture last season, when the Whites surrendered a two-goal advantage before scoring a last-minute equaliser to secure a thrilling 3-3 draw.
Anyone joining bwin.com today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on the lead-draw selection – which amounts to backing any score draw – would return £86.60 if successful.
However, it will surely be tighter than that six-goal classic on this occasion and punters looking for added value above the bets suggested above should consider taking a price of 21/4 on a 1-1 draw, which has been the result in two of both teams’ previous five matches.