Though last weekend’s FA Cup third round made a mockery of some clubs’ Championship standings (stand up Wolves and Cardiff), it also showed that others could play above their current level.
Brighton & Hove Albion kicked off round three by knocking out Premier League Newcastle United, while rivals Crystal Palace did equally well to hold top division form side Stoke City at the same time as play-off rivals Middlesbrough dismissed lower-league opposition with the efficiency of a side headed for the top flight.
With all three teams mounting promotion campaigns, these results should only give them further confidence to produce three-goal games when they face Derby County, Burnley and Watford respectively this weekend.
Over 2.5 goals in Brighton v Derby @ 83/100
Albion beat Europa League challengers Newcastle with something to spare last week and as Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley have avoided transfer speculation thus far, Gus Poyet will fancy his team’s chances of getting more goals when they host Derby.
The Rams ran up the goals themselves last weekend, hitting five against League One leaders Tranmere, so Nigel Clough will expect his team to offer an attacking threat at the Amex, meaning a 30th three-goal game featuring either side is a distinct possibility.
Over 2.5 goals in Burnley v Crystal Palace @ 3/4
Having earned themselves an away replay at Stoke with a solid performance last weekend, former Championship leaders Palace must first travel to Turf Moor in a bid to further their title challenge.
That double shut-out against the Premier League side was a real rarity for Ian Holloway’s team, who have scored in all bar one of their league matches this campaign and have featured in more over 2.5 goal games than any other side in the division (19).
Burnley have hardly been scoring slouches themselves, striking every 55 minutes at home, and with the Clarets’ 20-goal hitman Charlie Austin going up against the only man to outscore him this season, Palace’s Glenn Murray, surely more goals are in store.
Over 2.5 goals in Middlesbrough v Watford @ 31/50
Boro’s four-goal dismissal of Hastings showed the signs of a team confident at home and playing with much more attacking intent this season.
Indeed, that was the 21st game in all competitions where Boro fans have seen three goals or more and as they welcome a Watford side who’ve conceded seven in their last two games, a 22nd doesn’t look out of the question at all.