With both West Ham and Reading faltering of late, Southampton have been able to re-establish themselves as clear favourites for the Championship title.
But the Saints face a stern examination of their promotion credentials on Tuesday evening against the league’s toughest defence at the KC Stadium.
Hull City sit seventh in the table, one point outside the play-offs having conceded an average of just 0.78 goals per game this season and they actually boast a longer unbeaten run than their visitors.
The New Year had barely begun when Nick Barmby’s side last tasted defeat 12 games ago but seven draws in that time have hampered their play-off challenge.
It’s 21/10 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market for Hull to pick up another point, with a home win at 9/5 and a Southampton victory at 3/2.
The Tigers have often kept things tight until late on, with three-quarters of the goals against them coming after the break. With that in mind, it’s likely more goals in this game will come in the second half than the first at 6/5.
Hull’s strong defensive record will be severely put to the test by the top-scoring Saints, who’ve averaged nearly two goals a game in the Championship and in Rickie Lambert possess a striker who has 24 strikes to his name already.
The Tigers have often kept things tight until late on, with three-quarters of the goals against them coming after the break.
With that in mind, it’s likely more goals in this game will come in the second half than the first at 6/5, while punters should also consider under 0.5 goals in the first half at 7/4.
Even if Nigel Adkins’ side do breach Hull’s rearguard, it’s unlikely to be a high-scoring game as the Saints also keep things tight at the back (they’ve conceded less than a goal per game) and it’s 2/1 for under 1.5 goals in total.
Having said that, the reverse fixture earlier this season was one of just 12 times when both sides scored in a Hull game, finishing 2-1 to Southampton at St Mary’s.
Should Southampton manage to draw Hull into a more open game then they would be become favourites, given that the Tigers have failed to score in five of their last ten, meaning a Saints win with over 2.5 goals is also worth considering at 333/100.
However, I’m expecting Barmby’s men to prove as obdurate as ever this evening and my money will be on a sharing of the spoils at very presentable odds of 21/10.
Recommended bet: Hull and Southampton to draw @ 21/10
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