Having lost their place at the summit of the Championship table to Cardiff City, Ian Holloway will be keen to ensure that his Crystal Palace side don’t fall any further behind their promotion rivals as they head to Birmingham City.
Despite their lofty league position, the omens ahead of Saturday afternoon’s trip to St Andrews do not look good for the Eagles, as a delve into recent results between the two clubs shows that the London side have lost on seven of their last eight visits to the second city.
And while that historical data could be considered irrelevant, what cannot be ignored is that Palace have collected only one point from their last two away games in the league, with the defeat to Leeds United in late November bringing a magnificent 14-match unbeaten run to an abrupt end.
Although this all sounds rather worrying for Holloway’s team, they are still the favourites to claim the three points in bwin’s 3-way betting market at 6/4.
This comes as no great shock as Birmingham have managed only one win in their last six games and just six victories in total over the course of the season so far, which is why Blues will start the game as 17/10 outsiders in front of their own fans, with the draw priced at 9/4 by the bwin bookies.
For Lee Clark’s men, 2012/13 has been a season of toil and very little joy as yet and even after picking up a rare win over Middlesbrough two weeks ago, they were soon brought back down to earth as they lost 1-0 to local rivals Wolves last weekend.
The defeat at Molineux leaves them languishing in 18th and unfortunately for a side that have conceded over one goal every game on average, they face the league’s second-highest scorers on Saturday.
Palace have only scored one less than Cardiff’s tally of 42 goals and are rightly priced at 1/4 to score and with City failing to score only twice in their last 11 outings, odds of 31/50 on both teams to score are realistically low.
With these two on the field, the chances are that there will be several goals for the spectators to enjoy as all but one of Palace’s last seven games have seen at least three goals and Birmingham’s previous two homes games have featured five goals.
The likelihood of over 2.5 goals being scored is priced at 83/100 by bwin, with over 3.5 goals potentially giving a stronger return at 2/1, or perhaps you fancy a third successive five-goal thriller at St Andrews, in which case you can get 9/2.
With goals seemingly inevitable on Saturday, it’s worth noting that both sides have scored a far greater proportion of their goals in the second half of games and in Crystal Palace’s case, they have notched 28 second-half goals compared to just 13 in the first 45 minutes.
My top bet for the game, then, is the 23/20 on more goals being scored after the interval than before it, which translates to winnings of £43 for new customers successfully backing it with their free £20 bet.