They have been earning more attention in the business section than the sports pages of late, but beleaguered Championship side Portsmouth have a fighting chance of giving their fans some much-needed cause for celebration with a win over Leeds United this Saturday.
A ten-point penalty has plunged them into the relegation places but Pompey’s home win ratio of seven victories from 14 games at Fratton Park is befitting of a club challenging for the play-offs. That makes their 7/4 outsiders tag against an inconsistent Leeds side rather tempting.
Admittedly, much depends on the reaction of the squad to the club’s desperate financial plight. Many players might be getting increasingly worried at not having been paid since December.
The talk coming out of the club is one of determination, though, and the players certainly have a lot to play for – whether that be pride or attracting a new owner to the club who can pay their wages.
Their squad is comfortably good enough for the Championship, particularly a solid defence that is one of the division’s best (only conceding slightly more goals, 34, than top two West Ham and Southampton, who have both shipped 32).
Odds of 23/10 on Portsmouth to keep a clean sheet could appeal, but it is hard to believe that Leeds’ blistering attack (the third most prolific in the Championship with 52 goals in 32 matches) won’t find the net.
In Neil Warnock’s first full game in charge, expect the Leeds players to be fired up and eager to impress their new boss. But having won just one out of their past seven Championship away trips, odds of 3/2 against a Leeds win asks a lot of them.
The two sides’ determination to react to very different off-the-field events might well see them cancel each other out for a draw at 11/5.
Only seven points separated them at the start of January though and the current 23-point chasm only opened up because Pompey played five of their last six matches away from home and then suffered a ten-point deduction.
I give Pompey the edge and with Leeds likely to at least get on the scoresheet, a punt on a 2-1 home win looks excellent value at 9/1.
Football betting fans receive a free £25 bet for joining bwin.com and placing it on this scoreline would return a whopping £250 if it materalises on the south coast on Saturday.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Championship odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting