If ever a club needed a home win, then Portsmouth must surely fit the bill. On Saturday, Steve Cotterill’s men return to Fratton Park after two defeats on the road, in desperate need of revamping a season that has taken a turn for the worse. Despite the arrival of yet another set of investors during the summer, Pompey find themselves in 19th place, having racked up a mere six points from seven games with an emaciated – albeit talented – side.
Though they are slight favourites at 27/20 to win their next encounter against Blackpool – a side they haven’t lost to since 1974 – the odds for an away win are surprisingly good: at 19/10 (with a draw at 11/5), expect the Tangerines to cause some trouble against a team that has already lost two home fixtures this season, including a humiliating elimination in the Carling Cup at the hands of League Two scrappers Barnet.
With Portsmouth winning a mere eight times at home last season, Ian Holloway’s outfit must fancy their chances.
They beat both Newcastle and Liverpool on the road last season, and will look to continue their recent run of good form, having not lost since August. Whatever happens, expect a tight first half, with less than 1.5 goals being rated at 2/5. Only two of Blackpool’s goals have been scored in the opening 45 minutes, with Pompey only grabbing one.
The second half, however, will be a different affair. Blackpool’s last victory over Pompey saw five goals – an appropriate theme for this encounter. At 12/5, it is quite likely that both sides will trouble the scorer more than 3.5 times over the full 90 minutes.
Unfortunately for Cotterill’s men, they will have to do without joint top-scorer Luke Varney, who received a red card for a naive tackle at the KC Stadium. Without his creativity, Portsmouth might just struggle to score at home, something they’ve only done twice in four games since the start of August. At 5/2, it’s an attractive proposition, as is betting on Blackpool to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0, which is interestingly priced at 4/1.
Ian Holloway’s men will have no such problems in front of goal – 9/1 says they’ll win in a high-scoring game (more than 3.5 goals). Is it too much of a punt? Not really: Pompey’s defence might put in some decent performances, but it can’t make up for the midfield’s masochistic tendencies (two red cards in two games), nor indeed the lack of cover given to the back four: Hull bombarded Jamie Ashdown’s goal with a series of long-range efforts, whilst West Ham’s wingers were given too much time and space in front of the defence, and eventually managed to create two crucial goals. bwin offers new customers a free £25 bet, and those odds of 9/1 will see a return of £250.
Whilst Steve Cotterill is a much underrated tactician, and will be happy to welcome back captain Liam Lawrence, he will be up against the likes of Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod, two players who slice up defences for fun, not to mention Kevin Phillips and his current run of form. The latter has netted five times already this season, including an outrageous effort against Cardiff. You might as well call him God’s gift to promotion chasers, seeing as he’s already taken three teams up. With that kind of a CV, Blackpool will surely fancy their chances.
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.