Brighton and Derby declare play-off season open tonight at the Amex Stadium, with the Seagulls 7/5 favourites to forge a first-leg lead.
Don’t be deceived by this sizeable offering, though, with the stats mounting up in support of the visitors, who could and should be backed at 19/10.
Open an account at bwin.com today and the boys in black and gold will fatten your wallet with a £30 free bet.
Take a riskless punt on the Rams and trouser a £57 profit if they claim the spoils on the south coast.
Read on for the rationale that says the east Midlanders will take command of this semi-final:
The formbook is weighted heavier in Derby’s favour.
Steve McClaren’s men won five of their final six fixtures, which meant they finished a massive 13 points ahead of sixth-placed Brighton.
They plundered 14 goals across this victorious quintet, scoring at least twice in every outing.
Their next adversaries have lost each home game in which they’ve conceded twice this term, so should Derby’s goal gluttony come to the fore again victory will surely follow.
Based on points amassed on the homestead alone, Brighton would have finished the regular season in mid-table.
A humdrum 11th is where Oscar Garcia’s outfit would currently sit were the table comprised on home records alone, with six sides besting them at base camp.
Half of the slaying six – a not-exactly-exclusive fraternity of which Derby are a member – were inducted across Brighton’s final eight home games, suggesting the Amex isn’t anything close to the stronghold they need it to be to advance to the final.
The Seagulls arrived in last season’s play-offs in similar shape, but flopped spectacularly.
Four wins from their final five matches of the 2012/13 campaign
rendered Brighton the force to be feared in last year’s fatal four-way, but they capitulated emphatically against Crystal Palace, failing to score in either leg and losing 2-0 at home.
They triumphed in as many of their closing six this time around, which Derby must consider as a strong omen.