Derby County head into the Championship play-off final against QPR on the kind of winning streak that propelled Liverpool to within inches of the Premier League title earlier in May.
They’ve now won seven of their last eight matches and like Brendan Rodgers’ side their success this term has owed much to their ability to blast out of the blocks and catch opponents napping.
Liverpool would have been cosily top-flight kings if second halves had no bearing on their 2013/14 results and, like them, the Rams claimed the imaginary Championship first-half title this season.
Derby are 13/10 favourites for victory over the Super Hoops, who are 2/1 to take the spoils within regulation minutes, while an extra-time forcing draw is the outsider of the bunch at 11/5.
However, their ability to handle their business promptly suggests an 11/4 punt on the Pride Park outfit to be winning at both half-time and full-time is a bet worth talking.
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After all, the Rams won four more first halves than any other side in second-tier action last term, going on to land the odds on all bar five of the 21 occasions they did so.
In the midst of their recent winning streak, Derby’s HT/FT win record has stepped up a gear too, with the east midlanders leading at the interval and the death in six of those eight matches.
West London’s finest on the other hand would have missed out on the play-offs after ending a mere 13 of their opening stanzas in 2013/14 with noses in front.
They may have shipped a division-low 16 goals in the aforementioned hypothetical Championship, but QPR were breached inside the first 25 minutes of both their previous clashes with the Rams this term.