Like the hitherto unknown stars of those occasional endless Wimbledon fifth sets, Southampton and Stoke have proven inseparable since the Saints’ return to the top flight in 2012/13.
Four managers and countless playing staff have put their oar in across the four encounters since then, but not one could issue the coup de grace.
Southampton come into this fixture in exuberant form, having won seven of their last eight matches and it’s this punters have to thank for the 5/2 bwin offer about the a fifth successive draw between the sides.
Stoke are an outlandishly large at 5/1 for victory, while, given our adversaries’ recent head-to-head ledger, the Saints are a butt ugly 31/50 bet for three points.
The length of the hosts’ winning streak under Ronald Koeman has the effect of magnifying their superiority of their trail of vanquished opponents.
In fact their last five games have been decided by a single goal, with that slender margin falling in their favour on four occasions to the opposition’s one.
A tendency to be involved in close matches is something they share with the Potters, who had to wait until their eighth league game of the season before they featured in a match that was neither drawn nor won by a distance of more than a solitary strike.
However, the 5/2 on the draw wasn’t the juicily-priced bet the headline promised.
With the last four meetings between Southampton and Stoke ending 3-3, 1-1. 1-1 and 2-2 the 17/4 wager in question is bwin’s both teams to score/draw double.
Neither set of fans has been disappointed in this regard in all bar one of the five road trips Mark Hughes’ men have made so far this term.
As if to vouch for the freak nature of the outlier, the 1-0 smash and grab operation at the Etihad provides the sole exception.