QPR’s seemingly inevitable relegation to the Championship could be confirmed on Saturday if results go against them and they fail to beat Stoke City at Loftus Road.
The Hoops have been marooned in the bottom three all season and they stand a whopping ten points adrift of safety going into this weekend’s fixture.
Even if they can beat Stoke, they then face the only side below them, Reading, and if they are still fighting after that, then one of their final three games of the season against Arsenal, Newcastle or Liverpool should finish them off.
However, a victory for Harry Redknapp’s side over the Potters on Saturday afternoon would reduce the gap between the two teams to seven points and with four further games to be played, it would give Rangers a faint glimmer of hope, while also dragging Stoke deeper into the relegation battle.
The Hoops have put up some semblance of a fight in recent weeks, but back-to-back wins over Southampton and Sunderland at the start of March are still the highlight of Redknapp’s tenure and the team simply don’t look good enough for this level.
That being said, the home side are 11/10 favourites in bwin’s 3-way betting market to claim a rare three points, which is perhaps a result of Stoke’s terrible form that sees them priced at 12/5.
Tony Pulis has seen his Potters side record just one league win in 2013 and drop from a high of eighth in the middle of the season to their present position of 16th, in the process sliding into a fight for survival as just three points separated them from 18th-placed Wigan, who have a game in hand.
Their last win came at home to Reading in February and since then they have secured just one point from six games and only scored three times.
In fact, they have only struck six league goals this calendar year, and their overall tally of 28 makes them the lowest scorers in the league.
It would take a bold punter, then, to go any higher than one goal for Stoke, which is currently priced at 7/5 with bwin, and this could be a huge problem for the away side as their hosts have scored ten in their previous six matches.
Prior to their recent improved scoring streak, QPR had notched just ten goals in 15 games, but with Loic Remy and even Adel Taraabt finding form in front of goal they appear to carry an offensive threat at the moment and as such are a very strong 1/4 to score on Saturday and at 13/5, aren’t too badly priced to strike twice.
Goals they may have been collecting, but points they haven’t and they are unlikely to do so again if they are trailing at the half-time interval.
Rangers have gone on to lose on each of the six occasions they have been behind after 45 minutes in their past 20 league matches, while Stoke have not lost from a winning position at the break in that period.
Stoke are well priced at 9/2 to be winning at half-time and full-time or even 13/1 to lead at half-time and secure a draw at the full-time whistle.
And it is the former which particularly catches the eye, particularly with winnings of £110 on offer for anyone backing it with their free £20 bet after registering with bwin.
The Potters must make a stand at some point after their dismal recent run and they arguably will not get a better opportunity than against a Rangers side whose confidence is shattered.
It’s certainly not worth staking the mortgage on them, but 9/2 on a Stoke half-time/full-time triumph is where this punter’s pennies will be going.