A few months ago, this game would have been billed as a key relegation contest, but Sunderland’s revival under Martin O’Neill means that it only takes on that mantle now if you are a QPR supporter.
The Black Cats have lost only once at home since O’Neill took over – even then, it took an injury-time strike from Thierry Henry to defeat them – and they have climbed to the heady heights of ninth in the Premier League table.
Despite this, their momentum has slowed slightly in recent weeks, having won only once in their last five games and having failed to score more than one goal in any of those matches, so that might give optimistic QPR fans some hope.
The Rangers’ faithful might also point to the fact that Sunderland have lost to three of the bottom five already this season, having suffered defeats to Wigan and Wolves before their 2-0 defeat at Blackburn in midweek.
Nevertheless, history is still very much against Mark Hughes’ men.
You have to go back to 1991 to find the last time QPR beat Sunderland in any competition. The Wearsiders have won six of the last eight meetings, with the other two being drawn.
Recent form doesn’t make much better reading for QPR’s beleaguered followers.
Their dramatic 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday might give them some fresh impetus, but they have still won only one of their last eight games, losing five of them.
On top of that, QPR have the second-worst away record in the division, ahead of only Wolves in a hypothetical league table based solely on away form, and that is why they are ranked as outsiders with bwin, priced at 31/10 to win the game and 12/5 to get a draw.
Sunderland are justly the bookies’ favourites, available at 22/25.
Moving away from the 3-way football betting market, a couple of interesting trends might be worth noting.
The last six meetings have seen both teams score, so odds of 83/100 on both sides to find the net on Saturday could tempt some punters to have a flutter.
QPR, though, have fallen behind in their last five matches, meaning odds of 33/20 on the visitors opening the scoring are unlikely to see much activity compared to odds of 13/20 on Sunderland scoring the first goal.
The Black Cats breaking the deadlock looks to be the banker, but Sunderland to win a game of over 2.5 goals also seems very inviting at 21/10 considering the likelihood of both teams scoring.
New bwin punters who use their free £25 bet to back this latter selection stand to win £77.50 if successful.
Recommended bet: Sunderland to score first @ 13/20
Outside punt: Sunderland to win a game of over 2.5 goals @ 21/10
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