Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough Predictions: Two picks for the crunch Championship clash
Middlesbrough make the journey down to the south coast in what is a mouth-watering affair. Neutrals across the U.K will be salivating over the prospect of second-placed Bournemouth welcoming a play-off hunting and more-than-capable Middlesbrough outfit...
Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough Tips
As you may expect, the match-up will be a hotly-contested affair with both sides kicking off at 3pm with less-than-ideal preparation in terms of results. The pair collected only one point over the last two Championship fixtures. The Cherries' 0-0 draw against Sheffield United followed a 2-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom. On the other hand, Boro enters the fray with two 1-0 losses at the Riverside Stadium to Fulham and Hull.
The bookmakers side with the hosts, as expected. However, it feels like Bournemouth are too big of a favourite. Scott Parker's side are as short as 1.95, as Chris Wilder and company bound into town at 4.00 (bet365). That disparity is just not there on the football pitch at present.
Middlesbrough will present as a typical Chris Wilder eleven. Well-drilled, tough to break down, but motivated to inflict damage at the other end. The profile of this Boro side could prove potential kryptonite for a Bournemouth team struggling to work an opening against sides willing to demonstrate resoluteness in their defensive third.
A void in the artistry and guile to work an opening is rearing its head for The Cherries. It hasn't always been easy against sides that offer a well-drilled and compact low-block out of possession. As a result, I anticipate the travelling Riverside faithful will line the concourses and view their side frustrating the opponents.
Wilder's arrival in the dugout has overseen just 22 goals conceded in 27 games. Considering seven of those goals were against his former side, Sheffield United and a struggling Barnsley in a poor two-week period from the end of February, those figures are outstanding.
Given the above, that 4.00 price is large enough to consider here. It will, by no means, be easy for Middlesbrough, but they could see some joy. To play it a bit safer and give us every chance of leaving the Vitality Stadium in profit, the Draw No Bet angle at 2.75 with bet365 provides an excellent alternative.
I've eyed a potential longshot play for those feeling a tad braver. We have a bet builder fancy to run the rule over here, veering away from comfortably tip-toeing into the market and plucking a safe-ish option.
At 8.00, it's a punt. Yet, it's one with reason. Removing the aforementioned heavy defeats to Barnsley and the Blades, Wilder's Middlesbrough average 0.6 goals conceded per90 from 25 showings. In the last ten games for either side, Bournemouth average 2.80 match goals at home, whilst Boro rack up just 2.70 on the road.
In the gaffer's sixth game in charge, a Wilder-led Middlesbrough got a tune out of Bournemouth in the head-to-head at The Riverside. It was 1-0 in December, although it's worth noting the 29 attempts at goal. With the nervous energy and want to avoid defeat for either side, the 'under' goals angle seems wise, although likely providing tense viewing for punters.
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