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Fulham v Cardiff Tips: Bad boy Odoi heading for a hat-trick of yellows against promotion rivals

Fulham's top-scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic returns for this one following a three-game ban
Fulham's top-scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic returns for this one following a three-game ban

There's a juicy fixture for us all to feast on in the Championship this Friday evening at 8:15pm, as automatic promotion candidates Fulham welcome playoff-hopefuls Cardiff to Craven Cottage, with the game being aired live on Sky Sports.

A matter of weeks ago the prospect of Fulham achieving automatic promotion seemed out of the question, but a terrific run of form - which has seen the Cottagers win their last three games on the spin - has seen their name thrown right back in the mix.

While it is still unlikely that either Leeds or West Brom will be replaced in the top-two from now until the end of the campaign, Fulham still have a slight chance of obtaining automatic promotion should they continue with their promising form, with a win here against Cardiff taking them to within just four points of leaders West Brom. 

Cardiff also found themselves in great form prior to their recent 3-2 defeat to Blackburn at the weekend. The Bluebirds were unbeaten in four (three wins, one draw) before that defeat and now reside inside the top-six, just a point ahead of Swansea in 7th. 

A win here would massively boost the visitors’ chances of making the play-offs, but they will have a huge job on their hands to break down a resilient Fulham side currently on the rampage.

Isaac Vassell (Cardiff) remains sidelined for this clash, while Aboubakar Kamara (Fulham) remains a doubt after missing the Cottagers’ previous five games through injury. There is a massive boost for the hosts, though, as leading goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic returns after a three-game ban and is likely to be thrown straight back into the starting line-up.

The bookies have the hosts as even money favourites for this one, a 50% chance, while travellers Cardiff can be found at 3/1, a 25% chance. The draw is best-priced with BetVictor at 5/2 and our three football tips for the highly-anticipated fixture can be found below. 

Fulham v Cardiff Tip #1
Aleksandar Mitrovic to score anytime
  • Mitrovic is the Championship's joint-top goalscorer with 23 goals
  • Will be itching to return to scoring ways after a three-game ban
  • Scored against Cardiff in the reverse fixture back in August
Odds correct as of 2020-07-10 10:00 Odds subject to change.

Despite being without their leading goalscorer for the last three games due to suspension, Fulham haven’t seemed to have missed Aleksandar Mitrovic, winning all three of those games against QPR, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest. 

That is not to say that his availability will not be welcomed by the hosts, however, and it is most likely that manager Scott Parker will throw his prized asset straight back into the starting-eleven for this crunch game against the Bluebirds. 

The Serbia international will have both eyes on being crowned the Championship top scorer at the end of the campaign, and with Brentford’s Ollie Watkins blowing the perfect opportunity to surpass Mitrovic’s record at the top of the division’s goalscorer chart during the last 10 days, the 25-year-old will be itching to make his counterpart pay by scoring his 24th of the campaign.

Mitrovic was also on the scoresheet when these two sides met back in August, so has previous against the Welshmen. He goes into our trio of bets at 13/10 (boosted from 11/10) with little hesitation.

Fulham v Cardiff Tip #2
Harry Arter to be booked, Junior Hoilett 1+ shot on target
  • Arter is Fulham's joint-second-most booked player this season with 6 yellows
  • He was also sent off in the reverse tie back in August
  • Hoilett has scored five goals this season and always looks to get shots away from distance
  • The Canadian is fantastic value at 13/8
Odds correct as of 2020-07-10 10:00 Odds subject to change.

Harry Arter will be keen to forget the reverse fixture of this particular tie back in August. The 30-year-old was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of just two minutes as Fulham played out a pretty drab 1-1 draw at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Indeed, with a total of six yellows to his name this season, Arter is no stranger to the referee’s notepad, and being the tough-tackling player that he is it is unsurprising to see his name so high up in the list of Fulham’s most-booked players (joint-second behind Mitrovic who has eight to his name). 

I’m anticipating a fast-paced, tight affair this Friday, with Arter right in the middle of things. Fulham know that they must win this one to stay in the race for automatic promotion, which could see plenty of strong tackles - especially towards the end of the game - and Arter is chief culprit when it comes to this type of thing, so goes into my value bet for this clash.

Alongside this, I’m backing Hoilett to register one or more shot(s) on target. The Canadian has made a living from scoring absolute belters from long range and certainly has a rocket in his locker. 

I think his price of 13/8 represents tremendous considering Hoilett’s track record of shooting from distance, and the fact that he’s scored five goals this season - just three shy of the Bluebirds’ leading goalscorer Joe Ralls (8).

Fulham v Cardiff Tip #3
Dennis Odoi & Sean Morrison to be booked
  • Dennis Odoi has picked up 6 yellows for Fulham this season
  • Two of those bookings have come in his last two games
  • Morrison will be tasked with marking the problematic Mitrovic here, which could cause him major issues
Odds correct as of 2020-07-10 10:00 Odds subject to change.

My longshot for this game includes just two player bookings, and at 28/1 (boosted from 22/1) I can’t help but think this is a massive price, especially given the fact it is priced at just 18/1 with bet365.

Fulham’s resident bad boy Dennis Odoi has picked up six yellow cards this season - second only to Aleksandar Mitrovic - but perhaps most interestingly two of those bookings have come in his previous two games against Birmingham and Nottingham Forest, suggesting a real sloppiness in the Belgian’s tackling ability. 

He’ll most likely be up against Cardiff’s Josh Murphy in this one, a really direct player who has bags of pace and plenty of trickery in his armoury, which could well see him pick up his seventh yellow of the campaign and complete an unwanted hat-trick of three bookings in the space of just nine days.

Sean Morrison has only seen yellow three times this season and usually avoids caution. However, he doesn’t have to deal with a player like Aleksandar Mitrovic on a weekly basis. The Serbian defines the word ‘handful’ and after a three-game rest will be chomping at the bit to return to his official post as a gigantic thorn in the side of opposing centre-halves. 

Expect shirt-pulling, robust tackles, flailing elbows *references Leeds game which resulted in aforementioned ban* and pretty much anything else you can think of from Mitrovic here, as he looks to make up for lost time against a side his team desperately need to beat to keep their automatic promotion dreams alive.

Morrison is no angel himself, however. The former Reading defender is an imposing figure in the heart of Cardiff’s defence who is not adverse to a meaty challenge or a bit of afters, so grab the popcorn and settle down for this match which on the face of it promises to be a cracker.

Please remember to gamble responsibly. 

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