Swansea vs Blackburn Predictions: Best bets from Jimmy The Punt
The FA Cup fixtures have massively reduced the slate in the second tier this weekend. There are only eight teams in action, the last two of which meet in South Wales at 17:30 on Saturday, in front of the Sky cameras.
Despite dwelling dangerously close to the drop zone, Swansea are the favourites at around 6/4 here and given that they have only won one of their last eight league games this may seem a little odd. However, they have won 65% of their games when priced accordingly, so the hosts may even represent some value.
In terms of team news, Kyle Naughton was forced off after 22 minutes against Luton midweek and is unlikely to feature here which means that Ryan Manning should drop into the backline. Elsewhere, due to a contract dispute, Jamie Paterson was cast into the cold but with his side scoring just once league goal in his absence he may return to the frame here.
In comparison, Tony Mowbray has a lot more to contend with. Top goalscorer Ben Brereton Díaz has been away on international duty and may only start from the bench. Diaz completes a list of seven absentees for the visitors, although Reda Khadra is back available after missing Rovers last fixture with a hamstring injury and loan signing Ryan Giles could be handed his debut at LWB.
Swansea vs Blackburn Tips
Swansea vs Blackburn Odds
My favourite fancy for this fixture is a Flynn Downes booking at 4/1 with Betfair, a staggering price considering he has a cards per 90 average of 0.39. According to that average, any price over 2/1 would represent value here which explains why he is 11/8 with William Hill and Sky Bet.
This season Flynn Downes has seven cards to his name making him the hosts most booked player. He commits more fouls per game (1.1) then he does complete tackles.
Tim Robinson has the whistle for this one, he has dealt an average of 4.63 cards per game in the 19 he has overseen in the Championship this season.
His last game saw him take charge of the Midlands Derby where he flashed seven yellows, a red and awarded a penalty. He also recently took charge of the high-profile clash between Fulham and Bouremouth, brandishing nine cards! The last time he took charge of a Rovers game there were eight cards, so expect a few on Saturday evening.
There may be 17 places and 21 points between Swansea and Blackburn, but they are not as far apart as the table suggests.
Swansea may look as though they are flirting with the drop having picked up just four points from their last eight games, with just two teams separating them and the dotted line. However, the underlying data suggests that they have been extremely unfortunate.
During that eight game period, they have generated an xG of 10.87 but only scored five, they have conceded an xGA of 10.29 but shipped 12. This means that their goal difference is -7 yet the underlying data suggests it should be +0.58. In a nutshell they have been desperately unlucky and are not getting the fruits their labour deserves.
On the other hand, Rovers are. Despite sitting in the automatic spots, Infogol has them in 10th- eight places lower- which highlights their good fortune. Since Fulham put seven past them at the start of November, they have played 13 domestic games, taking 32 points from a possible 39, catapulting them into contention
In stark contrast to the Swans though, over this period they have massively overperformed the underlying data. They have overperformed their xG by 4.09 goals and their xGA by 6.94 goals which means they have a goal difference of +15 over those 13 games but according to the xG statistics it could be just +3.97, which is an eleven goal swing in their favour!
Of the nine games they have won, just four has seen them generate an xGD of +0.65 or more then their opponent. Basically, in a sport of such fine margins, they have rode their luck for the last three months and with their form stuttering as of late and their starman away on international duty I do not expect it to continue here.
For the reasons outlined above, I also think it is worth taking Swansea to win to nil at 3/1 with Betfair. 75% of their victories have seen this bet land this season and with 22% of their domestic fixtures seeing it cop, it looks a tough long.
Rovers have looked blunt recently as well, only scoring two in their last five, and given how Russell Martin likes to set his stall out, controlling the game with possession- the visitors will not see much of the ball.
In Blackburn’s last fixture, we had some success backing BRFC’s centre back Jan Paul van Hecke in the card market. Rovers faced Luton that afternoon and the main reason for the interest in the angle was his opposite numbers- Elijah Adebayo- ability to draw cards.
With 16Y and 1R in a career spanning just over 50 league games, van Hecke’s price does represent value once more as I would have him much closer to 2/1. This campaign, he has racked up eight 7Y and 1R cards, five of which have come in his last nine domestic appearances.
With him expected to start on the right side of a back three, he should be opposing Joel Latibeaudiere and Ryan Manning. The pair have drawn 3.7 fouls per game this season between them. Therefore, I think it is worth continuing to take his price for a booking.
If you fancy something a bit longer, you can combine my two card selections at 18/1 with Betfair. With 17 cards between them this season and a favourable referee overseeing this one, it could get tasty.
Best of luck if you are backing any of these selections and please remember to gamble responsibly.