Brighton v Crystal Palace – Centre-half could settle tight tussle

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THE FA Cup 3rd Round concludes on Monday night as Brighton welcome Crystal Palace. Dan McCulloch (@DanMcc84) shares his best bets

Brighton v Crystal Palace | Monday 8th January 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport

At the time of writing, Brighton are a best price of 33/20 to emerge victorious on Monday evening, whilst Crystal Palace are 21/10.

If this was a Premier League encounter and such prices are available then I would be backing the Eagles to win this one, but as both sides are expected to make changes, I will leave the outright market alone.

In truth, Brighton are a side that I have struggled to call correctly this season. I thought their survival plans would be based around low-scoring home wins and picking up the odd point on their travels.

In actual fact, they have won just three matches at The Amex and Chris Hughton will surely be concerned about the number of games they have drawn (six so far this term). Additionally, they have conceded a league-high 13 goals from set pieces so far this campaign, which is surprising given that Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have looked like a solid partnership whenever I have watched the Seagulls.

Palace have enjoyed a great resurgence under Roy Hodgson and having looked relegation certainties two months ago, are now 15/2 for the drop.

They have looked more solid defensively in recent weeks and have now conceded just eight goals in their last nine matches. They also enjoyed a clean sheet in a goalless draw at The Amex in a back in November so given that I generally take the view that wholesale changes by both sides results in a low-scoring encounter, I would recommend the 15/8 with Marathon on Under 1.5 Goals.

Knowing Brighton’s fondness for a home draw then pricing permitting, I may back 1-1 as a saver on the exchange come kick-off but the 11/2 best price at present puts me off at present. Given Brighton’s susceptibility from set-pieces, I would also recommend James Tomkins at 40/1 with Winner to score first.

He has four goals from 37 games as a Palace player so I think this represents reasonable value and given that Scott Dann is out for the season, I think its unlikely that he will also be rested.

I also wouldn’t put the more conservative among you off from taking the 16/1 with the same firm on the centre back scoring at any time.

Best Bets

Brighton v Crystal Palace – Under 1.5 Goals (15/8 Marathon)

Brighton v Crystal Palace – James Tomkins to score first (40/1 Winner)

Brighton v Crystal Palace – James Tomkins to score at anytime (16/1 Winner)

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