QPR fan Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the odds ahead of Friday night’s live Championship action from Loftus Road.
QPR v Middlesbrough | Friday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
Are Middlesbrough good enough to warrant 6/5 favouritism at Loftus Road on Friday night? Yes.
Would you be willing to back the Teesiders at 6/5 when they visit QPR on Friday night? No.
Now that’s not my blue and white brain talking; it’s a natural reaction having seen Boro pick up just four league wins in 12 (W4-D3-L5) include three successive defeats on their travels at Charlton, Rotherham and Blackburn.
Sure, Middlesbrough gave their automatic promotion hopes a huge boost with a last-gasp victory over Hull prior to the international break and Aitor Karanka’s celebrations showed how important that three points was after what had been a tumultuous week at the Riverside.
But I’m unconvinced the Boro garden is now all rosy. The visitors are the lowest scorers in the top-seven, have W1-D2-L4 in their last seven away days and have even failed to find the back of the net in four of those seven outings.
The Teesiders’ 6/5 quote implies Karanka’s charges have a 45% chance of winning and that’s kind considering they’ve only W8-D4-L7 as guests, firing blanks on eight (42%) occasions. Six of Boro’s seven league losses on the road have been ‘to nil’.
Karanka’s had a wonderful impact at the Riverside and there’s no doubting his 114 fixtures in charge have been a great success (W56-D26-L29) but drill down deeper and we begin to see just how important the opening goal is when Middlesbrough play.
Incredibly, when Boro have taken the lead under the Spanish boss, they’ve gone on to record W55-D7-L2. However, when the opposition have struck the first blow, the Teesiders have been unable to chase down the game (W4-D5-L27).
Hosts QPR have netted the opener in 12/18 (63%) of Championship games under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s watch and the Dutchman is beginning to see the fruits of his labour at Loftus Road.
Rangers were denied a third successive win at Preston in stoppage-time in their last outing, putting in a polished performance epitomised by the high-intensity pressing game that Hasselbaink demands. With enough downtime to refresh the batteries from the Deepdale disappointment, I’d expect the R’s to be up and at it again.
The Super Hoops have dispatched top-eight opposition Derby and Birmingham as well as West London rivals Brentford ‘to nil’ in their last three Loftus Road outings, and it’s telling that all five triumphs since Hasselbaink arrived on the scene have included a clean sheet.
As hosts, Rangers have W8-D8-L3 this term and with a W3-D3-L1 return from their most recent seven excursions, the faith and feel-good factor that was lost during previous regimes is beginning to return to the terraces again.
Immediately the 19/20 (Bet365) stands out on QPR +0.25 in the Asian Handicap market; we’ll enjoy a half-stakes profit should the Hoops pick up a point but we’ll net a full-stakes profit should the home side come out on top, meaning we’ll be making money if QPR avoid defeat.
But I’m also going to back both sides to win 1-0, based on the ‘first goal wins’ philosophy that surrounds Karanka’s visitors.
As well as the aforementioned trends, 11/37 (30%) of Boro’s Championship games in 2015/16 have ended in 1-0 correct scores and that implies a repeat (for either side) should be quoted around 12/5.
We can support QPR to win 1-0 at BetVictor at 8/1, an appealing price considering the visitors have failed to score in over 40% of their games as guests and 5/18 (26%) of Rangers’ outings under JFH have seen the hosts win ‘to nil’.
And I’ll also take the 6/1 from BetVictor for Middlesbrough to triumph 1-0, more as an insurance policy. One goal could easily be enough to settle this fixture and should the visitors grab it, they’ve gone on to secure victory in 55/64 (86%) of Championship ties under Karanka’s watch.
QPR v Middlesbrough – QPR +0.25 Asian Handicap (19/20 Bet365)
QPR v Middlesbrough – QPR to win 1-0 (8/1 BetVictor)
QPR v Middlesbrough – Middlesbrough to win 1-0 (6-0 BetVictor)
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