FOOTBALL analyst Tom Love (@TomLove_18) dissects Wednesday night's EFL Cup action and picks out his best bet from the night's cup action.
Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace | Wednesday 31st October 2018, 19.45
Middlesbrough are one of, if not the most, defensively dogged side in the Football League. Tony Pulis gets his side set up in a rigid 5-3-1-1 formation, and from an aesthetic point of view it could be to his detriment, particularly at home.
However, the Welshman’s modus operandi seldom sees Boro lose; it’s occurred just twice in their last 18 fixtures.
It’s no surprise to see such a record when you delve into Middlesbrough’s defensive resilience. Despite scoring only 17 times in 15 games, the Teessiders are posting a league high 64% xG ratio and that highlights just how good they’ve been at cutting out opposition chances.
The nort-east outfit were far from their best at the weekend as they hosted Derby, but bizarrely came away with a 1-1 draw without registering a shot on-target. That calamitous Jaden Bogle own-goal saved their skin, but it goes to show, by keeping it tight that they’re always in the game.
Squad depth at the Riverside isn’t a worry either, the only place they could be lacking is in the creative midfielder department. They’ve a strong roster of defenders and holding midfielders though, and that’s a major reason why they’ve been so impenetrable at the back.
Pulis’ teams of years gone by were stacked with set-piece threats and it’s no difference this season. Aden Flint, Daniel Ayala, Paddy McNair and Rudy Gestede are all a major danger from free-kicks and corners, it will surely be something Pulis will be targeting.
Crystal Palace aren’t in any real form, although they did turn up at the weekend to salvage a draw against Arsenal. Defensively the Selhurst Park-based club have been decent enough, boasting the best defensive record in the bottom-10 of the Premier league.
However, their last win came in this competition over a month ago and their lack of a clinical striker is proving a major worry for Roy Hodgson.
Even with an in-form attack, the Eagles would struggle to breakdown this Boro side and odds as short as 11/10 for the visitors look unwarranted to me.
With the draw looking a strong runner, I want to get that possible outcome onside and there is a unique angle from 188BET that takes my fancy. Middlesbrough Double Chance and Under 2.5 Goals has been chalked up at 8/5 and I think that holds plenty of appeal.
This selection has been a go-to bet of mine this season, and it’s one that has been largely profitable. It’s landed in nine of Boro’s last 12 league fixtures this season, and with a place in the quarter-final up for grabs, it promises to be another cagey affair.
Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace – Middlesbrough Double Chance and Under 2.5 Goals (8/5 188BET)