CHAMPIONSHIP specialist Ross Casey (@RossCasey24) shares his verdict from Saturday evening's contest between Hull and Aston Villa.
Hull v Aston Villa | Saturday 31st March 2018, 17:30 | Sky Sports
This Championship clash has importance at both ends of the table with hosts Hull just six points clear of the relegation zone, whilst Aston Villa are chasing Cardiff's automatic promotion spot.
Hull have had a disappointing season with the bold move to appoint former Russian national manager Leonid Slutsky proving a disaster. Big money was not splashed like Aston Villa did in their first season after relegation, but the squad assembled should have done better than what they have this season.
A big reason for that has been the loss of Abel Hernandez through injury. The Uruguayan international was injured in August and only returned this month. In the three games he has played so far he has netted three times and looks like he hasn't missed a step!
Their final game before the international break was a very disappointing 3-0 loss at Birmingham which probably undid a lot of the confidence built from back to back victories over Norwich and Ipswich.
Hull have won one of their last 13 matches against Aston Villa in all competitions. That was the last time they hosted Villa, when Steve Bruce was in charge of the Tigers, a 2-0 win in February 2015.
Villa have been put under pressure in this one after yet another win by Cardiff. With The Bluebirds showing no signs of falling, any slip up will prove costly in their hunt for automatic promotion.
They will have Jonathon Kodjia back in the squad for this one which will give the team a lift, although both Scott Hogan and Lewis Grabban have stepped up in his place of late as well as winger Albert Adomah.
Villa have not lost back-to-back away league trips to Hull since March 1970, but it seems they either win or lose on the road, drawing just three of their 20 away matches this season. After their 1-0 loss away at lowly Bolton in blizzard like conditions, they will need to improve.
The betting angle
Hull possess the third-worst defence in the division and it is not a surprise to see them involved in several high-scoring matches, especially now you add in their goal threat of Abel Hernandez.
With Aston Villa an all or nothing side away from home, I will favour them to win this game, thanks to the poor defensive stability of The Tigers, but also concede at the KCOM.
Therefore my best bet is Aston Villa to win and both teams to score. The away side to win but both teams to score has landed in each of the six games Hull have lost at home this season!
Hull v Aston Villa – Aston Villa to win and BTTS (19/4 Coral)