TWO clubs not expected to be in the League Cup quarter-finals meet in midweek when Middlesbrough host Burton. Ross Casey (@Rosscasey24) picks out his best bets.
Middlesbrough v Burton | Tuesday 18th December 2018, 19:45
Middlesbrough had a fantastic start to the Championship, but after a run of just five wins in their last 16 matches across all competitions, and a style of play that is starting to garner grumbles from sections of Boro fans, a little pressure is starting to build on Tony Pulis.
A cup run will boost that – and on paper a home game against Burton in the quarter-final give the Teessiders an opportunity at reaching the final-four. Boro are a best price of 41/100 with Marathon, making them huge odds-on favourites here. Considering they have lost just twice at home this term, that is probably fair.
Burton have been fantastic in this competition, where they have already beaten Aston Villa, Burnley and Nottingham Forest. However, all of those victories have come at home and this fixture at The Riverside is their most difficult to date.
With just three wins in 13 on the road this season – including three defeats on the spin – match odds of 8/1 with Bet365 on a Burton win probably won't appeal to many.
As noted above, the incredible start to Boro's campaign has waned. A big reason for this is their lack of goals in the side, which is crazy when you think of the money spent on players and wages within the squad. They have scored nine goals in their last 10 games, something that Pulis has eluded to in his post-match interview last weekend:
“Because of the situation with us not scoring goals, the team is trying their damnedest to win a game of football. The players have reacted to the fact that we haven't been scoring and, in their desperation to score, we've lost our shape a bit.”
I would suggest that against a Burton side that have not kept a single clean sheet away from home this season, this will likely come to an end on Tuesday night. Burton have conceded more than one goal in seven of their away games this season and for me Boro look decent value at 16/13 to cover a -1.5 handicap.
A lack of goals blights Boro at present – but that also can be aimed at Burton who have scored just one goal in their last three on the road. They mustered just three shots on-target last weekend at Fleetwood, which was described as a match where ‘the wind took centre stage'.
With Boro keeping eight clean sheets already this season, it looks likely another is on the cards here and you can back Middlesbrough to win ‘to nil' with a best price of 13/10 at BetVictor.
The betting angle
Middlesbrough are struggling to score goals, but against a Burton side that have conceded in every away match this term, I fancy them to find their shooting boots.
Middlesbrough v Burton – Middlesbrough -1.5 Asian Handicap (16/13 188BET)
Middlesbrough v Burton – Middlesbrough win to nil (13/10 BetVictor)