iBet: Middlesbrough can be considered genuine promotion contenders
Birmingham v Middlesbrough, kick off 7.45pm, Sky Sports 1
Lay Birmingham at 7/4 with Betfair
Back England +17 at 10/11 with Paddy Power
Middlesbrough’s 3-1 home defeat to struggling Bristol City was a surprise – apart from that result Tony Mowbray’s team have been in very good form and can be considered genuine promotion contenders. Boro’ went through all of October undefeated, including wins against Watford, Bolton, Hull and Brighton, and a 1-0 away win at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup. Their only other defeat in November was a 1-0 reverse at table topping Cardiff, who have won all nine of their home games, and they sit third in the eight-match form table. Birmingham are struggling a bit and their problem at home is they are not scoring enough goals – no-one has found the net fewer times in their home fixtures. They have only won three of their nine games at St Andrew’s and have only beaten one team (Brighton) who are in the top half of the table. Fourth placed Middlesbrough may have too much for them going forward and it’s questionable whether Birmingham should have been made slight favourites to take three points tonight.
England have played better than their results in the Autumn internationals so far. They have not beaten the All Blacks since 2002 and probably won’t do tomorrow. However, Oddschecker.com reports that the average winning margin for New Zealand during the last five meetings at Twickenham has been 14.8, and the home team may be worth backing at 10/11 with Paddy Power getting a 17-point start.
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