Three weeks ago, Brighton and Hove Albion were sitting pretty atop the Championship on the back of a five-game winning streak, but for the second year in a row the pressure at the summit appears to have got to Gus Poyet’s men.
A subsequent run of three games without victory leaves them fifth but whereas last season they never returned to the top three after losing their early lead, the 2012-13 squad looks to have the quality to put such setbacks behind them with a win over Middlesbrough.
Despite their recent slide, Brighton still stand as 4/5 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market for Saturday’s clash at the Amex Stadium, with a Boro win 333/100 and the draw 12/5.
A key factor in Brighton’s form so far is whether they take the lead or not. In every game when they’ve opened the scoring they’ve gone on to win, so it’s worth backing the Seagulls to score first at 31/50 and lead-win in the run of play market at 53/100.
|Real Sociedad win||£76.00||(14/5)|
But should Middlesbrough make it to half-time level (at odds of 6/5) then Tony Mowbray will fancy his side’s chances of turning that into one point at 17/4 or even three, as they have every time they’ve gone in level so far this season.
Yet Boro have proved much less adapt at protecting their leads in recent weeks, having gone from being the least likely side to feature in a game of three goals or more last term to the third most likely this season.
As such, it’s also worth backing over 2.5 combined goals at 83/100, while it seems likely regardless of the outcome that both teams will score at 7/10.
And should this develop into a high-scoring encounter, then Brighton could come out on top as they have shown an ability with the likes of Craig Mackail-Smith and Ashley Barnes to outscore any side who take an open approach.
The 3Way price on Poyet’s men is not quite big enough to merit considerable interest, so this could well be the best way to go for punters looking to turn a tidy profit on this key Championship encounter.