Brighton were undoubtedly the form team coming into the Championship play-offs and indeed having finished the regular season strongly the Seagulls were quickly installed as 23/10 favourites to gain promotion in Paddy Power’s early betting.
However, ahead of the semi-final, first leg at Crystal Palace, Gus Poyet’s charges are slight outsiders at 2/1 via BetVictor while the hosts are a 6/4 chance at Betfred to take a lead over to the Amex Stadium.
That’s because of the Eagles’ strength at Selhurst Park, where they’ve lost just twice in 23 outings, although the fact that they managed just one win in five attempts on their own patch as the campaign came to an end will undoubtedly give Albion plenty of encouragement.
Only Blackburn drew more games on their travels than Poyet’s troops and that combined with the four stalemates in the final six matches played out by Ian Holloway’s side lends appeal to Ladbrokes’ 12/5 for this one to finish all square.
That result would suit the visitors, who would fancy their chances in the return match in front of their own supporters and in a fixture that’s likely to be fairly high scoring, there’s a case to be made for a 2-2 scoreline at 17/1 courtesy of BetVictor.
Elsewhere, both teams like to attack, so a tally of more than 2.5 goals has been overpriced by William Hill at odds of 11/10 and similarly, Coral’s 10/11 for both teams to get on the scoresheet is banker material.
Meanwhile, Palace marksman Glenn Murray, the Championship’s top scorer with a remarkable 30 goals this term including two in the home game against former club Brighton, is a 9/2 chance at Ladbrokes to break the deadlock.