Brighton’s excellent start to the year continues apace and, although their games rarely seem to finish 11-a-side, the prospect of back-to-back promotions looks a distinct possibility with six vital Championship points at stake before they travel to Anfield next weekend in the 5th round of the FA Cup.
First up is a visit to Elland Road and a Leeds United side who confirmed earlier in the week that caretaker boss Neil Redfern will be given an extended period in charge to prove his suitability. Leeds’ Chairman Ken Bates believes this to be “a very winnable game” but, having lost 4-1 to Birmingham City in their last home game, the natives will be restless if the Whites don’t score early.
The sides are currently neck and neck in the Championship table with only goal difference separating the teams in ninth and tenth place. Leeds are a shade of odds against at 21/20 with betvictor.com to take all three points with Brighton 13/5 and the draw at 23/10.
The reverse fixture finished in a 3-3 draw back in September with Poyet’s side coming back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 going into stoppage time. We bet 66/1 that both sides share another six goals and Craig Mackail-Smith, who scored two of the goals at the AMEX, is 17/2 to net the opener and 12/5 to score at any time.
The Scottish international was substituted after 70 minutes against Leicester last weekend and it will be interesting to see if Poyet perseveres with his striker given substitute Vicente’s assist for Will Buckley’s late winner. Buckley is 11/1 to score the opener and 10/3 to grab a goal during the 90 minutes.
Leeds are currently 12/1 to be promoted and the Seagulls 14/1; a win for Brighton on Saturday and those odds will change dramatically.
Millwall visit the Amex on Tuesday night and, ahead of the weekend fixtures, (Lions entertain Derby on Saturday) the Seagulls are a shade of odds on at 10/11 against Millwall who are also in the 5th round of the FA Cup following their last-gasp win at St Mary’s earlier in the week.
After England’s 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Pakistan in the Test Series the two countries are set to meet in the four-match ODI series that starts on Monday morning. Pakistan are 5/4 to follow up with England 5/2 and a tied series 7/4.
Kevin Pietersen will open the innings and that is the place to bat in 50-over cricket and 7/2 for him to be England’s top scorer in the series with BetVictor looks fair enough given he should have a start before Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Shahid Afridi get the ball in their spinning fingers.
The big Premier League game of the weekend is at Old Trafford where Manchester United “entertain” Liverpool in the lunchtime kick off; United will go off favourites (5/6 with BetVictor) to gain revenge for their recent FA Cup defeat but we have opened a market on whether or not Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez will shake hands before the game if they both make the starting XI’s and bet 5/2 No and 2/7 yes.
For all your sporting odds this weekend check out betvictor.com or follow me on twitter @VictorChandler