Wigan to gain upper hand
Craig Chisnall fancies Wigan to gain the advantage in their Sky Bet Championship play-off against QPR.
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It's play-off time again but I fully expect a cagey start to them this year when Brighton host Derby at the Amex on Thursday.
The majority of Brighton's matches this season have been extremely close encounters with their emphasis on keeping a clean sheet first and foremost. Their tally of 40 goals conceded was the second best in the division - only Burnley's 37 bettering that.
- 1pt Brighton v Derby HT draw/FT draw at 4/1 (general) - expect the play-offs to start with a really tight affair at the Amex and price worth considering.
- 1pt Craig Bryson to score at anytime v Brighton at 7/2 (Paddy Power) - midfielder has scored 16 goals and has a licence to get forward.
- 1pt Wigan HT/Wigan FT at 14/5 (BetVictor) - Rangers have already lost 10 times on the road this term, I really like this price.
They also drew 15 of their 46 matches in the regular season and were far from prolific at the other end, scoring just 55 goals - the worst tally of the top 17 in the division.
Derby, who finished 13 points better off than Albion, were much more prolific and their total of 84 goals was the most in the Championship.
But I think both managers will be desperate not to give too much away in the first leg with goals and chances could very well be at a premium. That makes the half-time draw / full-time draw price of 4/1 more than attractive to me.
Another price that looks attractive in this game is the 7/2 offered by PaddyPower on Rams goalscoring midfielder Craig Bryson to add to his tally this term.
The former Kilmarnock man, who arrived at County in June 2011, has been a revelation this term with 16 goals - including two hat-tricks.
The 27-year-old hasn't scored since the 3-1 win at Blackpool on April 8 but after being rested for the 1-1 draw at Leeds at the weekend he will be desperate to get back into action.
The Rams have been particularly adventurous since Steve McClaren took the reins at the end of September and its only the fine form of top two Leicester and Burnley that denied them automatic promotion.
Bryson has benefited more than most from having a licence to break forward from the middle of the park and that makes PaddyPower's price worth considering for him to nick a goal.
I also believe the first leg of the other semi-final will be just as tight on Friday night when QPR head up to Wigan.
But I'm favouring the Latics - and the price, 14/5 with BetVictor, on them winning at the break and at full time looks the value in this game.
Rangers' woeful away record ruined their chances of keeping pace with the automatic promotion places and they lost 10 games in all on the road.
Wigan, who have been inconsistent of late with a play-off place secured, made the DW Stadium a fortress, particularly after Uwe Rosler replaced Owen Coyle as boss before Christmas, and will want a lead to take to West London next week.
Latics have leaked goals in recent goals, four at Blackburn at the weekend, but with the attacking talent they possess I believe they will edge past Harry Redknapp's men in the first leg.