The late-kick off in the Sky Bet Championship sees two pre-season title favourites face-off. We have 7/2, 7/1 and 9/1 best bets.
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Stoke v Middlesbrough (Bet365 Stadium, 1730 BST, Sky Sports Main Event)
The late kick-off in the Sky Bet Championship sees two of the pre-season title favourites come up against each other as Stoke welcome Middlesbrough.
The visitors have lived up to expectations as they sit in third, two points off top prior to Saturday's action, whereas Stoke have struggled despite a squad of Premier League talent.
Gary Rowett's side were hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone in the opening exchanges, although they have started to pick up results and moved up to 13th.
There are plenty of punting opportunities here and the pick of them is Joe Allen to score anytime at a general price of 7/1.
The midfielder has been involved in Stoke's success in recent weeks with an assist in last week's 1-0 victory over Bristol City and a goal of his own in their 1-1 draw with Sheffield United before that.
It's also worth noting that just three of the eight goals Middlesbrough have conceded this season have come from an out-and-out striker - Lee Gregory for Millwall, Teemu Pukki for Norwich and Lewis Grabban for Nottingham Forest.
As a side built on a strong defence, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that they're able to deal with their rivals' chief threats but they've not quite managed to stem the flow from midfield and that's where Allen might just take advantage.
The 28-year-old finds himself third in the Stoke charts for shots taken with 19, only bettered by Benik Afobe and Tom Ince so far this season.
The majority of these attempts have come from inside the penalty area so it's not a case of the former Liverpool man trying his luck from anywhere and he's good value to add to his tally.
Next, referee Robert Jones isn't afraid to reach for a card when required: in three games this season, he has shown at least seven, with 11 games having 30+ booking points.
Stoke sit inside the top-ten in the division for cards shown in their home games, while Middlesbrough's record of 14 yellow cards on the road puts them in the top-half of that table.
My eye was therefore drawn to the huge 9/1 on offer for Stoke's Tom Edwards to be shown a card here.
The right-back has started just three league games this season, but he did star in their win in Bristol last time out and Rowett has hinted that the youngster could keep his place for the game with Middlesbrough.
He told StokeOnTrent Live: "He’s a real talent going forward and is very comfortable with his little link-up play, but I thought he defended fantastically well too."
With the likes of Britt Assombalonga and George Friend sure to ask questions, along with Martin Braithwaite and George Saville's impact from the bench, Edwards could find himself under pressure as he looks to deal with the Boro attack.
The 9/1 is a considerably bigger price than the 3/1 on offer generally, although I'd be willing to go down to around the 5/1 mark on this one.
For Middlesbrough, Daniel Ayala's suspension could be significant and they should look to Danny Batth to fill the vacant spot in central defence.
Sam McQueen picked up an injury in their midweek win over Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup and Ryan Shotton's knee problem is likely to keep him out of action here. Batth has played just a single minute in the Sky Bet Championship this season, so it's a big ask for him to step up and play a full 90 of league action, but it's likely that he will start given their defensive issues.
He's sure to be rusty and could well be exposed on more than one occasion.
Middlesbrough looked poor in that draw with Derby and failed to register a shot on target. They are a side who pride themselves on defence, but the problems at the back could set this one up to be a home win.
Score prediction: Stoke 2-1 Middlesbrough (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
- Stoke and Middlesbrough last faced in the Premier League in 2016-17 – in the most recent meeting, the Potters won 2-0.
- Outside the Premier League, Middlesbrough last faced Stoke in February 1998 – winning 2-1 in the second tier.
- Players of eight different nationalities have score a league goal for Stoke this season; only Aston Villa have seen more (9).
- Tony Pulis lost his first league match against Stoke in November 1992 as Bournemouth manager – he hasn’t lost any of his last 13 against them (W7 D6).
- Stoke haven’t lost consecutive home Championship matches since November 2007 (three in a row) when they were managed by Tony Pulis.
- Middlesbrough are still yet to score from outside the box in the Championship this season despite attempting 76 shots from outside the area.
Odds correct at 0955 BST (02/11/18)