Luton host Huddersfield in what, at the start of the season, would have seemed an unlikely Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final. Michael Beardmore has the preview and best bets.
1pt Huddersfield to win at 9/4 (VBet)
1pt Harry Cornick to score anytime at 27/10 (Sporting Index)
0.5pt Harry Toffolo to score anytime at 14/1 (Paddy Power/Betfair)
It’s fair to say that had you suggested back at the start of the season that Huddersfield would face Luton in one of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-finals, you’d have gotten a few odd looks.
But both have beaten heavy odds to make the top six, even if Infogol’s Expected Goals table suggests each team, particularly third-placed Huddersfield, strange as it sounds, have been a tad fortunate to do so.
The Terriers were actually in contention for automatic promotion for a lengthy period, only for a 3-0 home defeat by Bournemouth in mid-March to ultimately propel the Cherries up.
Huddersfield have not lost since, winning six and drawing one of their final seven regular-season games to finish with a flourish, while injury-hit Luton have been a bit more up and down.
When you factor in the Terriers’ superlative away record in recent months – winning nine of 14 on the road since mid-December, losing just twice – I think Huddersfield are too large at 9/4 to edge this first leg.
That run has featured victories away to top teams Fulham, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Coventry and, in the FA Cup, Premier League side Burnley – the Terriers are a force to be respected on their travels.
It was less than a month ago that Huddersfield beat Luton 2-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium and that could be an important psychological consideration here too.
The Hatters have been very good at home in 2022, winning eight, drawing three and losing just once in 12 matches.
However, their record in games against fellow top-six sides this term is P10 W2 D4 L4 F6 A16. Now, admittedly, the goal difference is skewed by a 7-0 defeat at Fulham but those figures are a concern.
The Terriers, meanwhile, have won away at three of the top six – Fulham, the Blades and Luton – and lost just once. It all points to HUDDERSFIELD TO WIN being the value bet.
Elsewhere, the unders/overs markets are risky – neither side score for fun but are middling when it comes to average goals. It could be tight but an early goal could really open things up.
Hence, I’ve picked out two anytime goalscorers to keep an interest throughout at two very appealing prices.
Luton have been very reliant on their two forwards all season and with Elijah Adebayo touch and go after missing the Hatters’ past two games, they will be looking to Harry Cornick to come up with the goods.
He scored the winner in their top-six clinching 1-0 victory over Reading and has 12 for the season – if 16-goal Adebayo is again absent the 27/10 on CORNICK TO SCORE ANYTIME could have real value.
I also can’t ignore the 14/1 on Huddersfield’s HARRY TOFFOLO TO SCORE ANYTIME with Paddy Power and Betfair.
The full-back is in frankly ridiculous form, scoring five goals in his past seven games and while that sort of run is impossible to keep going over the long haul, it’s definitely worth a flutter given he’s clearly in the mood.
Since the preview has been published, Sky Bet have boosted Harry Toffolo to score anytime out to 20/1. Click the above link to get that price.
Score prediction: Luton 1-2 Huddersfield (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
Odds correct 1730 BST (10/05/22)
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