The early kick-off on Saturday sees Middlesbrough take on Derby and Tom Carnduff reckons there's value in backing cards at the Riverside.
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Middlesbrough v Derby (Riverside Stadium, 1230 BST, Sky Sports Main Event)
Two sides with promotion aspirations meet at the Riverside to kick off Saturday's football as Middlesbrough take on Derby, who have produced two significant results in the last five days.
The Rams secured victory over Sheffield United before hammering West Brom 4-1 at the Hawthorns to once again underline their intent on promotion this season, despite Frank Lampard's inexperience in management.
A win over Middlesbrough will make it the perfect week, and they will look to capitalise on the fact that the hosts have only managed to pick up a single point in their last two home games despite dominating against Rotherham on Tuesday.
We should expect to see an entertaining game here but while goals and corners are often backed in matches like this, the real value is in backing cards given the two teams and, significantly, the referee appointment.
Peter Bankes is the man in the middle and he is by far the strictest referee in this division this season. In just ten Sky Bet Championship games, Bankes has shown 54 yellows and two reds. That's an average of just under 60 booking points per game.
Derby sit fourth when it comes to most yellow cards this season with 29 and 15 of those have come on the road. Regardless of where a side sits in the fair play standings, though, with a referee like Bankes there's always scope for action.
Seven of Derby's nine games on the road have seen the opposition shown at least three yellows, and that trend could well continue here as it comes back to Derby's talent attack and how difficult they are to deal with. That explains why an opposition defender has been carded in all but one of their away games this season and in two of them, more than one defender has picked up a booking.
Taking into account the above factors, there is a real case for backing individual players to be shown a card for the best chance of returning profit rather than play the bookings like and that's the approach I'm most keen on.
The one price that caught my eye immediately was Aden Flint at 6/1. The 29-year-old has played the full 90 minutes in every Middlesbrough league game this season and has been shown a card on two occasions already.
He amassed a total of 95 booking points during the 2017/18 season with Bristol City and he should expect to see more unwanted attention from the referee given his position on the pitch.
Daniel Ayala is another player who often catches the eye of the referee - that's demonstrated by his four yellow cards already, more than he collected last season, although he didn't feature during the opening months.
If you look into the statistics, it may come as a bit of a surprise to see Britt Assombalonga sit top of the charts when it comes to average fouls committed by a Middlesbrough player.
The forward commits just under two a game, which is more than any other Boro regular this season. In total, he has given away 27 fouls this season but is yet to be shown a card.
His luck will run out at some point given that number and with the referee here, there is every chance it could come against Derby.
For the Rams, Jayden Bogle is worth backing based on both his position and performances.
The right-back has excelled under Lampard's guidance despite being young, although that inexperience is revealed in the fact that he's given away more fouls than any other Derby player.
The 18-year-old has seen two yellow cards this season and is a best price of 3/1 to be shown a card again here.
Score prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Derby (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
Best bet: 1pt Aden Flint to be shown a card at 6/1
- Middlesbrough have won nine of their last 11 home league games against Derby (D1 L1), but lost this fixture 0-3 last season.
- Derby’s 3-0 win over Middlesbrough last season was their only clean sheet in their last 35 matches against them in all competitions.
- Middlesbrough have kept 10 home Championship clean sheets in 2018 – more than any other side.
- Derby have scored five goals in the opening 15 minutes of Championship matches this season – more than any other side.
- None of Tony Pulis’ 13 matches against Derby in all competitions as a manager have ended as a draw (seven wins, six defeats).
- Derby striker Jack Marriott has been involved in five goals in his last three Championship matches (three goals, two assists).
Odds correct as of 1455 BST on 25/10/18