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Straight down the tunnel at 40/1...

Thursday 18th March 2021

In Across the Leagues today:

  • Low corners for Lee Bowyer…
  • 50/1 Red Card winner for Mike…
  • AC Milan v Man Utd tonight…

Straight down the tunnel at 40/1…

Yesterday’s analysis included a standout stat in the Championship…

Low corners for Lee…

The League Stats on our website show that Birmingham and Reading are the top two teams in the Championship for Under 10.5 Corners results this season.

That trend continued last night, with a total of just 5 corners in the game.

In Lee Bowyer’s first game in charge, Birmingham beat Reading, 2-1. It’ll be interesting to see if that low-corners trend continues once the new manager gets his feet properly under the table…

When he departed Charlton this month, Bowyer left them with a 72% away strike-rate for Under 10.5 Corners in League One. He inherits a Birmingham side with a 78% overall record for that bet.

As I said in yesterday’s email, good stats are one thing – and a nice price is another…

Under 10.5 Corners for Birmingham v Reading was odds-on, at 1/2 (1.5) at best, and as short as 1/3 (1.33). Some might say a win’s a win. But my personal taste is for bigger odds. The quest for value can mean some long waits before things click into place. But it’s a great feeling when it does…

50/1 winner for Mike…

Across the Leagues member Mike F is a man after my own heart…

Mike took yesterday’s note on Stefan Savic as card potential for Chelsea v Atletico Madrid – and ran with it. Backing Savic not only To be Carded, but also to be Sent Off, at a massive 50/1:

“Great shout..... I may have missed the 13/5 @ Hills and had to opt for the measly 2-1 @ Skybet but 50-1 for a red card leaves me real happy.”

Savic got his marching orders in the 81st minute, shown a straight red for a cynical elbow.

AC Milan v Manchester United

Europa League, 8pm – BT Sport

Aggregate: 1-1

Match odds: Milan 12/5 (3.4), Draw 5/2 (3.5), Man Utd 23/20 (2.15)

To Qualify: Milan 5/4 (2.25), Man Utd 8/13 (1.62)

In the 1st leg I flagged up AC Milan defender Diago Dalot at long-shot prices in the Scorer markets.

On-loan from Man Utd and facing his parent club, Dalot was 25/1 to score Anytime, and 70/1 to score First. He didn’t find the net, although fellow Milan defender headed in his team’s equaliser, at an even bigger price. Simon Kjaer was 35/1.

The bookies are taking no such chances today. With shorter odds offered up for the 2nd leg at the San Siro…

  • This time, full-back Dalot is 14/1 at best to score Anytime, and 33/1 to score First (Betfred) – and as short as 9/1 & 22/1 elsewhere
  • Centre-back Kjaer is 28/1 tops to find the net again, and 66/1 to strike first (also with Betfred). Bet365 are more cautious, at 14/1 & 33/1

At the front of the betting, it’s the two stars…

For Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning from injury to face his former club. For United, talisman Bruno Fernandes. Zlatan and Bruno are 4/1 each for First Goalscorer, and around 6/4 (2.5) apiece to score Anytime.

In Zlatan’s absence this season, Franck Kessie has been taking the penalties for Milan – and he’s yet to miss. He’s around 3/1 to score, and 10/1 to score First. What will happen if the hosts get a pen tonight? You’d think Zlatan will pull rank, but it depends what’s been decided in the dressing room.

40/1 Red Card potential…

A 2nd leg European knockout match like this has the potential to get a few temperatures raised. And with the scores level at 1-1, this tie is set up nicely.

Here’s some ammo to suggest the ref might get busy tonight:

  • 6 of AC Milan’s last 18 games in all competitions have produced a Red Card (7 out of 18 if you count extra time, but the bookies’ standard match markets don’t pay out on that)
  • 4 of those 6 Red Cards went to Milan players: Ante Rebic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Saelemaekers, Sandro Tonali

And if over a decade old head-to-head form counts for anything, last time Man Utd visited the San Siro to play AC Milan, the Red Devils had Michael Carrick sent off (Feb 2010).

In Europe this season, Man Utd midfielder Fred was sent off v PSG in the Champions League group stage.

This evening’s appointed referee has some noteworthy Red Card form:

  • Felix Brych has shown a Red Card in 4 of his last 10 UEFA matches (Champions League & Europa League combined)
  • Since the start of last season, the German ref has dished out a total of 17 Reds from 67 games in all comps

Take your pick…

To help identify potential candidates in the disciplinary markets for tonight’s game, here are both teams’ most-carded players this season, in their respective domestic leagues…

AC Milan – Serie A:

AC Milan Cards

Man Utd – Premier League:

Manchester United Cards

The bookies go 7/2 (4.5) for a Sending Off in the Match (Bet365, William Hill, Boylesports).

Fred has previous for Man Utd, sent off for two bookable offences against PSG in December. He’s also committed the joint-most Fouls for Man Utd in the Premier League this season (level with Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes).

Theo Hernandez is Milan’s most-carded player this season. He’s been booked in his last two games. In 2019/20, he was sent off for two yellows against Juventus in the Coppa Italia. So far in his career, the 23-year-old has averaged one Red Card per season. He’s yet to get one in this campaign…

Fred is 2/1 to be Booked, and a top price 33/1 to be Sent Off. Hernandez is also around 2/1 to be Carded – and a standout 40/1 to get Sent Off.

I’m backing both men to be carded. And also splitting a stake over the more speculative red-card options, at big prices.

Watch out, Rangers…

Rangers v Slavia Prague is also finely-poised, with the score level at 1-1 after the 1st leg. The players in that one might want to watch out, too…

  • Israeli referee Orel Grinfeld has shown 9 Red Cards in his last 20 UEFA matches (Champions League/ Europa League)

So far this season, Rangers’ nine games in the Europa League have produced two Reds, with the same stat for Slavia Prague.

A Sending Off in that game is also priced at 7/2 (William Hill).

TODAY’S PICKS

From the analysis above, here are my picks for today…

AC Milan v Man Utd, 8pm

  • Player to be Booked: Fred @ 2/1 (3.0) Bet365, Boylesports
  • Player to be Carded: Theo Hernandez @ 21/10 (3.1) William Hill, Skybet
  • Player to be Sent Off: Fred @ 33/1 Boylesports, 28/1 William Hill, Skybet. Theo Hernandez @ 40/1 William Hill, Skybet

I’ll be back tomorrow with a weekend preview, including the FA Cup quarter finals.

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues