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Football Betting Tips: Coventry and Middlesbrough to renew rivalry

Coventry started the week with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough, which was enough to guarantee a top-six finish in the Championship, and they will finish it by hosting the same opponents in the first leg of their play-off semi-final.

Dan Childs’ Coventry v Middlesbrough Tips

First Leg - Middlesbrough to win @ 9/5
Over 2.5 goals @ 6/5
Cameron Archer to score first @ 15/2

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

Setting the scene…..

Mark Robins’s Coventry side were not expected to feature in the promotion race, but they recovered strongly after a slow start (no win in seven) and are approaching the play-offs on a seven-game unbeaten run.

The Sky Blues have been on the up in recent years, winning promotions in 2017/18 and 2019/20, and they are attempting to end their 22-year exile from the Premier League.

Boro have not been a top-flight side since 2017, but they have improved massively under Michael Carrick and are the favourites to fill the final promotion slot.

First Leg - Middlesbrough to win @ 9/5

Middlesbrough secured just one point against Coventry from their two Championship fixtures, losing 1-0 at the CBS Arena and drawing 1-1 at the Riverside, but they look tempting 9/5 shots to secure a first-leg advantage.

Coventry are 8/5 to take a lead into next Wednesday's return match on Teesside, while the draw can be backed at 11/5, but it looks like being a fairly open game and Middlesbrough's wealth of attacking talent may give them the edge.

Monday's 1-1 draw between the teams was a fair result after a contest of contrasting styles, with Middlesbrough amassing a 73% share of possession and Coventry edging the shot count nine to eight.

However, it would be a mistake to read too much into the game.

Coventry were delighted to draw their final game as it gave them enough points to guarantee a top-six finish, while Middlesbrough were fairly pleased to end a two-game losing sequence and protect the fitness of key players.

The dynamic looks different this time around.

Boro will be going at full tilt for the first time since their automatic promotion hopes faded, while Coventry are sure to be targeting a victory to give them something to hold onto in the second leg.

The ingredients are in place for a more open game and that could play into the hands of Middlesbrough, who are the division's second highest scorers with 84 goals.

Dan Childs’ Tip:

This is set to be a more open contest than Monday's 1-1 draw and that could favour the attacking flair of visitors Middlesbrough, who may prove good value to win the match at 9/5.

Football

Over 2.5 goals @ 6/5

The Championship's most talented centre-forwards go head-to-head on Sunday lunchtime, with Victor Gyokeres leading Coventry's push for a Premier League place and Chuba Akpom hoping to help Boro back to the big time.

Gyokeres has been a big player for Coventry for the last couple of years and his impact on this season has been immense.

The 24-year-old Swede has contributed 21 goals and 10 assists, meaning he has been directly involved in 31 (53%) of Coventry's 58 goals.

He is a huge player for the Sky Blues and will probably need to play close to his best if Coventry are to have a decent chance of going up.

Coventry have defended reasonably well, conceding just 46 goals, but they have kept just one clean sheet in their last six home games, and attack may be their best form of defence against Boro, who are sure to play with more intent than they did on Monday.

Six of Middlesbrough's last eight away fixtures have generated at least three goals and there may be some value in siding with over 2.5 goals at 6/5 this weekend.

Dan Childs’ Tip:

Between them, Coventry and Boro boast some of the best attackers in the Championship and that is surely a recipe for goals. Over 2.5 in the match certainly looks an option at 6/5.

Cameron Archer to score first @ 15/2

Middlesbrough's outstanding attacker, Akpom, has been even more devastating than Gyokeres, scoring 28 league goals, but he is not under as much pressure to win games on his own.

Boro possess a wider array of attacking threats, with forwards Cameron Archer and Marcus Forss contributing goal tallies of 11 and 10 and attacking midfielder Matt Crooks scoring seven times - despite making 19 of his 37 league appearances from the bench.

Akpom is sure to be highlighted as the main threat to Coventry and will be popular at 9/2 to score the first goal.

However, it is arguable that Archer is in even better form, having scored five goals in his last five appearances.

The Aston Villa loanee is an assured finisher and popped up with the equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Coventry earlier this week.

And he seems to relish the big occasion, as he showed when bagging a brace in Boro's outstanding 3-1 victory at Sheffield United in February.

Archer looks as much of a threat as Akpom and he looks an interesting first scorer option at 15/2.

Dan Childs’ Tip:

Cameron Archer is a forward in form and his 15/2 odds to open the scoring on Sunday could well prove too big to ignore.

Dan Childs’ Coventry v Middlesbrough Tips

First Leg - Middlesbrough to win @ 9/5
Over 2.5 goals @ 6/5
Cameron Archer to score first @ 15/2

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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