QPR could scupper Burnley's title challenge when the teams clash on Sky this afternoon.
With Burnley’s fate in their own hands and promotion guaranteed should they collect four points from their remaining two games, it’s hard to imagine them coming up short on home soil against a QPR team for whom the focus has already switched to next season. The R’s have won only one of their last seven matches and they were soundly beaten 4-0 on their last away trip to Brighton.
That’s not to say they can’t have an impact on this game and at least show glimpses of a brighter future under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, just don’t expect it for 90 minutes. Ultimately, Burnley should prevail without too much difficulty but 4/11 is a ludicrous price about the home win, at least until we know the outcome of the earlier clash between Brighton and Derby.
Events at the Amex Stadium could have a major bearing. The pubs around east Lancashire will be packed for two hours before kick-off, and the atmosphere inside Turf Moor will be electric if the Seagulls happen to drop points, thereby presenting the Clarets with an opportunity to seal their return to the Premier League in front of their own fans, a week earlier than expected.
Opportunity is the keyword there, as opposed to obligation. At the time of writing, Sean Dyche’s men have an obligation to win the game but the shift in focus that would be provided by the prospect of ending the day with a pitch invasion shouldn’t be underestimated. The difference between anxiety in the stands and anticipation could be the difference between 4/7 and 4/11.
Without that knowledge in advance, we can only make a call on the markets that aren’t really affected and there’s decent value in the 15/4 quote about QPR scoring the first goal. It only takes one speculative effort from distance to cop this bet and Rangers, under Hasselbaink, have shown themselves to be rather adept at breaking the deadlock on their travels.
In a dozen away games since the Dutchman picked up the reins, the Hoops have gone ahead in six, compared with only four times falling behind. And it’s probably no coincidence given what we know about Hasselbaink’s game-management skills and how consistently he landed the breakthrough during his impressive 13-month stint in charge of Burton.
Rangers haven’t picked up the full repertoire of Brewers traits just yet but that doesn’t prevent us making a profit out of them performing in patches. If they do grab the first goal, expect it to be early and push your luck in pursuit of a bigger windfall that they protect it until half-time. Given the respective level of incentive, the 9/1 available on QPR to win the first half is much better value than the 11/1 on them to win the game.
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