Middlesbrough v Spurs: Tottenham Looking for Cup Comforts

middlesbroughTottenham will catch up with some old friends this Sunday as they travel to the Riverside to take on Middlesbrough. With Jonathan Woodgate at the helm, assisted by Robbie Keane, it’s been a difficult season for the north east club but any Championship side should provide a tough 90 minutes at home in the FA Cup.

It was a disappointing period in the league over Christmas for Spurs with just four points gained from a possible nine against three struggling sides. Attention now turns to Sunday and an odd kick off time of 14:01 so let’s see if we can predict the outcome of what looks to be a tricky third round tie.

Team News

The FA Cup can be a time to rest key players but that may not be the case for Tottenham on Sunday. There is a trophy on the line so who is battling to be included in the starting XI?

The best news surrounds Son Heung-Min who returns from this three match suspension. It’s been a productive competition for the South Korean in the past and Sonny should be nice and rested and ready to start the game.

Of course, the big question surrounds Harry Kane who picked up a hamstring injury in the loss to Southampton on New Year’s Day. There is no official word on his prognosis but it’s thought that the striker will be out for several weeks. Elsewhere, Danny Rose, Ben Davies, Hugo Lloris and Tanguy Ndombele have all been ruled out by areas of the press while Eric Dier may return following illness.

With Sonny returning, there are no suspension issues but clearly we can expect something of a patched up squad to travel to the north east.

Match Odds

Despite concerns over form and the concession of home advantage, Spurs will start as heavy odds on favourites to win this game in 90 minutes. You can currently pick up the visitors at an industry best of 4/6 with Coral while the draw is the next available option at 3/1 with BetFred and SportingBet.

Anyone looking to get behind Middlesbrough can claim a top price of 23/5 with Unibet and 888Sport and why wouldn’t you – given Tottenham’s issues right now.

This isn’t a market that we would want to get involved in as neutral punters but the draw does look to be a tempter at that 3/1 figure. It’s been a wretched period on the pitch and those injuries make us look vulnerable so a level scoreline after 90 minutes may well be the most logical outcome.

Other Side Bets

Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min

Jose Mourinho may look to make some changes following a busy festive fixture list but, as the FA Cup offers our best chance of silverware, Spurs fans will want us to be as close to full strength as possible. The usual suspects are at the top of the individual goalscorer markets but it may, therefore, be wise to check the teamsheets before you commit.

Harry Kane is the regular favourite to open the scoring and he remains at the top of the charts but he is certain to miss out following that hamstring issue. Avoid Harry at his best odds of 100/30 with Betway and look elsewhere.

Of those with a more realistic chance of starting the game, Son Heung-Min carries the lowest numbers at 4/1 with Betway. The bookies suspect that Troy Parrott may come in as a straight swap for Kane and the teenager is quoted at best odds of 5/1 with VBet. We suspect that Parrott may start on the bench at best so you may want to skip to Lucas Moura at a top price of 6/1 with 888Sport.

We now come to Boro’s first representative as Britt Assombalonga drops in at best odds of 15/2 with Betway and 888Sport. Other options for the home team include Ashley Fletcher, Rudy Gestede and Stephen Walker who can all be picked up at the same top price of 10/1 with VBet.

Meanwhile, other picks for Spurs include Dele Alli at a best of 15/2 with VBet plus Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela who can both be claimed at 17/2 with 888Sport.

Other popular side bets include Both Teams to Score and this is quoted at a best of 8/11 with BetFred. Despite their struggles in the league this season, Middlesbrough have won their last four games, scoring seven times in the process and that looks a reasonable figure.

As for total goals, you can go Over the 2.5 line and claim best odds of 19/17 with 10Bet. Everyone else is at odds on so that may be the best option while it lasts. We suspect it may be an error in pricing and would look, on this occasion, at Under the 2.5 line at 23/20 with Coral.

As for Correct Score betting, we feel that 1-1 may be the way to go at best odds of 29/4 with SportingBet. Alternatively, 1-0 to Spurs is available at 31/4 with SportingBet again while the same outcome in favour of Middlesbrough can be claimed at a top price of 67/4 with SportNation and RedZone.

Dangerman

As we saw when rounding up the goal scorer betting, Britt Assombalonga carries the shortest price of any Middlesbrough player. The former Nottingham Forest striker signed for Boro in 2017 and since then, he’s scored 35 league goals in the north east including 6 in 18 this season.

Another man to watch could be Rudy Gestede who opened the scoring in Boro’s most recent win over Preston North End.

Head to Head

tottenhamYou might automatically assume that Spurs would, historically, have the upper hand over a side such as Middlesbrough but that isn’t the case. In fact, the head to head stats are dead level with 35 wins apiece since the teams first played in 1905.

There are 23 draws to be added to that list, including that very first game which was also an FA Cup tie. Tottenham needed a replay to come through and subsequent fixtures have been similarly close.

Recent results are more in our favour with three straight wins although Boro have been outside of the Premier League since their brief return in 2016/17. As always, it’s all about getting that next win and the victorious team will now sneak in front in this particular head to head battle.

Verdict

Ever since we started this blog we’ve been saying that it’s hard to back Spurs with any great confidence but it’s very much the case right now. The honeymoon period for Mourinho is over and the hard work now begins in this winter transfer window.

We also often say that we should be winning certain games but this time we’re not so sure. Middlesbrough have won their last four matches while our issues are evident.

Before it gets too depressing, we’ll sign off with these three tips. Both Teams to Score is our most confident and we think there will be just one goal in it over a tight 90 minutes. Lucas Moura is our tip to open the scoring – a frustrating player who scores just often enough to keep consistent criticism at bay.

Best Bets:

  • Lucas Moura to score the first goal at 6/1 with 888Sport
  • Both Teams to Score at 8/11 with BetFred
  • Winning Margin of One Goal on either side at 8/5 with Betway

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