Spurs v Middlesbrough: FA Cup Return Offers Chance to Respond

tottenhamHaving laboured to a 1-1 draw in the first game, Spurs must now find some fluency in order to come through this FA Cup third round replay. It’s been a slow period for the club and without a recognised striker, the lack of a cutting edge is a concern for all of us as we nervously move through this transfer window.

The game must be settled on the night but which way will it go?

Team News

There doesn’t appear to be any worsening of the injury crisis at Tottenham following Saturday evening’s match with Liverpool. That has to be seen as a small blessing but it does mean that Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Ben Davies and Tanguy Ndombele are all sidelined.

Giovani Lo Celso, Erik Lamela, Jan Vertonghen and Ryan Sessegnon are among those hopeful of starting while Japhet Tanganga will be looking to retain his place following an impressive debut. There are no suspensions either so will Jose rotate or will the starting XI be similar to Saturday’s selection?

Match Odds

Despite that recent run of form, Tottenham are the red hot favourites for Tuesday’s match and you can pick up the hosts at best odds of 5/19 with SportingBet. The draw in normal time is on offer at a top price of 11/2 with BetFred while a win for Middlesbrough comes in at a best of 13/1 with Unibet and 888Sport.

Remember, those are the 90 minute options while there is an additional To Qualify market which would take into account any extra time / penalties. Here, the numbers are even more extreme with Spurs quoted at 1/10 with SportingBet while Boro shorten to a best of 8/1 with VBet.

It would take a brave neutral punter to take Tottenham at any price. That’s not to say that we don’t expect us to win – it’s just that the odds involved carry no real value.

Other Side Bets

Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min

If you are getting behind Spurs but want some more interesting prices, we’ll need to head to the side betting. Starting with the first goal scorer and in the absence of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min gets us underway at best odds of 15/4 with VBet. The same operator follows up with Lucas Moura and Troy Parrott who can both be found at a top price of 9/2.

Spurs players dominate the opening exchanges in this market and you can claim Erik Lamela at a best of 13/2 with BetFred while it’s back to VBet for that same figure of 13/2 on Dele Alli. Perhaps the only other Tottenham player to consider is Christian Eriksen at best odds of 8/1 with BetFred and then it’s over to Middlesbrough.

Britt Assombalonga is their leading man as far as the bookies are concerned and he can be picked up at best odds of 12/1 with Betway. Meanwhile, Ashley Fletcher was the man on target in the first match and he can be claimed at a top price of 16/1 with VBet.

There are some good value options in that list but what about our remaining side bets? Both Teams to Score drops in at 7/10 with SportingBet. While that’s odds on, it’s actually quite generous and the bookies may be basing that on the fact that we’ve scored just five times in our last five matches.

Over to Total Goals now and you can back Over the 2.5 line at 11/18 with SportNation. You can push that to Over 3.5 and get best odds of 13/8 with BetFred but recent results suggest that you shouldn’t go too high on this one.

As for Correct Score, no-one would be surprised to see another 1-1 draw at the end of normal time and this is available at 10/1 with Betway and SportingBet. If you’re supremely confident, a 3-1 win in favour of Spurs can be backed at 11/1 with 10Bet.

Remember that if you do take any of these side bets, the prices quoted are for 90 minutes and exclude any extra time / penalties.

Dangerman

We pointed towards Britt Assombalonga last time but the former Nottingham Forest man was absent as Ashley Fletcher opened the scoring. Boro have played just once since then with Lewis Wing and Paddy McNair both on the scoresheet in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Derby County.

There is, therefore, some threats from across the pitch and while Middlesbrough started slowly under Jonathan Woodgate, the teams is gelling and have scored a respectable eight in their last five.

Head to Head

middlesbroughYou may recall that the teams were level on 35 wins apiece ahead of that initial game at the Riverside. That situation is therefore unchanged and we now have 24 draws to add to the list.

The next game is always the most important but it is interesting to look back over the statistics and see just how closely matched these teams have been over the years.

Verdict

We should really be seeing Championship sides off but are any of us confident that this will be swift and painless? The loss to Liverpool was a disappointment – even against a side who have yet to lose in the league this season – but were there enough encouraging signs to suggest Tuesday will be straightforward?

That loss reflected the lack of a cutting edge but even without Harry Kane, the likes of Sonny and Lucas have enough capability to cover. We suspect that a narrow win will be the outcome and we will be made to fight hard for progression to the next round. A 2-1 outcome could be a likely final score so we’ll start with Both Teams to Score plus a Winning Margin of one goal on either side.

Dele Alli has slipped back following his return to form under Jose Mourinho but let’s back the midfielder to get on the mark in 90 minutes. It would be a welcome sight and a contribution to a much needed win and boost for us all.

Best Bets:

  • Dele Alli to score anytime in 90 minutes at 15/8 with VBet
  • Both Teams to Score at 7/10 with SportingBet
  • Winning Margin of one goal on either side at 11/5 with Betway

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