Blackpool v Millwall Cheat Sheet
Blackpool v Millwall
This is a huge match for both clubs and the nerves will be everywhere, on the pitch, on the benches, but, probably most of all, in the stands.
The Bloomfield Road faithful will be backing their players to get a result to keep survival possible. If Blackpool don’t win this match then it is practically all over for them in terms of staying in the Championship for another year.
However, Stephen Dobbie’s recent success in his caretaker spell has come from Blackpool being firm in defence and being able to nick a goal. They have won 1-0 twice in his short spell and even in defeat the scoreline was kept down under 2.5 goals.
Though Blackpool do have some attacking talent in the shape of Morgan Rogers, Josh Bowler, CJ Hamilton and others, what they are lacking, mainly due to injury, are genuine centre forwards and goalscorers. Dobbie, therefore, recognises that probably the best way for Blackpool to get the wins that they need is to keep it tight and take their chances if and when they come.
Millwall are a club that have played in a similar way under Gary Rowett. It hasn’t quite been like that this season, but still a lot of their recent away matches have been low-margin, low goal affairs. Whilst a draw here wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Lions, they have now dropped out of the play-off places and a win will put them back into 5th place and obviously gives their probability of making it a massive boost. Rowett will be going out to win the game.
Most of the evidence from form and recent results points to a cagey, low-scoring encounter. We have already discussed how both teams tend to go about getting their points, seven out of Millwall’s last ten away matches have seen under 2.5 goals collect and Blackpool at home have seen it happen in six out of then, though three of the other four matches were in the crazy end to Mick McCarthy’s short spell, Dobbie seems to have re-steadied the ship.
The only concern I have about backing the unders is that both teams, but especially Blackpool, need to win. However, I’m betting on the fact that the initial hour of the game could be a tense, trappy affair.
Given the amount of consequence in this match, the pulses will be raised on the pitch and in the stands. It is up to the players to keep themselves regulated, and the team that is able to keep their cool will probably have an advantage there, but it feels like the type of game in which the result is the be all and end all.
The referee that has been appointed for the match is Matt Donohue. Donohue is a strong referee with an above average rate of yellow cards of 4 per match, he also gives 22 fouls a match on average, which is sightly above the norm.
With the temperature of the match set as it is and a few potential culprits for fouls on show, combined with Donohoe’s record, I can see a few cards being dished out here.
The line for over 3.5 is much more reasonable than I had initially thought it would be given the above. It doesn’t necessarily matter, and shouldn’t hold much sway in Donohue’s mind but he has refereed both sides a couple of times this season previously and is averaging three yellows each team over the match.
Sticking to discipline and fouls for a minute brings us to a selection in the individual player foul market.
Blackpool’s Jordan Gabriel is often overpriced for both a foul and a yellow card. I would potentially back Gabriel for a yellow card as a single, but we can add some more juice to our bet builder by selecting him as someone who could produce a foul in the match.
The former Southend and Nottingham Forest academy player is a serial fouler of late, and the change hasn’t been picked up on by the layers. For example, Andy Lyons is priced up at 1/7 in this market, and has actually only committed fouls in three of his last six Championship matches. Gabriel didn’t foul last week, but did so in all of the five matches before that.
If Gabriel does start then he is pretty much a lock to see the whole game, barring injury. When starting you have to go back to August for the last time he didn’t complete the whole 90 minutes.
The final addition to the bet builder is for Morgan Rogers to fire off a couple of shots. The Manchester City loanee is more usually a wide forward, but has been pressed into action more as a centre forward recently.
Rogers is still developing but has a good physique to cope with the demands of playing as a centre forward if required. More importantly, his team needs goals and shooting opportunities and if they are going to fall to anyone, it is likely that Rogers will get his fair share.
His average shots per match over the season is only 0.9, and the bookmakers seem to be taking that a bit too literally. His recent deployment as a forward has seen his shot count increase and become more consistent, reading 2,1,1,2,2,2,2 in his last seven matches as a forward.
He managed two shots in a Birmingham away match last time out when the shot expectancy would’ve been much lower than here, so the 8/13 on offer for a repeat seems generous.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *