Football Tips: Our 3 prize playoff punts for Sunderland v Lincoln League One clash

Our tipster Colin Harvey digs deep into Sunderland's League One playoff semi final second leg clash with Lincoln on Saturday.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Sunderland stumbled into the playoffs in terrible form and they carried that into Wednesday’s League One first leg semi final, losing 2-0 to Lincoln. The Imps surrendered possession but were good value for their win, despite some lucky breaks.

The hosts started fast and hit the woodwork but The Black Cats went one better and rattled the bar twice in quick succession. Lincoln finally broke the deadlock before Sunderland shot themselves in the foot in comic fashion with Brennan Johnson chasing down and blocking keeper Lee Burge’s clearance to tap into an empty net. It all felt very Sunderland.

It means The Black Cats have a big hill to climb if they are to make it to Wembley for a second time this season and the omens are not good. But can they do it? Let’s take a look at your three best bets for this game.

Saturday 3.30pm: Sunderland v Lincoln
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Lincoln to Win

This isn’t my most confident selection ever, given that Lincoln will go through with anything better than a one-goal loss, but the price is too appealing to ignore – especially with Sunderland’s appetite for self-destruction. Saturday’s home side have won just once in their last 10 games and squandered a realistic chance of automatic promotion with that shocking form after a stunning run of nine wins in 11 games up to the start of April.

Lincoln have won five of their last 10 and did a real job on Lee Johnson’s men at Sincil Bank. Given the reaction online after the first leg, this could turn ugly at the Stadium of Light if Sunderland don’t start well and the return of fans could actually work against them here.

I think this is a bit of a toss-up in terms of the 90 minutes on Saturday but, with the prices on offer, I’m throwing my lot in with a Lincoln Win. The Imps are superb on the road and had the best regular-season away-day record.

They won 13 of their 23 away games which is four more than Sunderland managed on home soil and, after finally beating The Black Cats at the fourth attempt this season on Wednesday, will be full of confidence that they can do it again here.

Over 2.5 Goals

With some better luck in the first leg we could have easily seen Over 4.5 Goals land and I think we’re in for plenty of goal-mouth action again on Saturday. Neither of these sides are particularly special at the back and both love to get forward.

In their last five, Sunderland have seen 15 goals at an average of three per game. For The Imps it’s 13 goals at an average of 2.6 and an aggregate of 2.8 between the two. Drama follows Sunderland around like a bad smell and I think we’re in for a particularly pungent spectacle here. We could easily pass the Over 2.5 Goals target.

Jorge Grant to Score Anytime

Now I’m not saying Sunderland are a one-man team, but Charlie Wyke has scored 18 goals more than any of his team-mates and the same amount as the next five top scorers combined with a very impressive 25. However, if he doesn’t get into the game then Sunderland are in trouble.

Lincoln share them about much more and their top scorer comes in the form of wide man Jorge Grant. He’s got 15 goals and is a decent enough price to score again in this one. With Wyke making the market for everyone else, Jorge Grant to Score Anytime is the value play in the goal-scorer sphere.

Tips for Sunderland v Lincoln

Lincoln to Win
Over 2.5 Goals
Jorge Grant to Score Anytime

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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