Bet Builder tips: In-form Andrew Beasley’s 24/1 Man Utd vs Middlesborough Friday night punt

Andrew Beasley is bang in form after landing a 24/1 Bet Builder last week and he's out to repeat the feat at Old Trafford.

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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

It should be an interesting FA Cup tie at Old Trafford on Friday evening when third best in the Premier League takes on the third best team in the Championship.

Except that we’re not referring to the actual league tables, that would be madness. No, we’re looking at the tables for the periods that Manchester United and Middlesbrough’s mid-season managerial appointments have been in charge. 

Manchester United v Middlesbrough – Friday, February 4: 8pm
ITV/ STV

Ralf Rangnick has steered his side to five wins, two draws and just one defeat from his eight league games, while Chris Wilder’s respective record is seven and two from 11 matches. In other words, neither team has been accustomed to losing lately.

United are fourth-favourites to win the FA Cup this season and obviously strong favourites here. Is there any hope for the visitors?

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    Manchester United to win

    If there is any hope, it mainly comes in the form of omens, many a long-suffering football fan’s best friend. While United beat Middlesbrough home and away in 2016/17, the season in which the latter were last in the Premier League, Boro won the last cup meeting (on penalties) at Old Trafford in the League Cup in 2015.

    And the last time they won away at a top flight side in the FA Cup was earlier the same year and in Manchester. Patrick Bamford scored one of the goals while Frank Lampard hit the woodwork for City, which makes it feel like a weird dream. 

    The Wild(er) Boys can also take inspiration from United’s uninspiring home record in 2021/22. They might have won four out of six under Rangnick but only one of those victories was by more than a single goal and they deservedly lost to Wolves last month too. 

    A lot will obviously depend on how strong a team the Red Devils’ gaffer decides to field. Their XI in the previous round was close to full strength – Ronaldo was left out entirely – though that was against Premier League opposition. But as this clearly represents United’s best hope of ending their four-season trophy drought, it’s reasonable to expect a decent team here. They haven’t conceded many goals under Rangnick and they should have enough up top to overcome Boro.

    Under 2.5 goals

    Paddy’s odds imply there’s an expectation of three goals in this match but United’s recent results at the Theatre of Yawns suggest that’s unlikely. Four of the last six matches have ended 1-0 (with three wins and one loss) while they drew 1-1 with Young Boys in their final Champions League Group Stage game too. Only in the 3-1 victory over Burnley were there more than two goals and that required a goal from Scott McTominay and Ben Mee putting through his own net.

    While neither is entirely unheard of, they’re hardly a reliable source of goals. Only Hull have seen fewer Championship matches pay out on over 2.5 goals than Middlesbrough this season, and the visitors’ plan will be to try to frustrate United and catch them on the break or from set pieces. It’s not a recipe for excitement, so we’ll take the Under 2.5 Goals here.

    Over 10.5 corners

    There might not be many goals but there should be plenty of corners, and aren’t they the real quiz? Thirteen of United’s league games this season have featured 11 corners, which is the joint-most in the division, and their average has been 11.1 per match.

    They’ve had the seventh most in the Premier League while also conceding the fifth most, so they clearly like to see linesmen pointing their flags to the ground. Middlesbrough stand fourth in the Championship for total corners per game, with 10.3, so we should be safe with a bet on over 10.5 corners here.

    Away team over 2.5 cards

    Boro are even higher in the second tier when it comes to the number of bookings seen in their matches. They are second behind only Blackburn for both yellow cards they’ve received and total average for them and their opponents combined.

    But where their record on corners is like United’s, here the two teams differ. Not so much for cards received but the Red Devils’ collective opponents have been shown very few yellow cards.

    Teams could beat them easily enough without fouling them at the start of the season, but it should be a little harder for the visitors to do likewise here.

    And Wilder will be delighted to see Manchester-born Anthony Taylor taking charge of this match, particularly as he shows an above average number of yellow cards. With his record combined with Middlesbrough’s, the visitors should receive over 2.5 cards.

    Manchester Utd vs Middlesborough tips

    Manchester United to Win
    Under 2.5 Goals
    Over 10.5 Corners
    Away Team Over 2.5 Cards

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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

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