That’s not because there isn’t a whole lot between the teams – there very much is – in a season where almost everyone in the division looks capable of snatching a play-off spot, somehow Barnsley are still slacking behind the rest, 16 points off the top six.
You never want to condemn someone to relegation at this point, but we’re only a couple of weeks away from making those blanket statements – against our best judgement.
But you’re not pricing up sixth against bottom, you’re pricing up the conditions. Here are our tips for Friday’s game.
Both Teams to Score (Yes) – 1/2
The problem for Barnsley is not at the top end of the pitch. Many teams have scored less than a goal a game (12 in 14) and been safe, but the issue is the 27 times they’ve conceded.
Birmingham for example, are right in the play-off conversation, despite scoring just 14 times – just two more than Barnsley – but they’ve conceded just 16.
It will never fail to amaze me why Barnsley aren’t more focused on being resolute at the back rather than wide open in midfield for teams who are much better than them technically pick them apart.
But it does lend us the privilege of punting both teams to score here, which, admittedly, is 1/2, but I’d probably make it slightly shorter if I was pricing it.
Half Time Result: Draw – 6/5
As I said in the intro, you’re not backing the league table, you’re backing the situation. It’s funny how little people look into the psychology of sport.
Players can fall into routine like taking their foot off the gas when they’re two-nil up – hence why you see so many teams come back at that point – or playing better when down to ten.
Given these players don’t have the level of mental coaching that the likes of Man City have at their disposal, they’re more susceptible to giving up on what they should achieve and accepting what they’re expected to achieve.
A slow start to a Friday night fixture under lights is one of them. Neither group of players will be overly ambitious and realise they can do half a day’s work and only begin playing in the second half of the proceedings. Watch it and see.
Andreas Weimann to Score Anytime – 15/8
When in doubt, Andreas Weimann.
The 28-year-old Austrian scored last week against Wigan, and he’s also considerably better away from home – becoming the first Bristol City player to score a hat-trick away from home in the top two tiers of English football since Kevin Mabbutt in 1978.
Now, a nice piece of trivia for you to tell your mates when you’re six drinks in.
We offer the full service here at Paddy Power, folks.
* All odds correct at time of posting.