Dublin vs Roscommon: Roscommon (+14) – Evens
Arguably the most interesting thing about Dublin’s Championship games this season has been their battle to beat the spread. In their four games to date, the Dubs have scored just about enough in the closing stages to record handsome victories and win despite a huge handicap.
However, the 14-point handicap that has been bestowed upon them for their clash with Roscommon seems a little bit much.
Much has been made of the fact that Dublin have home advantage for the second week in succession, and that they mercilessly hammered Roscommon in last year’s Super 8s, but context needs to be applied to that dead rubber last August.
Dublin, already guaranteed top spot in the group, welcomed a Roscommon team who had already bowed out of the Championship following defeats to Tyrone and Donegal. The last thing they would have wanted was to face an experimental Dublin team full of players keen to make an impact before their semi-final with Galway, making it unfair to predict this year’s game based off last year’s result.
Roscommon also look a far better team this year. They have laid waste to Mayo and Galway in Connacht, while they put up a much-improved performance against Tyrone when compared to last year’s mauling.
The addition of Conor Cox appears to have given their forward line another dimension and they have the tools to hurt a Dublin team that looked vulnerable for large parts against Cork.
Dublin will win this one, make no mistake about it. Bit, they just might succumb to the handicap for the first time.
Tyrone vs Cork: Over 3.5 goals – 9/4
Cork showed plenty of promise in their 13-point defeat to Dublin and the scoreline offers literally zero reflection of what was an excellent performance for the most part.
Their 1-17 was the joint-most Dublin have conceded in the championship since 2015 and Cork should realistically have scored more, passing up several excellent goalscoring chances.
The major concern for Cork, however, was their defensive performance. While the Rebels might have hurt Dublin, it was nothing to what Dublin did to them.
Dublin seemed to cruise through Cork’s spine at their leisure and could have had more goals if they had been gutsier in the first half.
Their late flurry of goals certainly made the game appear more lopsided than it was, but it was a direct result of Cork’s open style of play and Tyrone will be licking their chops at the prospect of taking on such a leaky defence.
Tyrone were less than convincing against Roscommon though, and but for a combination of Niall Morgan and the lack of a killer touch, the Rossies would have found the back of the net such was the regularity with which they found themselves in front of goal.
This Cork team look to be more ruthless than Roscommon in terms of raising green flags though, having scored 11 goals in four Championship games.
If presented with the same sort of chances, Cork should take full advantage in a game full of goals.
* All odds correct at time of posting and may vary up to throw-in.