BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Eagles can land massive win in drop-zone scrap

IF the Championship playoff final is known as the £170m match then there must be a fair few noughts hanging off the end of Sunday’s showdown between Crystal Palace and Hull.

When Sky announced their final batch of live TV games in mid-April and lobbed this one into the mix, the Eagles had just thumped Arsenal 3-0 and were looking relatively safe, six points clear of the drop zone with a game in hand on most of those around them.

Fast forward a few weeks and that gap has tightened considerably, to the extent that if they lose at home to Hull everything will be up for grabs on the final weekend.

Given how Hull got it all wrong against Sunderland last weekend and how Big Sam just loves all this brinkmanship, I’m taking Palace to settle any nerves and chalk up a massive win.

I don’t think it’ll send Hull down because I’m not convinced Swansea can dot up at Sunderland. And I’m certainly not backing the Welshmen at odds-on.

From a last possible 21 road points, Paul Clement’s men have accrued the grand total of one and we all saw at the KCom that Sunderland aren’t quite done with yet.

My big bet of the weekend is under 1.5 goals in the Boro-Soton showdown, closely followed by the same game being shown last on Match of the Day. If it’s shown at all.

These two are the 0-0 draw specialists of the Premier League with 13 between them this season and while it’s just possible that it might match the drama and excitement of their first meeting at St Mary’s (Saints won 1-0), I very much doubt it.

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Match in Focus

15:00 TODAY

C Palace v Stoke

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Palace’s only five points of the season have come from their last three home games
Expert verdict
Things are slowly picking up for Crystal Palace, who have beaten Chelsea and drawn with West Ham and Everton in their last three games at Selhurst Park. A home clash with Stoke looks winnable for the Eagles as the Potters have conceded 20 goals in their last eight league matches.