Loftus Road, Sunday, 4.10pm
AS far as relegation six-pointers go they don’t come much bigger than this – with the hosts looking increasingly likely to be kicking off next season in the second tier.
Harry Redknapp’s side have suffered unforgivable defeats at the hands of Aston Villa and Fulham in their last two games and are now a whopping seven points from safety with just seven left to play.
The home side will be without winger Shaun Wright-Phillips who has undergone ankle surgery this week but other than that it appears that Arry has a full complement to choose from.
Today's opponents Wigan are the side Redknapp’s charges will need to catch – which suggests anything other than a win here will all but condemn the Rs to the drop.
The Latics travel south full of confidence having won five of their last six, and, incredibly, it appears Roberto Martinez is likely to engineer another miraculous last-ditch survival.
A 1-0 win at home to Norwich last week was a huge result for the DW Stadium side and with an extra game to play compared to many of their rivals down the bottom, today's visitors will be desperate to leave Loftus Road with a positive result.
And the away boss will be boosted by the fitness of Callum McManaman, who was withdrawn at half time last weekend due to an ankle injury, but has been passed to play against QPR.
With both sides desperate for the points in this clash, I have a hunch we’ll see goals – and over 2.5 goals is available at 1.87.
A flutter on that market would have paid out in five of QPR’s last six outings and with 11 goals notched in their last five games it is clear it is not a lack of quality in the final third which has been the home side’s achilles heel of late.
Arry is not the most cautious of managers at the best of times but with this game being a case of do or die I think we will see the Rs come flying out of the traps on their own patch.
And though results have not been satisfactory in the last couple of games Rangers have mustered a whopping 21 shots on goal which suggests they are capable of carving out chances.
A look at the visitors’ recent results shows the Latics faithful have also been getting their money's worth of late.
Backing over 2.5 goals would have sent you home with a smile on your face in eight of their last nine games and that is also testament to the open nature of how Martinez likes his side to line up – especially at the DW Stadium.
With an end-to-end clash in the pipeline I reckon that, though short, the BTTS market is well worth a look pre-match.
It’s no secret QPR harbour some real quality in their squad – but even so they are always likely to ship a goal or two as shown in recent weeks.
Christopher Samba came in for a lot of stick last week following a disastrous performance against Fulham and he will be looking to make amends in this clash but I still think the visitors have the attacking threat to put their hosts on the back foot.
A bet on this market would’ve paid out in five of QPR’s last half a dozen outings and five of Wigan’s last seven Premier League away games.
The Latics have not been involved in a goalless draw since February 2012 and that is a telling statistic, especially as QPR have shipped a massive 14 goals in six outings of late.
It is 1.67 for these sides to notch at least one each and that’s well worth a back.
QPR go into this game priced as favourites – and with just two wins from their last 10 outings, and one win from nine at Loftus Road, I am struggling to see the value in backing that.
Yes, Redknapp’s side desperately need to take maximum points from this clash but Wigan are not a side you’d want to play at this stage in the season and with forward Arouna Kone in impressive form having notched his 10th goal of the season against Norwich, the Latics are always likely to pose a threat.
Wigan are a tempting 3.25 to take maximum points from this clash and I think there is real value in that bet – but for the more cautious among us the 2.26 on Wigan draw no bet with added insurance should the game end in a stalemate could tick a box.
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.87
Both teams to score @ 1.67
Wigan draw no bet @ 2.28