Aston Villa vs West BromEnglish Championship, KO: 12:30 May 11, 2019, Villa Park
NOBODY is heading into the play-offs in better form than Aston Villa, even though a late strike by leaders Norwich ended their 12-game unbeaten run at the weekend.
That incredible sequence included 10 successive Championship victories so Dean Smith's side will be looking to take that momentum into the games that will make or break their promotion push.
First up is a Midlands derby and it promises to be a cracker with West Brom also in decent form, having lost just once in their last five matches.
That also came at the weekend as Derby defeated the Baggies 3-1 at Pride Park to book their own place in the play-offs.
West Brom have the edge in meetings between these sides this season, winning 2-0 at Villa Park back in February after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Hawthorns in December.
Jay Rodriguez netted in both those games, including a last-gasp equaliser, so it may pay to back the Baggies striker again here.
While West Brom won on their last trip to Villa Park, Smith's side have been transformed since then, with midfielder Conor Hourinhane claiming they are now a different proposition.
It's hard to disagree with him and I fancy a home win in this one, with Villa a best 51/50 with Marathonbet. That's not a great price so try doubling it with both teams to score which increases the odds to 16/5 with Ladbrokes.
Scotland star John McGinn has been Villa's driving force in midfield, chipping in with six goals in an impressive debut campaign. But the former Hibs man has amassed even more yellow cards, 14 in total, so it may be wiser to back him for a card instead of a goal.
McGinn is 9/2 with Paddy Power in the anytime scorer market but I've yet to see any odds on him picking up a card. I will keep my eyes peeled and provide an update.
It's Jack Grealish who provides the creative spark for Villa though, with boss Smith recently claiming he's worth £60million, and I like the look of the 9/1 Sky Bet are offering on the playmaker scoring from outside the area.
Four of the six goals scored in clashes between these teams this season have come in the first half. So it could pay to back the first period as the highest-scoring half at 5/2 with Ladbrokes.
This English Championship match between Aston Villa and West Brom will be played on May 11, 2019 and kick off at 12:30