Cardiff vs FulhamEnglish Championship, KO: 19:45 Jul 27, 2020, Cardiff City Stadium
CARDIFF City welcome Fulham to the Welsh capital on Monday night in the first leg of the English Championship playoff semi-finals.
Both respective clubs were relegated from the English Premier League last season and both will be desperate to bounce back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
The Bluebirds finished eight points behind the Cottagers in the final league standings and Neil Harris's men required a 3-0 win over Hull last midweek to be sure of a top-six place.
Cardiff's charge towards the playoffs coincided with Neil Harris's arrival last November and the capital club will be looking to build on their strong end to the season when they face Fulham on Monday night.
Scott Parker's side fell at the final hurdle in their pursuit of an automatic promotion place but the Cottagers will take confidence from their playoff triumph two seasons ago.
The West Londoners come into this clash in the midst of a seven match unbeaten run and it's worth noting that one of those successes was a 2-0 win over Monday nights opponents Cardiff.
Cardiff have managed a mere one victory over Fulham in their last 11 attempts and a home win for Harris and Co on Monday night is at best 9/5 with with William Hill
A Fulham win is also trading at 9/5 (Genting) while an all-square first leg can be backed at 11/5 with Boylesports.
The opening English Championship playoff semi-final between Swansea and Brentford was a cagey and low-scoring affair and I wouldn't be surprised to see another tight tussle at the Cardiff City Stadium on Monday night.
Cardiff have become a tough nut to crack since Harris's took the hot seat – the Bluebirds have avoided defeat in 24 of the 30 league matches that the former Milwall manager has taken charge of to date.
Indeed, one of those six setbacks came against the Cottagers, however, the Bluebirds have bagged all three points in six of their nine run-outs since the resumption – a sample that includes a well-deserved 2-0 win over title winners Leeds
What's more, Fulham have become a well-schooled side under the stewardship of Scott Parker and that is reflected in the fact that under 2.5 goals has landed across nine of the Londoners last 11 road trips.
Under 2.5 strikes looks a bit short in this semi-final showdown at 4/6 with SportingBet so I'm going to opt for an alternative angle with the view to getting Cardiff onside whilst opposing goals.
Combining Cardiff on the double chance alongside under 3.5 match goals when making use of Bet 365's Bet Builder feature takes appeal at 4/5 (Bet 365) given that it's a combination that has clicked in four of the five fixtures at this venue since the restart.
Taking this approach would have also banked profit in five of Fulham's last seven away games, not to mention the Whites have won just four of their last 14 league games away from home.
With that in mind coupled with the fact that Cardiff boast the joint best home record in the Championship I'm prepared to have a play on the above-mentioned combination at 5/6 with Bet 365.
I'm also going to delve into the card markets and combine over zero cards in the match for Cardiff alongside over one card in the match for Fulham at 5/6 with Bet 365 – a punt that would have paid in the previous two meetings this season.
Fulham sit fifth in the fair play table – averaging 1.87 cards per-game this term – and given what's at stake here I'm happy to back two or more Cottagers cards and at least one Cardiff card in what should be a closely-fought first leg.
This English Championship match between Cardiff and Fulham will be played on Jul 27, 2020 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Cardiff vs Fulham prediction.