Not only do the hosts boast an impressive record at The Valley, but Doncaster have generally struggled to be at their best on the road this season. Grant McCann’s men finished the regular campaign with only the 12th best away record in the division. The fact that they lost three more games than they won away from home is displeasing. As is the fact that they conceded an average of 1.61 goals and 1.65 expected goals. Moreover, when they visited this venue earlier in the campaign, Donny lost by two goals to nil.
From a betting point of view, it’s very difficult to oppose the hosts. The best option appears to be ‘Charlton to Win & Over 1.5 Goals’. The Addicks, who proved that they can both create chances and score goals against Donny’s back-line on Sunday, average 1.78 goals for at home, while Friday’s visitors have conceded an average of 1.61 on the road.
Ultimately, when we consider that Charlton have offered more (in all areas) at home than Doncaster have on the road, it’s not overly difficult to conclude that there’s a slightly greater chance of the hosts scoring twice on route to victory than the current prices suggest.
Since the start of last season, Charlton have only lost once in six clashes with Doncaster in all competitions, winning three and drawing two, including a 2-1 victory in the first leg at the Keepmoat.
Chris Maguire has found the net in his last two League One games; including play-off matches, Maguire hasn’t scored in three consecutive Football League games since January 2014 for Sheffield Wednesday.
Sunderland hold a slim 1-0 advantage heading into a tough second leg tie away at Portsmouth.
Chris Maguire's thunderous effort was enough to give the Black Cats victory in a tight contest that could well have ended level.
It puts Pompey in the difficult position of having to secure a win against a team who haven't lost many games this season. While it is a challenge, Kenny Jackett's men are capable of passing it.
Their home form, on the whole, has been good. While they had to settle for dropped points in their final two games of the regular season in front of their own supporters, the results gained at Fratton Park against top-half sides can give them hope.
While draws dominated February, including games against Barnsley and Doncaster, they beat Sunderland just before Christmas and they will need to draw upon that if they are to turn this contest around.
It may be a concern for Sunderland fans that their team lost 3-1 away to Pompey just before Christmas, but they will also feel their turn is due having been beaten on penalties by Kenny Jackett’s side in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
Portsmouth finished three points ahead of the Black Cats in the final league table and there has not been much between the clubs all season.
Another tight affair looks on the cards here and that should suit Sunderland, who are backed to hang on to their aggregate advantage and progress to a Wembley showdown with either Doncaster or, more probably, Charlton.
Familiar rivals do battle for a place in the League One play-off final – and Chris Maguire’s goal in the first leg may prove decisive in sending Sunderland to Wembley.
Maguire had only been on the Stadium of Light pitch as a substitute for four minutes when he broke the deadlock and even though Sunderland had Alim Ozturk sent off soon afterwards, they held out to earn themselves a 1-0 advantage to take to Fratton Park.
This will be the fifth meeting this season between two clubs who were in the Premier League when they had last faced each other nine years ago, both having fallen on hard times since then but trying to work their way back up to the elite level.
Portsmouth offer plenty going forward at home, Sunderland haven’t exactly spent 2019 battering teams on their travels. Since the turn of the year, Jack Ross’ men have certainly been tough to beat on the road, while their individual quality has carried them over the line at times, but they’ve been halted by some fairly average teams and have often posted some rather displeasing figures.
The Black Cats average just 1.25 goals for away from home in 2019, while they also average a rather measly 1.17 expected goals for. Add in the fact that they ended the regular campaign by losing away against both Fleetwood and Southend, both of whom scored twice, and it’s easy to fear for the visitors ahead of Thursday’s second leg.
Given both the numbers produced by Portsmouth at home and the numbers produced by Sunderland on the road, ‘Portsmouth to Score Over 1.5 Goals’ stands out as a viable option with the betting the way that it is currently. Pompey have little choice but to adopt an attacking approach, while their previous efforts at this venue suggest that the chance of such an approach yielding a couple of goals is slightly greater than the current prices suggest.