Aston Villa take on Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday in a 5:30pm kick-off at Villa Park.
The Villains’ chances of qualifying for European football have taken a hit in recent weeks, taking only three points from a possible nine since Jack Grealish’s injury.
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Wolves, meanwhile, can move level on points with 10th-placed Arsenal with a victory depending on results elsewhere.
Villa are 11/8 favourites to win the match, with the draw 9/4 and a Wolves win 21/10.
Craig Pawson has been replaced by Andy Madley as the referee for the Black Country derby, which is a bit of a blow in terms of backing cards.
Pawson averages 3.93 cards per game in the PL this season compared to Madley at 2.64.
However, Madley has shown two or more cards in each of his last seven PL games, with six of those seeing both teams receiving at least one card each.
That will be my first play here given that the reverse fixture had a phenomenal 11 cards shown by Mike Dean.
Moreover, 1+ card each team has landed in 19 of Wolves’ 27 league games this season, and in five of Villa’s last six.
I’m also going to back Under 4 Goals for Both Teams Combined, with this landing in 20 of Wolves’ last 24 games and in 17 of Villa’s last 19 games.
Both sides are without their best players in the shape of Grealish and Raul Jimenez, with neither anywhere near as potent offensively without them.
Lastly, to boost our Bet Builder, I will back Over 2 Corners for Wolves. Excluding their trips to Manchester City and Chelsea, probably the two most proficient sides in the league at dominating possession, Wolves have averaged 7.22 corners per game since the turn of the year.
Villa, meanwhile, have conceded 7+ corners in four of their last five games, with the exception at Sheffield United on Wednesday when the Blades were reduced to ten men for 30 minutes.
Over 0 Cards for Aston Villa, Over 0 Cards for Wolves, Under 4 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Over 2 Corners for Wolves @ 21/20 (bet365).
If you want a slightly bigger price, the same bet but with 4+ corners each team is 2/1.
In terms of player cards, the lack of Grealish always makes things a little less obvious to predict. Douglas Luiz hasn’t started Villa’s last two games either, which is a shame as he was sent off in the reverse fixture and has been booked in each of his last three starts.
Personally, I like the look of Matt Targett and Ahmed El Mohammedy at 9/2 and 6/1 respectively (both Sky Bet), with Pedro Neto and Adama Traore likely to cause them plenty of issues.
Both full-backs were booked against Leeds recently, with Targett also booked in the reverse fixture.
For Wolves, I’d probably sway towards Joao Moutinho at 7/2 (also Sky Bet), as he is likely to be in John McGinn’s vicinity and was sent off in the reverse fixture.
The Scotland midfielder seems to take a lot more ball-carrying responsibility without Grealish, drawing nine fouls across the three games without him.
Look out for a tasty treble should all three players start, which should be at least 150/1.
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