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Nic Ladds 17th May 2009 - 11:30

Black Cats won't need luck - just Cisse and Jones

It is the turn of the final relegation candidate to stand up and be counted as 2/1 shots Sunderland travel to take on 11/8 favourites Portsmouth in a bid to secure their Premier League status.

Rick Sbragia's side are not yet safe from the dreaded drop and a win would see them safe while a draw at odds of 11/5 would see them nearly there but still mathematically in danger.

Pompey are safe by the skin of their teeth which of course will have punters acutely aware that it is Sunderland who have it all to play for and could make them the appealing bet at 2/1.

While it is often hard to predict how these kind of matches will pan out it is highly likely that goals are going to be in short supply.

Looking at the statistics that Sunderland have not scored in three Premier League games and Portsmouth have failed to find the net in their last four could have punters queuing up to take odds of 15/2 about 0-0.

Other viable scores like 1-1 is 5/1 while 1-0 Pompey can be backed at 11/2 in the betting while the same result in favour of the away side is 7/1.

Should caution be thrown to the wind then something like 2-1 to Sunderland is at the very backable price of 12/1, however as Sunderland have not scored more than one goal in 11 games it could be best to stick with the low scores.

It is slightly surprising that The Black Cats haven't found the net as their strikers Djibril Cisse and Kenwyne Jones have been the subject of much speculation linking them with moves to bigger clubs in the summer.

Cisse is 7/1 while Jones cane backed at odds of 8/1 to bag the first goal, while other options look to be Steed Malbranque and Andy Reid who have chipped in this season and are 11/2 and 6/1 respectively to score anytime.

As a general rule if Peter Crouch isn't scoring then Portsmouth aren't scoring and the lanky England man is 5/1 favourite to bag the first goal with Nwankwo Kanu and Dave Nugent both at odds of 7/1.

Other bets that look of interest due to the probable low scoring nature of the game include the half time draw at even money and the draw/draw double result at odds of 4/1.

The 'draw no bet' market could well attract its supporters with Portsmouth available at 27/50 and Sunderland looking the better bet of the two in this market at 133/100.

Favour leans slightly towards The Black Cats in this fixture as they have something crucial to play for which is staying up but it is so hard to be confident, as they haven't scored an away goal in nine hours and 58 minutes.

If we take in to account also that Sunderland have Chelsea on the last day of the season they will be desperate that they will not have rely on getting something out of that game to survive.

This will no doubt be in the back of their minds so there is a chance nerves will get the better of them and they will self-destruct but they have the players and mental strength to get through this challenge against poor opposition.

The best option looks to be Sunderland in the 'draw no bet' market just to cover the bet should the stalemate occur, and a Kenwyne Jones who is a quality striker is the selection at a nice price of 8/1 to bag what could be a crucial first goal of the game.

Recommendation:
Sunderland draw no bet - 133/100
Kenwyne Jones to score first - 8/1

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