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Nic Ladds 16th Apr 2010 - 16:59

Can Boro beat the Baggies and bounce in to the play-offs?

Middlesbrough are only four points off a play-off place and if they could upset the odds against an already promoted West Brom side, they could put themselves right back in contention for a spot in the play-off lottery.

However it will not be easy for Boro, although West Brom seemingly have nothing to play for, Di Matteo's men are unbeaten in nine and have won 15 of their 21 matches at the Hawthorns this season.

Middlesbrough have been decent away from home, picking up 21 points on their travels. It is mainly their poor home form and inability to see off matches that has been their main problem.

Gordon Strachan has insisted that if his side can get at least seven points from their last three matches, it will provide an interesting end to the season. Considering their other two matches are against Coventry and Leicester, you would expect this one to be where he anticipated one point.

Di Matteo has also insisted his side will not be winding down as the season draws to a close, he also added he wants to see his side end the season in style as players are playing for their futures and a spot in the squad next season.

West Brom (5/6) look a good price considering their home record and the fact they are 25 points ahead of their opponents. They are also historically strong against Boro; they have won their last three and haven't conceded in 316 minutes.

Middlesbrough (12/5) do look short, the reverse fixture at The Riverside ended in a humiliating 5-0 win for The Baggies. That was only a month after Strachan had been given the job and since then he has slowly turned the ship around and they do look harder to beat.

I think any changes Strachan is trying to implement are taking their time to change the fortunes of the club and their decent run of not conceding in 235 minutes seems to have come too late in the season.

With a full summer to implement changes and put a real mark on the squad I think next season will be Middlesbrough's year to shine.

Back to this match, I think West Brom will have too much Championship experience and quality for Middlesbrough. They are very strong at home and Middlesbrough have struggled against the sides around the top of the table this season.

Boro old boys James Morrison and Chris Brunt could well come back to haunt their old clubs. Morrison looks a good each-way punt to score at 16/1, Brunt has 13 goals in the league and he is 8/1 to score first.

Since the departure of Adam Johnson, Boro have struggled to find a consistent scorer. The ex-Celtic 'Bhoys' have certainly chipped in, Barry Robson has five (12/1 first goal) and Scott McDonald has three (7/1) and they could really be pivotal next season.

I think if Boro can score, they could snag a draw (5/2) but their form is temperamental at best and it is always tricky when betting on them. I personally think West Brom will win 2-0 but if you think the Teessiders can cause an upset then I would be all over the 2/1 draw no bet.



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