Portsmouth v Sunderland Preview, Odds & Tips | 16/05/19

Portsmouth v Sunderland Preview, Odds & Tips

Football specialist James O’Rourke (@JamesOR1) previews Portsmouth v Sunderland and provides us with his best bets for Thursday’s Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • 2019 Profit & Loss: +0.46pts

Portsmouth v Sunderland Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 16/05/19
  • Time: 19:45
  • Venue: Fratton Park
  • Channel: Sky Sports Main Event

Saturday’s first leg was expected to be a close encounter and that very much proved to be the case. A fine second half strike from substitute Chris Maguire proved to be enough to give The Black Cats a 1-0 lead going into second leg, but Portsmouth had a few openings of their own to give them hope of turning things around. They did face ten men for the final 20 minutes at the Stadium of Light, but weren’t quite able to make the man advantage count. Sunderland will have Alim Öztürk to count on after Sunderland saw an appeal overturn the initial decision.

The reality is that at least one of these big clubs will again be taking to League One stadiums next season, and that stark reality will really hit home following the conclusion of this one. This historic Fratton Park ground has played host to some huge battles over the years, and whilst this is still essentially a lower-league game, a sold-out crowd will provide an appropriate atmosphere to this incredibly tense affair. Sunderland have something to protect, but will Jack Ross look to sit back and play on the break? Portsmouth have stumbled in recent times, so will they go for broke right from the start? It is again anticipated to be a close-run affair, and one or two moments of brilliance could be enough to take Portsmouth or Sunderland to Wembley Stadium for the second time this season.

Team News

Kenny Jackett has confirmed that Lee Brown and Brett Pitman will train on Wednesday to determine if they’re available for selection for this crucial second leg encounter. The availability of Brown is particularly important as Jackett felt his team lacked balance at the weekend, with Anton Walkes having to play in an unfamiliar position. The experience of Pitman will also be key, and Jackett may try to find a way of getting him back into the starting eleven, even if still not completely 100% fit. Pompey have no additional injury concerns, but they are still minus Dion Donohue, Brandon Haunstrup and Jack Whatmough. Jackett will likely consider some changes anyway as they look to overturn this 1-0 deficit.

Sunderland have successfully appealed against the red card issued to Alim Öztürk in Saturday’s first leg, meaning he is now able to feature again on Thursday. The fitness of Aiden McGeady was a big talking point prior to the first meeting and in the end he wasn’t risked. Jack Ross will now decide if he is able to play any part at Fratton Park, but a spot on the bench would appear to be his best hope. Chris Maguire, who came off the bench to score the only goal last time out, is backed to start ahead of Celtic loanee Lewis Morgan.

Potential Portsmouth Starting XI: MacGillivray, Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Brown, Naylor, Close, Evans, Pitman, Curtis, Lowe.

Potential Sunderland Starting XI: McLaughlin, O’Nien, Flanagan, Öztürk, Oviedo, Power, Cattermole, Gooch, Honeyman, Maguire, Wyke.

Head To Head

  • Not that you needed reminding, but these two teams unsurprisingly did play against one another in the first leg of this play-off semi-final on Saturday, with Sunderland securing a 1-0 lead going into Thursday’s return. This will be the fourth meeting between the two this season, with Portsmouth claiming four points across the two league fixtures and also winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final in March on penalties.

Key Stats & Facts

  • A bit of a concern for Portsmouth is their home record against the stronger League One sides this season. Versus the other nine sides in the top ten of the division, they only won three times, although one of which was against Sunderland.
  • On the flip side, Sunderland proved very hard to beat against these opponents. In the 16 meetings overall against those nine sides, whilst they only won five, they only lost three. They only lost five matches in their entire League One campaign, but did draw 19; the most of any other side.
  • Sunderland might have won the first leg, but that was only their second victory in their last eight matches. Portsmouth on the other hand are winless in four, including their last two on home soil.
  • BTTS paid out in 72% of Sunderland’s and 70% of Portsmouth’s games in the regular League season. Sunderland only failed to score in two matches in the entire season.

Betting Odds

  • Portsmouth 27/20
  • Draw 21/10
  • Sunderland 9/4

The Verdict

I’ll admit, this is a very tough game to approach from a betting perspective. The play-offs at the best of times are very difficult to predict, but League One I feel is the most unpredictable of the three leagues in the EFL. I backed BTTS in the first leg and whilst it almost paid off, after watching a lacklustre first half I had my doubts. The question is, what we do we go with this second leg?

One thing is for certain and that is low stakes are advised on this game. The first leg had a red card which could’ve caused some problems for then favourites Sunderland. Portsmouth will ultimately have to have a right go at some stage and I fancy them to score if they can put Sunderland under enough pressure. I’m not all one for believing you need to be in top form going into the play-offs, and the Fratton Park crowd can have a real positive effect on Pompey here.

Having glanced across the markets, I am having a very tentative play on Portsmouth to be leading after 30 minutes. I fancy them to come out of the blocks strong, a bit like Forest Green where on Monday were they were 1-0 down to Tranmere from the first leg. Sunderland may be in two minds as to how they approach things.

Recommended Bets

  • 0.5pts – Portsmouth Leading After 30 Minutes – 16/5 (Coral)