Football betting: Leeds can sink Middlesbrough

Simon Grayson will still be kicking himself with the manner of the two points dropped at the Walkers Stadium on Sunday and Elland Road on Tuesday.

The defensive frailties have been there for much of the season and it may force the manager's hand in the transfer window.

Before looking too far ahead, United must look to continue their impressive efforts which has seen them emerge as serious title contenders. Much of the good form has been at Elland Road and struggling Middlesbrough are visiting next.

Tony Mowbray has had a tough start to life on Teesside, but the results have started to improve slightly since his arrival.

Inconsistency is one of the key issues holding back the side as they showed when beating Cardiff at home before losing to Doncaster in the following fixture. United fans will remember that the side have already beaten Boro at the Riverside this season, so with home advantage, another three points will be expected.

Boro actually ran out 3-0 winners on their last visit to Leeds, but the side is vastly different to the one that took to the pitch that afternoon.

Boro had the luxury of being able to put their feet up on Boxing Day as their match with Nottingham Forest was postponed due to a frozen pitch but they picked up an important win at relegation rivals Preston two days later.

Even though United are not tight enough at the back, they are still scoring plenty and will have enough to beat a poor Boro outfit.

Spread betters should buy (bet higher) the home side's win index at 12 with Sporting Index.

With the scoring form of Max Gradel and co this one should have bagfuls of chances and I wouldn't put anyone off buying (betting higher) total goals at 2.8 with Sporting Index.

Festival fancies

It is practically impossible to even guess whether any racing fixture will take place at the moment, so it seems best to take a look at the ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival.

Cue Card looked practically impossible to oppose in the Supreme Novices' when he romped home at Cheltenham in November, but he was beaten by Menorah in the International Hurdle.

He is undoubtedly a fantastic horse but Willie Mullins may have unearthed an even better prospect in Zaidpour.

This former top quality French flat horse has looked a natural over hurdles and is worth backing at 4/1 with Boylesports.

The best race of the festival at this stage looks like it will be the Champion Hurdle.

Menorah is the worthy favourite and Binocular and Hurricane Fly will obviously be huge threats. However, Peddlers Cross is available at around 13/2 and for a horse that is yet to be beaten, that has to be a great price.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the most open races of the entire week, but Imperial Commander is impossible to oppose at 9/2 on Betdaq.

His Cheltenham record is impeccable, he goes brilliantly fresh, so he should be very difficult to beat on Friday, March 18.

Thomas Christiansen

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