Cardiff prepare to face fellow promotion-chasers Middlesbrough next knowing that a win could take them from third to the top of the Championship and are boosted by the fact that they head the betting in the race to reach the Premier League.
The Bluebirds are as short as 10/11 to make this the season that they finally earn a seat at England’s top table after threatening to do so in seemingly every year in living memory.
Even if they get the better of Boro – who they have an awful record against – punters would still be better served putting their money elsewhere as there are teams better equipped to achieve the feat, as well as the fact that Cardiff are notorious bottlers.
Eight wins from eight at the Cardiff City Stadium leaves little room to make a case against them warranting their odds-on favouritism for promotion, but away from home it’s a very different story.
They’ve lost three on the spin outside of Wales, and won just two on their travels all season. If they’re going to remain at the forefront over course and distance, as they’ve failed to do umpteen times before, Malky Mackay must come up with a solution to this problem.
They are sure to be boosted by the likes of Craig Bellamy and Nicky Maynard to come back from injury, though the latter is not likely to do so this season, yet attack is not a department that requires a great deal of improvement in.
Having netted 34 goals to date, no side in the division has been able to outscore them and, with only five conceded at home, no team has found a tougher place to go than Cardiff this season. However, only Burnley have conceded more goals on the road than the Bluebirds and fantastic home form counts for nothing if you’re getting beat every week away.
Consistently solid home form scuppered by away day shortcomings have been a staple of Cardiff’s recent campaigns and, the way things are shaping up, it looks as though this one is set to follow in their footsteps.
Plus, as Crystal Palace in particular have proved, a good streak of results can catapult you from nowhere to the head of the pack in a league as unpredictable as the Championship. There is anything from six to 10 teams realistically capable of claiming one of the three promotion spots, without counting surprise packages – it makes no sense backing someone at odds-on at this stage.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date