Watford v C Palace: Tale of two strikers at Vicarage Road

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Gianfranco Zola’s Hornets have become the latest side to rip the Championship to shreds and this has seen the Hertfordshire club emerge as surprise promotion contenders.

As far as Watford are concerned, there couldn’t be a better time to welcome rival Premier League-chasing club Crystal Palace to Vicarage Road and, with the Eagles struggling for form, the hosts’ 21/20 in the match betting stakes looks very much worth a punt.

Five home wins from seven has helped propel Watford to the dizzy heights of fourth, one place ahead of Palace who have picked up maximum points just twice in their previous 10 league outings and haven’t tasted victory on the road since they overcame Peterborough in early November.

This undoubtedly detracts from their 12/5 to beat the Hornets, though the draw could be of some worth at 5/2. If Palace are to claim a share of the spoils though, much will depend on their ability to keep Matej Vydra in check.

The on-loan Udinese man has thrived in the Championship in his first season, bagging 19 goals to date. The Eagles will remember him well from the return fixture at Selhurst Park where he slotted home in injury-time to ensure his side celebrated a 3-2 victory. That was when he was finding his feet in the division; now he’s got his feet under the table he’s capable of doing some serious damage.

He’s been responsible for 11 goals in his last nine outings and it’s no surprise to see him head the first goalscorer betting at 7/2.

Palace’s own goal machine, who is finding the back of the net with the robotic regularity that Vydra is demonstrating of late, shouldn’t be forgotten either.

Glenn Murray is heading the Championship’s scoring charts and is apparently the only player in the Eagles’ ranks capable of scoring goals. He notched a brace that enabled his side to beat local rivals Charlton last time out and Palace’s failure to find the net in four of their previous six games underlines his importance to the team. He’s 5/1 to bag the opener here, though his 6/4 to score any time is something that should not be ruled out.

If you wait until the game is underway before placing your bet, Ladbrokes are offering to refund all losing in-play first goalscorer and correct score punts as free bets if there’s a red card in the game to provide a bit of insurance.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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