Sunderland v Newcastle – Stadium of Light at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1

The Tyne & Wear Derby rounds off the Easter Sunday action and Sunderland fans will be praying for their team to continue their excellent recent form against their local rivals. Meanwhile shrewd Asian Handicap punters will be banking more profit from our betting insights!

Newly appointed Black Cats manager Dick Advocaat needs something to kick start his team’s relegation battle and welcoming Newcastle to the Stadium of Light, is probably the ideal catalyst for them to save their Premier League status before it is too late.

Newcastle’s temporary manager John Carver is essentially flogging a dead horse at the moment, with 35 points on the board it would take an apocalyptic collapse for the Geordies to be relegated but with a top half finish also looking beyond them their season is all but over.

If you add in the fact that Carver is unlikely to be the manager next season, regardless of how this one ends, you probably have a very apathetic squad of players in the famous black & white stripes at the moment.

At least Carver and the fans shouldn’t need to worry about the player’s motivation for today’s match against their arch enemies, especially with the Black Cats currently on a six game unbeaten run in the Derby which includes winning the last four in a row.

Unfortunately for Sunderland fans, that is where the good news ends. Their form this season has been atrocious and with no win in seven, they are currently on their worst run of the year. Just six points from ten games and equally as worrying only five goals in ten, means they are staring down the barrel of relegation with only eight games remaining.

Newcastle’s form since losing Alan Pardew as their manager to Crystal Palace at the end of 2014, hasn’t been much better than Sunderland’s. Having won just two of their last ten matches, the old saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ must be ringing true for the Toon Army now after they spent months demanding Pardew be relieved of his duties.

There are no new injury concerns for Advocaat going into the Derby but Lee Cattermole returns from suspension and could come straight back into the starting eleven. Similarly Newcastle have no fresh injuries to contend with which could see them start with the same side that began against Arsenal last time out.

In terms of expected goals for this match, we doubt this will be a high scoring encounter because Newcastle have only managed 13 goals in 15 away games and Sunderland fans have only seen 12 goals at home also in 15 matches. Further, 58% of the time when these sides have met in the past their games have ended with under 2.5 goals.

However, Sunderland are desperate for a win today and Newcastle would like nothing more than to beat the Black Cats in their own backyard and send them one step closer to the relegation trap door. At this time of year we start to see some eye opening scorelines and so it might pay to back over 2.25 goals at 2.06 which is great value based on our tissue price.

This is a tricky match to call but the there is slight value on the home team and with the Asian Handicap line of -0.25 giving us a little bit of protection we are taking the home team to continue their excellent recent form against Newcastle this afternoon.

Asian Handicap Recommendation: Sunderland -0.25 at 2.24

Prices correct at the time of writing.

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