Alan Pardew will have plenty to smile about when he returns to Newcastle this weekend.
His Crystal Palace side’s Premier League safety is virtually guaranteed, with 39 points, and they have a first FA Cup final in a generation to look forward to.
And that makes Newcastle a very attractive bet, at 19/20 with Betway.
Until Christmas, the Eagles were flying.
A 5-1 victory over the Magpies in November was the high point and they looked more likely to be in the Champions League than the Championship next term, with 31 points accumulated midway through the season.
While they’ve carried that form into the cup to reach Wembley, they’ve only won once in the league since, adding a total of eight points.
Newcastle have everything to play for, desperately needing to secure a maximum in the battle against the drop.
They have turned the corner under new boss Rafael Benitez and a haul of five points against Swansea, Manchester City and Liverpool in their last three games gives the club hope of survival.
The spirited performance in that last game, at Anfield, when fighting back from 2-0 down, is all the encouragement I need to back the home win.
The Palace players will naturally be fearful of picking up injuries and you have to fancy Benitez’s boys to be the more committed.
It won’t be pretty – but it doesn’t need to be. A scrappy encounter could well be on the cards, so sell total goals at 2.45 with Sporting Index.
Newcastle 19/20 (Betway)
Sell total goals 2.45 (Sporting Index)