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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Dublin may struggle for scores in crunch clash with Monaghan

Hosts have kept a clean sheets in half of their games

Conor McManus is one part of Monaghan's deadly duo
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Dublin scored a staggering 2-29 in their 21-point slaughtering of Roscommon in round six but the best bet of round seven is for the defending league and All-Ireland champions to score 17 points or fewer in their Clones clash with Monaghan.

The home side have not conceded more than 16 points in their six outings so far - Mayo (0-12), Cavan (0-7), Kerry (1-10), Tyrone (0-14), Roscommon (1-13) and Donegal (1-11). Their average concession per game is 12.6 points and they have kept a clean sheets in half of their encounters. 

While plenty presumed that a trip to Tralee to face old foes Kerry would be the biggest test of Dublin's astonishing unbeaten run, perhaps this contest - where scores will surely be at a premium - could prove their toughest test.

Monaghan had Dublin dead and buried at Croke Park in last year's league campaign only to find out that the corpse was still breathing in the final few minutes. They know how best to challenge Jim Gavin's charges.

Monaghan are a dogged well-organised side who still have high hopes of reaching the Division 1 decider. Malachy O'Rourke knows that if this turns into a high-scoring shootout his side will be destroyed. He is one of the shrewdest managers in the game and 0-12 could be enough to land the spoils. 

Expect Monaghan to pack their defence with huge numbers, something Roscommon foolishly decided not to do last Saturday, and make Dublin work really hard for their scores. The hosts will play on the counter-attack and hope that the deadly duo of Conor McManus and Jack McCarron can get sufficient service to post a winning tally. 

Whether that happens or not, it is hard to envisage Dublin scoring 18 points. This is a game where they will have to get down and dirty to dig out a narrow victory and backing the Dubs to score fewer than 17.5 points looks a terrific bet.

With the prospect of a low-scoring showdown, the 4-1 that bet365 are offering about under 25.5 total points is worth a wager.

Tyrone should have beaten Mayo last Sunday. They were the better side, dominating possession and moving the ball with speed from defence to attack, but they panicked inside the final third and paid the price.

Now, they need maximum points from their trip to Kerry and to hope that other results go their way to reach the Division 1 final. It looks a 50-50 game with the Kingdom, who are no world-beaters, and the 2-1 Ladbrokes are offering about an away win is too big. This is a terrific Tyrone side just waiting to explode. 

Cian O'Neill has reshuffled his pack for Kildare's trip to Pearse Stadium to face Galway now they have already secured promotion. He has made 14 changes and eight players will make their debuts. Six of the 15 starters are 22 or younger. It is clear he has no interest in showing his hand before a potential tilt with the Tribesmen in the Division 2 decider. 

The layers don't seem to have read enough into the move, however, and you can still back Galway at odds-against to win by six points or more. They are gunning for promotion and could win by double figures.

Kieran McGeeney is finally getting a tune out of Armagh and they can secure promotion to Division 2 and a place in the Division 3 decider by seeing off Tipperary on home soil at the Athletic Grounds.

Dublin under 17.5 points
4pts 10-11 Paddy Power
Under 25.5 total points in Monaghan v Dublin
1pt 4-1 bet365
2pts 2-1 Ladbrokes
Galway -5
3pts 11-10 bet365
Armagh -1
2pts 11-10 BetfairPaddy Power 

Malachy O'Rourke knows only too well that if this turns into a high-scoring shootout that his side will be destroyed
E.W. Terms
Sky bet