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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Scores can flow in Navan as Royals welcome Tyrone

David Jennings forecasts a points-fest in Pairc Tailteann

Tyrone's Niall Sludden challenges Jack McCaffrey of Dublin
1 of 1

Meath v Tyrone
Pairc Tailteann
Sky Sports Arena 5pm Saturday

Meath might be in decline but they have scored 14 points or more in all of their league and championship outings at Pairc Tailteann in the last two years. Indeed, they have averaged 19.55 points per game at home since 2017.

Even when an ultra-defensive Donegal outfit arrived in Navan in last year's qualifiers, they notched 1-14 despite losing by the minimum margin. Meath certainly save their best for Pairc Tailteann.

For all that Tyrone have been tormented in the media for their negative approach, Mickey Harte's men averaged 21.2 points per game in last year's All-Ireland series and they were also the joint-second in the scoring charts behind Dublin in Division 1 this spring, averaging 16.3 points per game.

Meath manager Andy McEntee has been ridiculed by his own fans who detest his style of play and cannot understand why natural scoring forwards Graham Reilly and Cillian O'Sullivan are asked to track back deep into their own defence. 

Given that such an approach backfired spectacularly against Longford, Reilly and O'Sullivan could be given more licence to attack and perhaps the Royals will not be so reserved.

We got to see just how good Tyrone are at long-distance shooting in their loss to Monaghan and if they are one of the top four sides in the country they ought to be able to score 18 points or more against a fragile Meath defensive unit despite all their injury woes. 

This first-round qualifier could develop into a high-scoring shootout so the advice is to back 33 or more match points. 

Tyrone can sidestep this banana skin and get their All-Ireland challenge back on track.

Recommendations
Tyrone to win and both teams to score a goal
1pt 15-8 Ladbrokes
Over 32.5 points
3pts 5-6 Paddy Power


Wicklow v Cavan
Aughrim, 6pm Saturday

Wicklow were involved in the game that produced the most goals in last year's All-Ireland championship, scoring three and conceding two in their qualifier loss to Laois, and expect another goalfest when Cavan visit Aughrim. 

Despite getting outplayed for the vast duration of their duel with the Dubs as expected, Wicklow managed to find the net, as they did in their shock extra-time success over Offaly in the first round of Leinster. 

Cavan have a lively attacking unit and they notched 1-15 in a eight-point loss to Donegal.

During their promotion to Division 1, Cavan scored two goals against Clare, three against Louth, two against Meath and four in the Division 2 decider against Roscommon. They have attacking flair and can cash in at the expense of a Wicklow defense who have been conceding big tallies for the last two years. 

Given that Cavan are as short as 1-12 with Paddy Power, it is surprising you can back over 34.5 match points at 5-6 with the same firm. 

Recommendations
Over 34.5 points
3pts 5-6 Paddy Power
Over 2.5 goals
3pts 6-4 Paddy Power


Westmeath v Armagh
Mullingar, 7pm Saturday

Confidence could not be any lower in the Westmeath camp and, after conceding 4-13 to Laois during their tame Leinster exit, expect Colin Kelly to adopt a negative approach when Armagh come to Mullingar. 

Kelly is without a whole host of his best players, most notably John Heslin, Paul Sharry and James Dolan, so if this was to develop into a high-scoring shootout he knows he would have little chance of success. 

Armagh scored only 0-7 in their surprise reversal against Fermanagh in Ulster, so they will hardly be heading to Mullingar brimming with confidence. 

This could be cagey and not only will Armagh struggle to score 20 points, it is hard to envisage 35 in the match. 

Recommendations 
Armagh under 19.5 points
3pts 4-6 BoyleSports
Under 34.5 total points
2pts 10-11 BoyleSports


Derry v Kildare
Owenbeg, 3pm Saturday

Kildare look great value for their trip to Owenbeg and should be supported at odds-against to win by two points or more. 

Derry were relegated from Division 3 to the bottom tier this spring and have yet to adopt a style of football that works for them. 

For all that Kildare exited the Leinster championship with a whimper against Carlow, it is hard to break down such defensively-minded sides when they make a blistering start. 

If Cian O'Neill's troops can prevent the hosts from taking an early lead, class can prevail and Kildare can get the win they have been craving for 12 months.

Recommendation
Kildare -1
2pts 6-5 BoyleSports 


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Meath have averaged 19.55 points per game at home since 2017
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