Fancy a flutter on Howson to set the ball rolling for Norwich City?

Norwich City's Jonathan Howson celebrates scoring the opening goal at Portman Road.

Norwich City's Jonathan Howson celebrates scoring the opening goal at Portman Road. - Credit: PA

Will fate deal Norwich City midfielder Jonny Howson a winning hand this weekend?

Howson was on target at Portman Road a week ago to put City ahead in the first leg, only to see Town equalise on the stroke of half-time.

But the City man is a real dangerman – a fact that hasn't escaped the eyes of the bookmakers ahead of today's encounter at Carrow Road.

The odds on Howson scoring the first goal for a second game in a row are 9-1 – that is the most popular bet with Betfred after Ipswich's leading scorer Daryl Murphy striking the opener.

And Howson is up there for good reason: he has scored eight goals in the regular league campaign this season – and six of them have been the opener.


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And if you need confirmation that fate may be on his side – Howson will celebrate his 27th birthday on Thursday.

Favourites to score first on the Canaries side are Cameron Jerome and Gary Hooper, who are both 9-2, with Bradley Johnson 8-1.

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For Ipswich, Murphy is 13-2, with Freddie Sears 17-2.

The odds of Norwich repeating the 4-1 scoreline from back in November 2010 are 28-1. Hooper and Jerome are 25-1 shots to repeat Grant Holt's hat-trick feats of that day.

Murphy is 40-1 and Sears 66-1 to have a famous treble next to their names.

Norwich are 4/5 favourites to go through after 90 minutes, with Town 4/1 and the popular draw, after 90 minutes, 11/4.

BetFred, this country's biggest independent bookmaker, estimates that around £100,000 will go through their tills from punters betting on this afternoon's derby, while worldwide, bookmakers are likely to earn around £2m between them, a similar figure to that usually earned by them on FA Cup final betting.

Should Town go through, they will have done it the hard way as, prior to last night's game between sixth-placed Brentford and third-placed Middlesbrough in the other Championship semi-final, no lower-ranked team from any of the Championship, League One and League Two had yet won a play-off game this season against higher-ranked opposition.

A BetFred spokesman explained yesterday: 'This is a crucial encounter between two proud rivals and we have taken around £100,000 already in bets and Daryl Murphy is the most common bet, to score first at 13/2.

'However, Norwich's Johnny Howson has scored the opening goal six times this season and is available to repeat that at 9/1.

'The fact that no lower-ranked team has beaten a higher one yet in the play-offs also affects the odds put forward.'

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