Villa were the pre-season favourites to win the Championship although a poor start to the campaign meant they were playing catch-up and the Midlands side have been ensconced in the play-off positions for the past few months.
Steve Bruce has a wealth of experience of the play-offs, having led Hull City to the promised land in this fashion as recently as two seasons ago, with Villa also boasting strong like John Terry, James Chester and Robert Snodgrass.
There have been some purple patches along the way from the Villans, with a few defeats punctuating things along the way and it was noticeable how the team wobbled with just one point after a 4-1 win over Wolves.
Middlesbrough will offer a stern resistance at the Riverside, with the Teeside club having been galvanised by the arrival of Tony Pulis and there have been just two defeats in fourteen matches.
The head-to-head results are pretty telling between these two teams, with Villa claiming a 1-0 win at the Riverside on 30 December after the reverse fixture had ended in a goalless draw.
Boro have a few players capable of lighting things up, with Stewart Downing boasting a fiercesome shot and mean delivery, while Adama Traore is a fantastic player out wide and should case Villa a few problems.
However, this is a match where both teams will look to stay in the tie and that’s why we are going down the Under 1.5 Goals route.