THREE more best bets from Mark O’Haire covering this weekend’s Football League action.
Brighton v Rotherham | Saturday 15.00
I opposed Brighton in my midweek column as they went to Huddersfield. The Seagulls were somehow deemed favourites for that fixture, a notion I just couldn’t fathom. And they’re odds-on for this weekend’s match at home to Rotherham – again, a rotten price you just can’t take seriously.
Sami Hyypia’s men are winless in nine league games now and have only managed one victory at the Amex. They’re just a point off the bottom-three and five points off Saturday’s visitors. Rotherham are 7/2 if you want to get with the visitors.
But I’m having a go on Both Teams To Score. It’s very rare to see this market odds-against and that’s what we’ve got here – Betfair are offering 11/10 on both teams netting. It’s a bet that would have won in 4/6 (66%) Brighton home games and 7/13 (54%) overall, including their last four outings. Albion used to be known for their defensive solidity over the past few seasons but under Hyypia they’ve kept just 3/13 (23%) Championship clean sheets and that’ll give Steve Evans’ Rotherham plenty of encouragement.
The Millers appear to have found their feet in the league and now taken eight points from their past four games. They’ve also started to open up – you might be surprised to learn that Rotherham have only failed to score once since August and now 6/8 league matches have featured both teams netting. Like Brighton, the visitors have kept just 3/13 (23%) shutouts since promotion into the second tier whilst their one and only clean sheet away came on a Tuesday night at Millwall back in August.
So all the ingredients are here. We don’t often get the chance to have a Both Teams To Score bet at odds-against but Betfair are giving us 11/10. It’s a bet.
Barnsley v Bristol City | Saturday 15.00
Barnsley and Bristol City have been magnificent teams to follow for goals punters this season. Starting with the hosts – they’ve seen 9/13 (69%) of their fixtures feature Over 2.5 Goals and the same 9/13 (69%) figure when it comes to Both Teams To Score winners. Bristol City’s matches have seen 10/14 (71%) break the Over 2.5 Goals barrier and a whopping 12/14 (86%) deliver in the Both Teams To Score column. Pow!
They’re cracking stats but I’m going to take things up a notch. Over 3.5 Goals is trading at 21/10 with BetVictor and it’s a price that’s begging to be backed at those odds. Danny Wilson’s hosts have seen 4/6 (66%) of their games at Oakwell produce four goals or more and those six fixtures are averaging a huge 4.33 goals-per-game! Since losing 1-0 to Crawley on the opening day, Barnsley’s home results read 4-1, 3-5, 0-3, 3-1, 2-3. So it would be ridiculous to shy away from a goals bet when the Robins arrive, right?
Admittedly Bristol City’s matches haven’t been quite as goal-laden on their travels but there’s still plenty in the stats to believe there’s mileage in this bet. Only 2/7 (28%) of Steve Cotterill’s side’s away games have seen Over 3.5 Goals bank but they have hit two or more goals in 5/7 now and kept just the one clean sheet all season.
If you put both teams trends together, I make Over 3.5 Goals around a 6/4 shot. So punish BetVictor’s generous 21/10 offer that the Oakwell meeting will deliver four goals or more this Saturday. It’s value.
Shrewsbury v Portsmouth | Saturday 15.00
We’ve talked a lot about Shrewsbury in League Two. We opposed them last week at York for a number of reasons, one of which was their Jekyll and Hyde home and away record. But the Shrews performed well, rode the storm and managed to seal a late win. But most impressing was their 5-0 demolition of York at The New Meadow on Tuesday night. That made it three wins on the spin for Micky Mellon’s side and back on home soil this Saturday, they look a great price at 10/11 (Coral) to beat Portsmouth.
Salop have taken 19 points from a possible 21 at home this season, scoring 17 and conceding just twice. Amazingly, if you include their home results for the last time they played at this level with their 2014/15 return, the Shrews have W24-D6-L0. Now that’s form.
On the other hand, Portsmouth are again struggling to hit the heights expected of them in pre-season. Since dropping down to the fourth tier, Pompey have lost 10/30 (33%) away league games and have lost three in a winless run of five on the road now.
But what’s most alarming for visiting supporters is their lack of firepower. Portsmouth have netted just twice on their travels and failed to score away since August! They’ve also been beaten convincingly at Burton, Bury and Southend whilst being held at struggling Hartlepool and York.
Shrewsbury are as short as 3/4 with some firms so take the 10/11 with Coral for a home win.