Football League Tips | 13th December 2014

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HAVING delivered a 3/1 winner last week, Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) is back on the trail of big-priced winners in the Football League again. But this week he’s shared four best bets. Pow.

Watford v Wigan Athletic | Saturday 15.00

Watford ended their four-game losing streak in sensational fashion last Friday. The Hornets were mightily impressive at Fulham even before the red card and the margin of victory could have been more.

It was a timely result for Slavisa Jokanovic who’d just started to feel a bit of heat. Watford were well beaten by Derby at Vicarage Road then edged out by Cardiff in front of their home fans, having lost at Ipswich and Birmingham previously.

The front two pairing of Matej Vydra and Troy Deeney is the best strike partnership in the league and you’ve got to believe the Hornets will be getting right back into contention for promotion with a decent Christmas program.

At home they’ve W5-D3-L2 this season and there’s enough quality in the squad to believe they’re a bit over-priced at 23/20 (William Hill) to get the better of Wigan on Saturday. But seeing as Christmas is coming, I’ve opted to boost the odds to 17/5 (Coral) and back Watford to win and Both Teams To Score.

The Hornets haven’t kept a clean sheet on home soil since the opening day win over Bolton and four of their five wins at Vicarage Road have also been delivered with Both Teams To Score – that’s a 40% ratio at home.

Wigan, for their part, just can’t keep out of the news. The off-field nonsense can’t be helping the Latics’ push to get away from the Championship danger zone and Malky Mackay’s appointment has yet to have the desired effect.

Athletic have taken just a point from their last 15 on offer and won only one league fixture since August. Their away record is wretched too – W1-D2-L7 but again, quite interesting to note that four of those seven losses included both teams scoring, making it a 40% chance in Wigan road games.

If we took those two 40% chances and put them together, it would equal an equivalent to a 6/4 chance but Coral are offering 17/5 on the home win and Both Teams To Score.

Colchester United v Rochdale | Saturday 15.00

If there’s a game in League One that will feature goals this weekend then I’m fairly confident it’ll be Colchester’s meeting with Rochdale. And I can’t really work out why the bookmakers have been quite so generous with their prices.

I’m revisiting the Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score market from Bet365 here with the quote of 21/20 just too good to turn down. Various other firms are dangling very competitive odds on either Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score if you prefer to keep it simple.

After the initial bump from Tony Humes taking charge at Colchester, which saw the U’s lose just twice in 10 league outings, they appear to have reverted to type. It’s four defeats on the trot and the side are leaking soft goals and making too many individual errors.

But last weekend’s FA Cup win over Peterborough should have lifted the spirits and ColU can also boast a decent scoring record at home to top-half teams this season, netting in all bar one of their six showdowns.

As for the crucial stats that we’ll need on our side, Colchester have seen 6/9 home fixtures bank in the Both Teams To Score column and the same figure for Over 2.5 Goals winners this term. Meanwhile, the U’s can only boast one clean sheet in front of their home fans,

Visitors Rochdale have been a haven for high-scoring punters on their travels. Since winning promotion to the third tier, Keith Hill’s charges have seen 5/9 road games feature Over 3.5 Goals with 7/9 breaking the Over 2.5 Goals barrier. Dale can only lay claim to two clean sheets when playing away this season with 5/9 featuring Both Teams To Score too.

All the stats are in our favour and I think 21/20 is an excellent price with Bet365.

Newport County v Stevenage | Saturday 15.00

I’ve been waiting a while now for the right time to include Newport in my Football League bets. I believe this weekend is as good as ever. The Welsh outfit entertain Stevenage and again I’m aiming for the sky.

Justin Edinburgh’s side are riding high in seventh and seem to have gone completely under the radar. Well, at least their form has. County have lost just one league game since mid-August – W8-D7-L1.

Having started their campaign with a home defeat, Newport have recovered at Rodney Parade and can now call upon an eight-match unbeaten streak in front of their home supporters – W4-D4.

Interestingly, six of their eight League Two wins in 2014/15 have also featured Both Teams To Score winners, including all four of their victories on home soil. With just one home clean sheet at Rodney Parade, the 7/2 (Coral) on a Newport win and Both Teams To Score is already catching the eye.

I never relish opposing a Graham Westley side and there are signs that Stevenage are starting to find their feet after a hectic summer of comings and goings. It’s now just one defeat in five but with five losses from nine on the road, they can’t really be trusted on their travels.

Moreover, Westley’s charges have leaked at least twice in five of those away day fixtures and have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine League Two outings. However, Stevenage have scored in 14/19 matches this term and can repeat the tricky on Saturday.

Exeter City v Carlisle United | Saturday 15.00

One more for the Win + Both Teams To Score dreamers, like me. I’m always a fan of opposing sides that face a long journey and they don’t get much further than Carlisle’s trip down to Exeter on Saturday.

Keith Curle’s visitors have had a horrid bout of travel sickness already this season and I can’t see it changing at St James’ Park. The Cumbrians have collected just five points from a possible 27 on the road it’s now 11 defeats from 19 overall this term.

So whilst I fully expect them to extend that losing streak on Saturday, I think there’s plenty of optimism surrounding Curle’s men getting on the scoresheet. After all, Carlisle have scored in nine of their last 11 matches and even notched two or more goals in four of their last six!

Exeter’s turnaround has been the biggest story of the season from League Two, in my opinion. Paul Tisdale deserves a knighthood for the work he’s done with the Grecians youngsters and bringing in players on a strict budget to carry out his master plans in action.

The hosts have now W8-D5-L1 of their last 14 league games and also taken maximum points from three of their last six at St James’ Park. And the Grecians have proved very popular for Both Teams To Score punters with 16/20 of their fixtures already this season banking in that department. Exeter have kept just one clean sheet all season and are yet to record a shutout when hosting league games this season.

There’s hope for Carlisle but although I can see them getting a goal, I still fancy the home win. We can back Exeter for the victory with Both Teams To Score at a lovely 18/5 with Coral.

Best Bets

Watford v Wigan Athletic – Watford to win and Both Teams To Score (17/5 Coral)

Colchester United v Rochdale – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (21/20 Bet365)

Newport County v Stevenage – Newport to win and Both Teams To Score (7/2 Coral)

Exeter City v Carlisle United – Exeter to win and Both Teams To Score (18/5 Coral)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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