MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has picked us plenty of big-priced winners in recent weeks. So who’s he backing ahead of the busy Christmas period?
Nottingham Forest v Leeds United | Saturday 17.15 | Sky Sports 1
Saturday evening’s live Championship football comes from the City Ground as two fallen giants go head-to-head with neither going anywhere fast.
Stuart Pearce is a big reason behind my disassociation of the Tricky Trees being a promotion contender this season. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is he’s ever done to me or why I just can’t invest my faith in him as a manager but I’m happy to oppose Forest as and when I need to.
This weekend Leeds visit and rather than waste time trying to figure out who’s the most likely winners, I’m more than happy to put my cash down on Both Teams To Score with Ladbrokes offering a favourable 17/20 on the outcome.
It’s just two wins in 14 Championship outings for the hosts and just two clean sheets in their last 11 – in eight of those 11 games we’ve seen Both Teams To Score punters collect, as well as in seven of their 10 matches at the City Ground.
We talked up Leeds’ goalscoring record fairly recently and although they were nilled last weekend, the Whites have still notched in 16/21 league matches this season.
On the road Neil Redfearn’s men have netted in eight of their 10 Championship road fixtures with the same figure resulting in Both Teams To Score winners. In fact, nine of their last 11 anywhere have seen goals at both ends.
With both sides more than capable of grabbing a goal but fragile at the back, it makes sense to side with BTTS at a very decent 17/20 thanks to Ladbrokes.
Gillingham v Chesterfield | Saturday 15.00
Before the start of the season I made a few big claims in my pre-season predictions. One of which was, Gillingham are a great bet to finish in the top-half of the League One table at 5/2.
It’s around an 8/1 mark now but they’re only four points off the top-12. I’m probably clutching at straws but I do like the Gills and I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Peter Taylor.
So I was a little saddened to see the Kent club record just three wins from their first 16 League One matches and on the cusp of the relegation zone. Taylor’s future was being questioned and many were forecasting a drop back down to the fourth tier.
But football can turn quickly and two wins and two draws from games against Leyton Orient, Bradford, Port Vale and Doncaster has lifted the doom and gloom around the Priestfield Stadium.
And now the Gills look a great bet this weekend at 5/2 (Bet365) to beat Chesterfield on home soil. It looks far too big in my eyes. Gillingham have long been known for having an excellent home record and despite their early season troubles, that remains the case
. Taylor’s men have only lost twice at the Priestfield this season (W4-D4-L2) and have actually bagged 14 wins in front of their fans since the start of last season – a 46% win ratio.
Chesterfield flew out of the blocks following their promotion. Five wins and two defeats from their first 10 had Spireites fans dreaming of Championship football. But the following 10 games have brought only seven points for Paul Cook’s charges.
Their 1-0 loss at home to Bradford in their last league outing saw Chesterfield fail to score for the fifth time in seven League One matches whilst they’ve taken just three points from a possible 21 on their travels.
I can see no reason why Gillingham should be classed as outsiders for this fixture and at 5/2 with Bet365, they’re an enormous price and just far too big to ignore.
Carlisle United v Northampton Town | Saturday 15.00
Carlisle’s failure to score in their defeat at Exeter last weekend saw our 18/5 bet go down but I’m confident the Cumbrians can return to form in front of goal this Saturday when Northampton travel to the north-west.
After the initial bump following Keith Curle’s appointment, United have returned to their dismal early season ways. It’s six defeats in eight for Carlisle now and they’re rooted in the relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Chris Wilder’s Northampton revolution has also hit turbulence. The Cobblers have lost seven of their last nine and have tumbled down the League Two standings – six defeats from 10 away games certainly hasn’t helped their cause.
But I’m going to invest my faith and money in goals this weekend. Bet365’s Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score market has chalked this game up as an 11/10 chance and I think that’s a touch generous.
Before last week’s loss at Exeter, Keith Curle’s side had scored in nine of their previous 11 matches and notched two or more goals in four of their last six. They’ve also managed 11 goals in their last five as hosts but conceded at least twice in five of their previous eight.
Despite their wretched results, Northampton have continued to score goals. In fact, the Cobblers have netted in 17/20 league matches in 2014/15 and kept only two clean sheets on the road.
I fancy this game to prove fruitful for goals-punters and I think the 11/10 is more than fair.