Football League Tips | 24th January 2015

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ANOTHER profitable weekend for Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) Football League best bets last time out. Can he continue his good form?

Norwich City v Brentford | Saturday 15.00

I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t know who Alex Neil was before he was linked with the Norwich job. But following Neil Adams’ departure as Canaries boss, the Hamilton man stepped into the breach. He worked wonders in Scotland but I’ll reserve judgement on the appointment, for now.

It was a brave decision to court Neil and so I’d like to see him and the club flourish. Too often the same names are recycled over and over in English football and managers who exceed expectations (such as Neil with Hamilton) get overlooked. So good luck to him and good luck to Norwich.

The Norfolk side were seen as pre-season favourites for promotion following their exit from the Premier League. I for one, agreed to a certain extent. They had the best Championship-hardened squad of the three relegated clubs with Adams perhaps the only question mark lingering over Carrow Road.

Certainly when you compare Norwich to QPR the season before, it’s the Canaries who look far more realistic favourites for the title. Money, as we so often see, doesn’t always lead to success. But I’m sure Norwich fans won’t care should they bounce back to the top tier with a last-minute winner in a Wembley play-off final, eh?

Onto the weekend’s game and their match with Brentford. The hosts are 3/4 to pocket the points at Carrow Road and it’s an ugly price to consider., even though they’ve come out on top in five of their last seven league outings. It’s goals that I want to be with.

Bet365’s market of Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score again comes out on top with 21/20 offered. Eleven of Norwich’s last 12 games have seen three goals or more with nine of those 12 also banking in the Both Teams To Score column. Strong.

When playing at Carrow Road, a whopping 10/13 Championship matches have seen both teams net with eight of those 13 also producing Over 2.5 Goals. Again, that’s strong stuff from the Canaries.

Brentford head up the M11 and A11 as 4/1 chances, perhaps unfair considering they’ve bagged nine wins from 12. But they’ve also proved very profitable for Over 2.5 Goals backers – 16 of their last 21 league games have broken the 2.5 barrier as well as 13/21 banking for Both Teams To Score punters.

Between the two sides they’ve managed just 13 clean sheets in 52 Championship fixtures this season. It should hopefully lead to another goal-laden game and our Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score bet can be backed at odds-against quotes of 21/20 with Bet365.

Gillingham v Oldham Athletic | Saturday 15.00

Peter Taylor’s sacking as Gillingham boss on New Year’s Eve looked harsh, especially the timing. Two defeats in nine had seen the Kent club reassert themselves in League One but chairman Paul Scalley revealed it was the ‘terrible personal abuse’ aimed at the former England U21 boss that forced his hand.

Andy Hessenthaler has taken over caretaker duties and overseen one win and two defeats in his three league outings. A long list of potential candidates remain in the mix but I can’t feeling they’ve moved a little too quick. Perched just two points above the relegation zone, there’s little room for error between now and the end of April.

One constant at Gillingham remains their high-scoring games so we’ll again explore the Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score bet from Bet365 – it’s offered at 11/10 for Saturday’s showdown with Oldham. It’s a bet that’s won in nine of the Gills’ last 10 League One fixtures.

In fact, 12 of their last 14 matches have produced Both Teams To Score winners as well as 8/13 at the Priestfield Stadium. The same figure can be attributed to the Over 2.5 Goals barrier too.

As for Oldham, an extremely solid start has started to show signs of crumbling in recent weeks. Lee Johnson’s men suffered just three defeats in their first 19 league games but arrive in Kent on the back of a run of W1-D1-L3 in league action.

The goals have been flowing freely recently too. Five of their last six have featured three or more goals and since the season began, the Latics have scored in 18/24 matches and kept just 6/24 clean sheets.

Cheltenham Town v Luton Town | Saturday 15.00

Another club and another manager who was given the boot. Mark Yates was relieved of his duties towards the end of November and again it looked a little premature from an outsiders perspective. Those around Cheltenham Town however, suggested it wasn’t the biggest surprise.

Paul Buckle’s taken over the role and has hadn’t the desired bounce or lift the Robins’ hierarchy had probably hoped. Town have W1-D4-L3 in League Two action with the new man in the dugout and are just three points above the dreaded drop zone.

This weekend they take on a Luton side that are going great guns under the expert tutelage of John Still. The Hatters are just two points off the automatic promotion places and have suffered just two defeats since 6th September. Impressive.

But I’m going to explore a bet that’s proved very successful for me in recent weeks. It’s BetBright’s Both Halves to see Under 1.5 Goals and it’s available to back at even-money this weekend. It’s a much better value option than taking Under 2.5 Goals, which in this instance, is just 8/13.

Cheltenham have recorded fewer than three goals in 10 of their last 12 matches as hosts at Whaddon Road and eight of those would have also given us a winning Both Halves to go Under 1.5 Goals selection. Taking into account both home and away league fixtures and Cheltenham’s last six would have also seen punters collect in this market.

And it’s a pattern that also goes well with Luton’s low-scoring trends too. The Hatters have seen eight of their 12 road trips feature Under 2.5 Goals and seven of those included Both Halves to go Under 1.5 Goals winners as well as seven of their last 12 home and away.

I’d be surprised if the goals flowed and so can’t resist a bite on that even-money from BetBright.

Best Bets

Norwich City v Brentford – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (21/20 Bet365)

Gillingham v Oldham Athletic – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (11/10 Bet365)

Cheltenham Town v Luton Town – Both Halves to go Under 1.5 Goals (1/1 BetBright)

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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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