Football League Tips | 31st January 2015

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MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has nailed at least two winners in all five weekends of Football League punting in 2015. Can he continue his hot streak?

Ipswich Town v Wigan Athletic | Saturday 15.00

Just two points separate the top five clubs in the Championship now as the race for the Premier League begins to hot up. Bournemouth, Derby and Ipswich have all stuttered when asked to lead the way but I’m going to invest some faith in the Tractor Boys getting back on track this Saturday.

Mick McCarthy’s men have lost two of their last three and whilst the 4/5 holds appeal on the home win, I’d much rather be on Coral’s 10/11 that Town score Over 1.5 Goals when Wigan visit Portman Road. Because when Ipswich win, they usually score twice.

In Championship action this season, the hosts have won 14/27 (52%) matches and scored at least twice in 10 of those victories. On home soil, the Suffolk side have bagged 9/13 (69%) three-pointers, scoring at least twice in eight of those. But even when losing at Brighton last time out, Ipswich were scoring freely.

Overall, they’ve notched two or more goals in 17/27 (63%) league outings and in 9/13 (69%) at Portman Road. Noel Hunt’s made an immediate impact following his move from Leeds and Daryl Murphy’s enjoying the best form of his career. They’re not short of goals in attack.

Wigan’s fall from grace shows no sign of abating. Malcolm Mackay was appointed on the 19th November and his record in Championship games with the Latics reads W1-D2-L7. Even Blackpool are beginning to close in on the 2013 FA Cup winners!

Mackay, crushed from the various off-field allegations and investigations, looks like a shadow of the confident, brash Scotsman we’ve come to know him as. Losing Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney, Ben Watson and Adam Forshaw won’t have helped Wigan’s fight and they just look like a sinking ship.

Away from home this season they’ve W2-D2-L9 and leaked at least two goals in eight of those games including six of their seven trips to top-half teams. It looks like the Latics are putting up the white flag so let Ipswich run riot on Saturday and back them to score Over 1.5 Goals at 10/11. It looks a steal!

Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United | Saturday 15.00

There’s plenty of weird prices doing the rounds this weekend. Brentford 2/1 at home to Middlesbrough, Celta Vigo 1/2 at home to Cordoba and then there’s also Leyton Orient odds-on at home to Scunthorpe. This is an Orient side that have simply gone to pot since last season’s heroics.

This week Mauro Milanese left his post as sporting director at the club and they’re already onto their fourth manager of the season with the appointment of Fabio Liverani in December. It’s a far cry from the days of Barry Hearn’s astute leadership at Brisbane Road.

New owner Francesco Becchetti has thrown money at the east London club but results and performances on the pitch just aren’t doing his investment justice. Last weekend the O’s were beaten 2-0 at Colchester to leave them languishing deep in the relegation mire. Worryingly Liverani said their opposition showed more fight, spirit and hunger and that’s got to be a huge concern, especially in a relegation battle.

On Saturday they welcome a Scunthorpe side that will fight and contest everything. Mark Robins is showing just what a good boss he is in the Football League by stabilising the club and realising their potential in small dollops.

A richly deserved point at home to MK Dons in midweek means the Iron have now lost just two of their last 13 League One outings. And they’ve taken 14 points from their last 18 on offer away; a trip to London won’t hold any fear for Scunny on Saturday.

We can back the Iron at odds-against (21/20 Bet365) in the Double Chance market and that’s got huge appeal. We’ll get paid out should Robins’ visitors avoid defeat at Brisbane Road (yes, I’m refusing to call it the ‘official’ title. I’m old school).

Orient have only won twice at home in 12 games this term and have bagged just six victories in 26 outings home and away in 2014/15. That means in 77% of their League One fixtures this season they’ve failed to record three points and this bet would have been deemed a winner. Up the Iron!

Wycombe Wanderers v Portsmouth | Saturday 15.00

I’ve had nightmares picking my favourite League Two bet. Do I take Wycombe? Do I mention Stevenage? If I mention Stevenage, do I throw in the Both Teams To Score and Stevenage win at a big price instead? Welcome to my brain every Wednesday where these sorts of questions and quandaries are commonplace.

I’ve plumped for Wycombe. Why? Well at a shade of odds-on, I still think they’re a very backable price. They’re top of the table, for Christ’s sake. Oh and Portsmouth (probably more importantly) are rubbish. You heard, they’re useless!

I’m a huge fan of teams showing character, discipline, determination and spirit when they go about their business. Even better if said side can play above expectations with the collective unit taking precedence over individual needs and flair. Burnley are a fine example of that in the Premier League and Wycombe under Gareth Ainsworth this season are your blueprint in League Two.

The Chairboys have built from the back and Ainsworth has harnessed an unbeatable work ethic amongst his squad to ensure Wanderers are a match for any side in the fourth tier. Just three defeats in 27 league outings suggest he’s found the magic formula.

At home Wycombe have recorded wins in 7/13 (54%) of their games and come into this clash on the back of four clean sheets in five, one of which was recorded at rampant hosts Shrewsbury. Impressive stuff.

So what can we say about Portsmouth, other than repeating the fact that they’re umm… shite? It’s now eight defeats in 14, no wins in eight and no away win since August. Seven defeats in 13 is a feeble effort for a club that continues to throw money at a squad twice the size of some of their league rivals.

Andy Awford’s taking a lot of flack (quite rightly so) and supporters must be wondering what on earth has gone wrong. They’re bottom of the form table, bottom of the away table, have already failed to score seven times away and they’ve D2-L6 of their games away to top-half teams. I could go on but you get the message; they’re shite!

Best Bets

Ipswich Town v Wigan Athletic – Ipswich to score Over 1.5 Goals (10/11 Coral)

Leyton Orient v Scunthorpe United – Scunthorpe double chance (21/20 Bet365)

Wycombe Wanderers v Portsmouth – Wycombe to win (10/11 Betfred)

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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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