MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his three favourite Football League bets for Valentine’s Day. Plus, there’s the chance to win one of two £10 free bets courtesy of our new Football League video sponsors, 888 Sport!
Leeds United v Millwall | Saturday 15.00
Both Leeds and Millwall bagged vital victories on the road in midweek with Championship survival on top of their agendas. Leeds’ 2-0 success came at in-form Reading whilst Millwall pocketed the point from their visit to a revitalised Birmingham; both impressive feats.
Just five points separate the hosts in 17th from the Lions, who occupy the final place in the relegation zone in 21st, coming into this clash. So three points could do either side a world of good but I’m not envisaging a thriller at Elland Road.
After a sticky patch, Neil Redfearn’s Leeds have now W3-D2-L1 in their past six league fixtures; only high-flying Brentford inflicting a defeat on the Whites. Home form has remained relatively strong for the Yorkshire club this season, suffering just five defeats in their 15 matches at Elland Road.
But it’s noticeable that Redfearn and his coaching staff have been drilling their team in the art of defending, organisation and being tough to beat. Wigan are the only side since the first week of November to score twice on Leeds’ home turf whilst nine of their last 10 matches have been settled by two goals or fewer.
Redfearn was delighted with his side’s togetherness at Reading as they frustrated their hosts on Tuesday night before deservedly taking the three points with two goals in the final half hour. It was another resolute display and they’ll be keen not to suffer a damaging loss against their scrapping visitors.
Millwall are only in the relegation zone on goal-difference but boss Ian Holloway was pleased with their resilient performance in the Second City. The Lions were full value for their victory, as they look to bed in a number of new faces.
It was a second successive away win for the South London side and now means Holloway’s charges have kept three clean sheets in their last four matches And the result also moved Millwall into the top-half when only taking into account away results (W4-D5-L6).
With so much at stake this Saturday, I was keen to explore the options on a low-scoring clash. We’ve already mentioned Leeds’ recent run of Under 2.5 Goals and when taking into account their games at Elland Road only, we can see 11/15 (73%) also featured fewer than three goals.
It’s a similar story when analysing Millwall’s road record. Since Ian Holloway took charge of the visitors, they’ve seen Under 2.5 Goals in 17/26 (65%) of away games with seven of their last 10 being settled by either one or zero goals.
So I’m going to delve into 888 Sport’s Asian Goals line and have a nibble on Under 2.25 Goals at 10/11. With this selection, we’ll bag a full payout should the match end with fewer than two goals. But should exactly two goals be scored, we’ll pocket half of that potential full payout – if three goals or more are netted, we’re onto a loser.
Six of the last seven meetings have been settled by two goals or fewer and we’ll have made profit in 21/30 of Leeds’ home and Millwall’s away Championship matches this season, if backing Under 2.25 Goals.
Gillingham v MK Dons | Saturday 15.00
There are some sides I just can’t bear to look at, let alone back. There are others I just can’t resist. Believe it or not, Gillingham come in the latter category; I should add, only when playing at the Priestfield…
Yes, call it a bromance, a bit of PDA, a cheeky snog behind the urm… world famous Royal Engineers Museum or just an unsubtle grope – David Frost and Gary Rhodes, I love your local football team.
The Gills have long been a tough team to beat in Kent and since returning to the third tier, they’ve recorded a very respectable W17-D9-L12 in front of their home supporters, meaning they’ve avoided defeat in 68% of fixtures at the Priestfield since promotion.
Now Gillingham made headlines on the eve of last weekend’s clash with Sheffield United following the capture of Justin Edinburgh as their new manager. The former Newport County boss arrives with a burgeoning reputation and I get the feeling it could be an inspired move from chairman Paul Scalley.
Scalley sacked Peter Taylor on New Year’s Eve and put club stalwart Andy Hessenthaler alongside Steve Lovell, Darren Hare and Mark Patterson in a four-man caretaker group. It certainly seemed to turn the tables; following successive defeats the gang of four picked up 10 points from 12.
Edinburgh was in the stands to see the Gills beat the Blades last weekend and oversaw Tuesday’s 2-1 success at Peterborough meaning the Kent club have now W7-D3-L4 of their last 14 League One matches. That’s almost play-off form.
The hosts have won four of their last seven on home soil and scored at least twice in six of those outings and I’m convinced they’re massively overpriced for Saturday’s meeting with MK Dons. With 888 Sport offering 19/20 on Gillingham in the Double Chance market, I just have to get involved.
Taking this selection means we’ll be in profit should the Gills avoid defeat (remember that 68% record we mentioned earlier) and it’s also worth pointing out the Dons’ have only won six of their 14 league games on the road (43%).
Monday night’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford was the fourth time in seven matches that Karl Robinson’s men have failed to record three points whilst recent away form reads just three wins in nine.
I’ve slagged ‘Robbo’ off enough in recent weeks so there’s no need to go over old ground. Of course I believe his team are incredibly talented, play decent football and are well within reach of the League One summit. But should they be as short as 5/6 this weekend? Absolutely not.
Hartlepool United v Stevenage | Saturday 15.00
I’m delighted to see Ronnie Moore back in management and I can’t deny I’m a little excited about the job he’s doing up at Hartlepool. The Monkey Hangers may be rooted to the bottom of League Two but they’ve already taken half of their 24 points tally under his watch despite the former Tranmere boss being just 10 games into his new position.
Northampton, Plymouth and Cheltenham have all been felled at Victoria Park in Pools’ last three games and they look massively underrated for Saturday’s showdown with Stevenage. 888 Sport are offering us 42/41 on the hosts in the Draw No Bet market and that’s a price I just can’t miss out on.
Moore was frustrated after last weekend’s defeat at Portsmouth. His charges failed to register a shot-on-target but they bounced back with that maximum point haul against the in-form Cobblers in midweek. Bustling centre-forward Marvin Morgan grabbed the winner and he’ll only get stronger once match-fit and with the Monkey Hangers getting to grips with the new 3-5-2 system.
Visitors Stevenage are certainly not in the greatest shape. A play-off charge has been halted by a severe injury crisis and a run of just one point from a possible 12, having held Bury at home on Tuesday night.
Darius Charles was the latest to join the casualty list and with Jerome Okimo and Harry Worley also out, Westley is down to the bare bones in defence. They’re just three of eight missing first-choice players meaning a raft of loan signings and youngsters have been brought in to fill the voids.
The out-spoken Westley raged with his team after last week’s loss at Mansfield, their eight defeat in 15 road games, claiming his side were ‘disorganised’ and ‘resembling a pre-season team’. Without a goal in three outings now, it’s hard to find too many positives for Stevenage and I’m unconvinced all the thrown-together XI will be able to put the brakes on a bullish Hartlepool.
Leeds United v Millwall – Under 2.25 Goals (10/11 888 Sport)
Gillingham v MK Dons – Gillingham double chance (19/20 888 Sport)
Hartlepool United v Stevenage – Hartlepool United draw no bet (42/41 888 Sport)
Win A £10 Free Bet With 888 Sport
We’ve got two £10 free bets to give away thanks to our brand new Football League video sponsors 888 Sports. All you need to do is tell us is, which Football League team you think will LOSE this weekend.
To enter, just post your selection in the comments section below. You must also quote the 888 Sport odds of your pick otherwise your entry will not count. So a sample entry would look something like this;
- Wolves to lose 4/7 (888 Sport)
The two shortest-priced losing selections will win the free bets and the winners will be notified by email. WeLoveBetting’s decision will be final. Any questions? Just ask us on @WeLoveBettingUK or we’ll get back to you in the comments box below. Good Luck!