THERE’S a batch of Football League fixtures to enjoy this midweek. Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) been searching for the best bets on Tuesday night.
Cardiff City v Blackburn Rovers | Tuesday 19.45
Blackburn dumped Premier League opposition out of the FA Cup for the second successive round on Saturday as Gary Bowyer’s men sauntered into the quarter-final with a 4-1 destruction of Stoke at Ewood Park.
Bowyer had made eight changes for the cup clash and left star striker Jordan Rhodes on the bench with Tuesday’s trip to Cardiff in mind. Blackburn have won just twice on the road since beating Blackpool in August and know their away form must improve if they’re to close the gap on the top-six. A midweek victory would lift Rovers back to within eight points of Norwich and they have an excellent chance in south Wales.
Cardiff boss Russell Slade has come under fire from home supporters after a series of poor performances that have sent the Bluebirds tumbling down the Championship table. Just one win in 11 league games has brought the hosts to within six points of the bottom three and Slade knows they must put a halt to their alarming displays sooner rather than later.
The former Leyton Orient manager is insistent that the club is going through a ‘transitional phase’ as he pleads for patience from the Cardiff supporters. But his team’s direct approach is yet to pay dividends with Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson struggling to adapt in midfield.
Eoin Doyle and Alex Revell were added in the transfer window to bolster the Bluebirds forward line as Slade looks to alleviate some of the pressure on Kenwyne Jones. And although Cardiff have failed to score in three of their last five games at the Cardiff City Stadium, I fancy the hosts to hit the back of the net on Tuesday night.
Blackburn have conceded goals in 25/30 Championship matches this campaign and boast just one clean sheet on the road. Having scored in 24 of those aforementioned 30 fixtures, Rovers are well accustomed to goal-heavy games, especially on the road, and that’s the angle I’m looking to take from this clash.
Since relegation, 9/15 (60%) Cardiff City home games have featured three goals or more whilst a whopping 27/43 (63%) of Blackburn’s away matches under Bowyer have also produced Over 2.5 Goals. The short-term goal trends aren’t in our favour but I’m willing to back the longer-term stats and take advantage of the 53/50 on Over 2.5 Goals from 888 Sport with both sides seeking an upturn in league form.
Bristol City v Peterborough United | Tuesday 19.45
These two teams had contrasting weekends as table-topping Bristol City lost 3-1 at home to Sheffield United whilst Peterborough came out on top 2-1 in their battle against Rochdale at London Road.
But seeing the Robins offered at 3/4 for the home win thanks to 888 Sport just has to be gobbled up. Steve Cotterill’s hosts were caught out on the counter-attack on Saturday by the sharper Blades but the Bristol boss was bullish about his side’s chances of bouncing back.
It was only City’s fourth league loss of the season and only their second on home soil. The Ashton Gate club have managed 11 League One wins from their 15 fixtures as hosts thus far and should have enough in the tank to avoid back-to-back defeats.
Peterborough hit Rochdale with two early goals and Darren Ferguson’s men were full value for the points. That result made it 10 points from 15 for Posh as they bid to get their season back on track but their form on the road still needs plenty of DIY.
Ferguson’s charges have suffered six reverses in their last 11 away days and they’ve yet to face any of the top-six on their travels. With a W1-D2-L5 record against the top-eight plus Cotterill’s hosts determined to get back on track, it’s hard to resist a punt on the home team at 3/4.
Scunthorpe United v Chesterfield | Tuesday 19.45
Is a play-off push out of the question for Scunthorpe? I’m not sure it is. Saturday’s 3-1 success at home to Swindon lifted the Iron up to 17th and now just seven points off sixth-place. A win on Tuesday against Chesterfield in one of their games in hand would close that gap even further.
Mark Robins’ side weathered a first-half storm from their high-flying visitors at the weekend. Goalkeeper Luke Daniels was in inspired form as Swindon failed to turn their pressure and chances into goals during a dominant first-half. And Scunny turned the tables in the second 45 minutes. With much more purpose to their play, the Iron forced the visitors into some sloppy defensive play – which they duly punished.
It was a ruthless streak that pleased Robins as his side went on to improve their league record to W8-D6-L3 in their last 17 League One outings. So of course I’m being seduced by 888 Sport‘s 49/50 on Scunthorpe in the Draw No Bet market.
Opponents Chesterfield were poor in their 3-2 home defeat by Leyton Orient with boss Paul Cook claiming his side were ‘too flat’ throughout the 90 minutes. The Spireites twice took the lead but never appeared in control of the game, choosing to sit back on their advantages rather than push on and kill off a side that’s enduring turmoil on and off the park.
It was the Derbyshire side’s second successive loss and their third in six league outings now. Indeed, Chesterfield’s record on the road is relatively unremarkable too having W2-D3-L5 in their last 10 away trips. The two victories came at out-of-form Notts County and a Gillingham side in the dying embers of Peter Taylor’s reign and Cook has promised to ring the changes after Saturday’s subdued effort.
I’ve said many times before that I’m a huge fan of Mark Robins’ managerial ability and I’ve been hugely impressed with the work he’s done at turning the Scunthorpe ship around. In Paddy Madden and Tom Hopper the Iron boast one of the league’s most feared front pairing and I’ll be willing them to produce again come Tuesday night.
Cardiff City v Blackburn Rovers – Over 2.5 Goals (53/50 888 Sport)
Bristol City v Peterborough United – Bristol City to win (3/4 888 Sport)
Scunthorpe United v chesterfield – Scunthorpe United draw no bet (49/50 888 Sport)
What Football League bet stands out to you this midweek? Is Mark on the money with his three selections?
We’d love to hear what you’re backing so let us know in the comments box below!