MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) picks out his best bets from Tuesday night’s slim Football League offering.
Reading v Bright & Hove Albion | Tuesday 20.00
Reading manager Steve Clarke didn’t hold back when criticising the scheduling of the Royals’ FA Cup reply for Monday (16th March). The Berkshire club were made to work hard for their gruelling 0-0 with Bradford on a rotten Valley Parade surface and now face two Championship fixtures before the re-match against the Bantams.
Clarke’s challenged his side to show the same intensity to which they’ve attacked the cup, in the league. But the former West Brom boss will need to use the full depth of his weary squad and the task of overcoming a rapidly improving Brighton outfit is easier said than done.
Reading have won just once in their last six league outings and suffered three successive home losses without scoring a goal. In fact, the Royals have been nilled in five of their seven Madjeski Stadium matches in the Championship since Clarke took the reigns (W2-D1-L4) and so it’s no surprise to see the hosts drifting.
Brighton are just a place and a point below Clarke’s men a recent run of W3-D2-L1 has helped eased the Seagulls relegation fears. Most of the Chris Hughton’s charges have carried out has been done on the south coast and although they’ve failed to net in four of their five road games under the ex-Newcastle supremo, a W2-D3-L2 return from their past seven away fixtures has kept Albion ticking along.
A big factor for Brighton’s improvement is their defensive record. The Seagulls have shutout their opponents in four of their last six and I’ll have a wee interest in the visitors in the Draw No Bet market at 23/20 with Ladbrokes. Three wins from 17 on the road is obviously concerning but wins for Wigan and Leeds at the Mad Stad in recent weeks will have knocked confidence in the home camp and the Seagulls are a shrewd enough side to take advantage.
For those who prefer to follow the stats, the 0-0 half-time correct score is worth a poke at 5/2 from William Hill. Since Clarke and Hughton arrived at their respective clubs, the two teams have produced 9/12 goalless first-halves (75%) and a repeat scenario could be on the cards in a tight encounter.
Yeovil v Bristol City | Tuesday 19.45
Surely the NAP of the night is backing Bristol City at evens with Betfred? I’m at a loss to explain why the Robins aren’t odds-on for their short trip to Huish Park but I’m not going to complain. Steve Cotterill’s team were odds-on for recent trips to Colchester, Scunthorpe and Gillingham so I’m certainly not holding back here.
The table-toppers have collected 35 points from their 18 away games (W10-D5-L3). In comparison, rock bottom Yeovil have taken just 18 points from their 18 home fixtures (W4-D6-L8). Those of you with a working brain will see that City have picked up almost double the points of the Glovers in the corresponding home/away matches.
Cotterill was delighted with his side’s application in their weekend win at Crawley and has no new injuries or suspensions to contend with meaning the Robins arrive hell bent on increasing their recent run to five successive victories. A win would send the league leaders 15 points clear of third and another step closer to Championship football.
Yeovil’s record against the sides currently occupying the play-off positions is poor – W0-D2-L6, failing to score in five of those games – and although home form has picked up under Terry Skiverton, they’ll be well aware of City’s attacking threat.
The Robins have scored two or more goals in 12/18 (72%) away games and three or more in 7/18 (39%). However, the Ashton Gate side can only boast four clean sheets on their travels this season. With seven of their 10 road wins including Both Teams To Score, it might be worth having a pop at the two most likely correct score wins by backing the Robins to come out on top 2-1 (8/1 888 Sport) and 3-1 (16/1 BetVictor).
Reading v Brighton & Hove Albion – Brighton & Hove Albion draw no bet (23/20 Ladbrokes)
Reading v Brighton & Hove Albion – 0-0 half-time score (5/2 William Hill)
Yeovil v Bristol City – Bristol City to win (1/1 Betfred)
Yeovil v Bristol City – Bristol City to win 2-1 (8/1 888 Sport)
Yeovil v Bristol City – Bristol City to win 3-1 (16/1 BetVictor)
What’s your best bet from the Tuesday night Football League card?
We’d love to hear your thoughts so let us know in the comments box below.