Football League Tips: Win A Free Bet + Cash Race Points | 14th March 2015

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MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) picks his favourite three bets from the weekend Football League coupon. And there’s a chance to win another Free Bet from our sponsors 888 Sport and vital Cash Race points in our brand new competition!

Brentford v Cardiff City | Saturday 15.00

Earlier this week I joined the We Are Going Up podcast lads to discuss the incredible unfolding race for promotion to the Premier League. Never in my lifetime can I remember such a tight battle at the top of the Championship table (or any Football League division) with the end of the season in sight.

So when doing my research, I noticed that Brentford, who stated the season as 50/1 title rags, are still available to back at 50/1 to win the league. The Bees are four points off the summit but with arguably the most favourable fixture list – Derby are the only top-eight side left to play.

Whatever the outcome of Brentford’s season and the scrutiny the club is under following the decision to let Mark Warburton go at the end of the season, the West London club have made a fabulous impact in their first season back in the second tier for 21 years and deserve plenty of plaudits.

But I’m really rooting for this side to at least finish in the top-six. The first of their 10 remaining games involves a visit from Cardiff on Saturday and I’m keen to get with the Bees at a shade of odds-on (17/20 888 Sport).

Firstly, I think the prices on Brentford winning the league, claiming promotion (6/1) and beating the Bluebirds on Saturday aren’t reflecting the quality of this team. Warburton’s brought together an irresistible mix of young flair players alongside hardened Football League professionals and boy, it’s worked.

At Griffin Park the Bees have bagged 11 wins from 18 in Championship football and their high-tempo, short-passing style has had better teams than Cardiff in a spin. Alex Pritchard and Andre Gray have hogged the headlines but Spaniards Jon Toral and Jota Peleteiro have both played their part in their scintillating performances and I expect the hosts to collect another three-point haul on Saturday.

Last weekend Warburton’s charges showed us just what they were all about. Threatening to take Ipswich apart on the break, Brentford also stood firm under an onslaught at Portman Road with David Button again enjoying a masterclass between the sticks. The team were forced to battle hard against their more physical opponents but they come out of the game with flying colours.

This weekend they welcome Cardiff to Griffin Park and as well as that outstanding home return on home soil, Brentford boast a fearsome record when taking on the bottom-half. Their 13 wins from 18 games against the lesser lights is the third best in the league and it should stand them in good stead.

Cardiff have made slow progress under Russell Slade and will finish the season in mid-table obscurity. Their seven defeats in 18 road games isn’t beyond repair but their W1-D1-L5 record against top-six teams is certainly of concern. Tie that record in alongside Brentford’s impressive return against bottom-half dwellers and you’ll see why I think siding with the Bees at 17/20 makes sense.

Slade’s visitors have only lost once in seven now but the former Leyton Orient boss was left scratching his head as the Bluebirds were beaten at home to Charlton last time out. Failure to carve out enough clear-cut chances was to blame and Brentford are unlikely to reserve any sympathy for the visitors as they bid to consolidate their place in the top-six, which they’ve held since November.

Scunthorpe United v Sheffield United | Saturday 15.00

Value, value, value. It’s a term that gets banded about in the betting world every day but what does it actually mean?

In my house, it’s the definition of getting a bet on at a better price than the selection’s true chances of winning. For me, that involves plenty of number-crunching but eventually we’ll find real value and that’s what I’ve managed to get hold of in this League One meeting.

888 Sport have chalked up Both Teams To Score at a weird 87/100 – that’s somewhere between 5/6 and 10/11. But if we take a look at both Scunthorpe and Sheffield United’s previous results we can see that Scunthorpe have had BTTS winners in a mammoth 23/34 (68%) of League One fixtures this season while Sheffield United have returned just one fewer at 22/34 (65%).

If we put the two percentage figures together and find the average, we can see that there’s a 66.5% chance that this match should feature Both Teams To Score. Turn that percentage figure into a fraction and you’ll arrive at a 33/50 quote, which in betting terms is around the 4/6 mark. So in a roundabout way, we can see we’re getting massive value by backing BTTS.

If you wanted further encouragement, Scunthorpe have kept just two clean sheets all season while Swindon are the only side Sheffield United have shutout in 17 League One outings now with their last eight all resulting in Both Teams To Score winners.

Sure, for balance sake it’s worth pointing out that Mark Robins felt his team “could have played until midnight without scoring” at Crewe last weekend but the Iron have proven enough times this season that they’ve enough firepower to score against any opposition side.

As for the Blades, Nigel Clough bemoaned their defensive errors as they were toppled by Fleetwood at Bramall Lane. With only 10 of their 38 goals arriving before half-time, the Sheffield side are giving themselves a mountain to climb in matches but they’ll be confident of adding to their impressive return of scoring in all bar three of their 17 road trips in League One this term.

Morecambe v Hartlepool United | Saturday 15.00

With just three league defeats since Boxing Day, Morecambe should be flying higher than 12th. Jim Bentley’s side have been handicapped by a bout of draws and are looking like ambling towards another mid-table finish. However, secure three points at home to rock bottom Hartlepool on Saturday and perhaps (just perhaps) a play-off push isn’t beyond reason.

The Shrimps started the season like a train, winning their first four fixtures. But they’ve failed to record back-to-back victories since. Until this weekend! Yes, I can’t resist pulling the trigger on 888 Sport’s 19/20 that Morecambe pocket the points when lowly Hartlepool visit the Globe Arena.

The hosts were booed off in their previous home outing (a 2-0 defeat to Cambridge) but showed their character and quality to win away at Luton last weekend. Bentley’s boys hit the Hatters with a blistering first half-hour as Jack Redshaw and Laurence Wilson put the Shrimps 2-0 up. But Luton fought back to level the scores before veteran Kevin Ellison forced an own-goal to clinch the victory and move Morecambe to within seven points of the top-seven.

Bentley’s charges don’t have the best figures at the Globe Arena (W6-D5-L6) but they should be aided by a Hartlepool side without a host of key players through injury (and an appealing return of just two points on the road since early October).

Ronnie Moore is without Matthew Bates, Scott Fenwick, Tommy Miller and Michael Woods and admitted their plight has been “bleak for weeks”. They offered nothing up front at home to Burton last weekend and Moore blasted his players’ performance in their home loss to Dagenham in their previous outing.

With 13/17 (76%) away losses, failure to score in 10/17 (59%) of those matches and zero clean sheets, Moore knows it’s now or never if they’re to reverse their appalling away record. But with those trends on side, surely it’d be madness to ignore Morecambe’s claims at 19/20 this weekend?

Best Bets

Brentford v Cardiff City – Brentford to win (17/20 888 Sport)

Scunthorpe United v Sheffield United – Both Teams To Score (87/100 888 Sport)

Morecambe v Hartlepool United – Morecambe to win (19/20 888 Sport)

Win A £10 Free Bet + 10 Cash Race Points

Mark’s shared his favourite Football League treble and now it’s over to you guys. Pick a win-draw-win treble from the Football League this weekend and should it win, we’ll give you 10 Cash Race points.

The player with the biggest-priced winning treble will take home the £10 Free Bet from 888 Sport plus you can earn an extra two Cash Race points just for emailing us the Codeword.

Due to getting a little too drunk at Cheltenham, we forgot to record a video this week. Oops. But you can earn an extra two Codeword points by including ‘Cheltenham Festival’ in your email.

How To Win:

  1. Pick a win-draw-win Football League treble quoting 888 Sport‘s odds.
  2. Email your entry to [email protected]
  3. Include the Codeword in your email to earn an extra two Cash Race points.
  4. If your treble wins, we’ll give you 10 Cash Race points.
  5. The player with the biggest-priced winning treble will bag the £10 Free Bet from 888 Sport.
  6. Any player who doesn’t adhere to the above rules will score zero Cash Race points.
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About Author

Profile photo of Mark O'Haire

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.

11 Comments

  1. Wouldn’t be hugely surprised if this one was 0-0 at ht.
    Clough will surely look to tighten things up at the back and both teams have had goalless first half’s over 40% of the time if you look at their respective home and away form.
    If not 0-0, a low scoring first half looks likey and with Scunthorpe scoring 78% of their home goals in the 2nd half and Sheff U 79% of their away goals, the ‘half with most goals – 2nd’ bet looks to offer some value at 2.5 with William Hill

    • Profile photo of Mark O'Haire

      Yeah I do like that ‘2H highest scoring’ angle; I’ve gone well off backing 0-0 HT draws but it looks the best alternative – think the Blades have only scored 10 of their 48 goals in the second-half.

      • I’m not one for backing 0-0’s either but the chances of BTTS after a goalless first half are almost as slim as Over 2.5 and in addition to Sheff U’s record, Scunny haven’t scored a first half goal in their last 8 homes.
        Cue a first half goalfest then!

  2. Hi Mark, great read on your selections above and I would like to add a few of my own again with some ‘value’ thrown in, on one of which goes against one of yours 😉

    Oldham v Barnsley

    Barnsley for me has to be bet of the day, on current form which has seen them win their last five to nil, I can see them notching up win number six against an out of form Oldham who have only won 1 in their last five scoring 2 but conceding 10.

    Barnsley @ 3.4 with bet365

    Exeter v AFC Wimbledon

    Going for the juicy price on Exeter and yes at 5.5 Exeter are 3-2-2 at home to top half sided with Yes on BTTS going 6-1 as twenty one goals have been scored. Wimbledon won 4-1 in the first meeting of the sides this season as the home team extended their strong run when these two teams meet. Since November 2012 the clubs have met five times with four home wins and a draw. Both games in Exeter have been won 2-0 and Exeter have scored in each of those five games. Exeter 2-1

    Exeter & Yes (BTTS) @ 5.00 bet365

    Morecambe v Hartlepool

    Can we really be taking Hartlepool to get a result here? Hartlepool look doomed following that 1-0 home defeat to Burton last Saturday and it will take a monumental effort now from them to get out of the mess they are in. Morecambe won the first meeting of the sides 2-0 in the north east back at the end of December. Last season though it was Hartlepool who achieved a 2-1 double in this fixture when the sides met. Now whilst historical trends/stats can be taken with a pinch of salt some may say, its the fact that Morecambe have the second worst home record in the league when entertaining bottom half placed teams as they are just 2-3-4 in this spot,failing to score in five of those nine games. If there has ever been a better chance for Hartlepool to win away (a draw is really not good enough for them in this situation) it could be this Saturday afternoon

    Hartlepool & Under 2.5 @ 7.00 bet365

    Best of luck

  3. Sean Ireland on

    Leeds v Nott’m Forest Btts and Forest win @ 4/1 most firms,9/2 bwin

    Norwich v Derby Btts and Norwich win @ 7/2 bwin around 16/5 other firms

    Reasons? firstly we all know Leeds have improved recently scoring twice against Ipswich and Watford and winning away to Wigan scoring and conceding in 2 of those games including conceding 3 home to Watford, Forest have been very impressive on the goals front scoring at least 2 in 7/8 in league and scoring 22 times in those 8 games,5 of last 6 has also seen Btts.
    Should see Btts in this one but Forest should outscore Leeds.
    Btts has come in 5/6 last meetings between the pair.

    Norwich have been very impressive and should net at least twice at home to a Derby side with a decent forward line but a terrible defense.
    Norwich have scored at least twice in 7/8 in league and have scored 23 times in those games.
    Derby have scored at least 2 in 8/10 league but have conceded 2 in each of last 3 losing 2 winning 0,they have conceded 13 times in last 7 which is very poor for a team sitting 2nd in lg.
    Previous meeting in December read Derby 2 Norwich 2.
    Got to fancy Norwich to out gun Derby in what should see a few goals.
    Double on above pays a huge £247.50 to a £10 stake

    • Profile photo of Mark O'Haire

      Great to see you getting involved and sharing your best bets, Sean.

      That Norwich bet wasn’t far off banking! The Canaries ran amok over Derby but just couldn’t find a second goal. Good shout and hope to see you sharing your tips again soon 🙂

    • Profile photo of Mark O'Haire

      Sorry Laurence, I was away at the weekend so never got back to replying to this… absolutely incredible tipping! You’ve earned another video mention and I’m sure your bank balance is looking very good following the weekend!

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