MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has scoured the Football League coupon in search of his three favourite bets from the weekend’s action.
Barnsley v Peterborough United | Saturday 15.00
Last weekend I and (from the sounds of it) plenty on Twitter were a tad confused to see Barnsley trading at odds of 2/1 or bigger for their League One encounter with Chesterfield. The Tykes held the Spireites to a 1-1 draw before collecting the same scoreline from their own trip to relegation-threatened Notts County on Tuesday evening.
On Saturday, Lee Johnson’s men are as big as 17/10 for the visit of Peterborough to Oakwell. So what’s the catch? Why are Barnsley consistently overpriced? It’s not injuries and whilst form is a touch below average of late (no wins in seven), the obvious reason is the lack of goal attempts from the South Yorkshire side when they’re hosting games.
The Tykes are averaging just 10 shots when playing at Oakwell – that’s the 22nd worst record in League One. In terms of shots-on-target, Barnsley again score poorly; averaging just over four-per-game – only Yeovil, Crewe and Crawley boast fewer. But I’m prepared to bypass those statistics and find an angle to side with Johnson’s charges.
Coral are offering 19/20 on Barnsley in the Draw No Bet market and that holds plenty of appeal. Should the fixture end all square, we’ll get our cash back and it’s a nice insurance to have in this end of season fixture featuring two teams with little to play for.
Since dropping back down to the third tier, the Tykes have W10-D4-L7 on home soil but against teams below them in the table, Barnsley have W10-D1-L3. The hosts have netted in 18/21 at Oakwell and also have big-money signing Sam Winnall fit again and leading the line.
Visitors Posh are limping over the line. Five wins from six brought false hope of a play-off place but two points from a possible 15 has extinguished those dreams and caretaker manager Dave Robertson is starting to feel the heat from the Peterborough faithful.
The visitors have scored just twice in seven outings. Against Crewe in midweek Robertson’s charges appeared to revert towards a ‘shoot on sight’ policy with little conviction to their attacking play. The summer holidays can’t come soon enough for Posh so I must oppose them.
On the road, Peterborough have W8-D2-L11 but take out the bottom-five and that record returns figures of W4-D2-L10. Five defeats in their last seven away trips (failing to net in each loss) suggests they might find the going tough when they head north on Saturday.
Crewe Alexandra v Walsall | Saturday 15.00
Crewe sit just one point outside the relegation zone and so the 1-1 result earned at Peterborough on Tuesday night can’t be scoffed at. It was a decent reaction from Steve Davis’ side who were booed off the Gresty Road pitch last weekend when being held to a 1-1 draw by Leyton Orient.
Davis recognised his team were below-par in that Orient draw but was furious with the fans’ reaction. The Alex’s young squad boast the quality to stay in the third tier but whether they can produce in the middle of a relegation battle remains to be seen.
This weekend Crewe welcome Walsall with the Saddlers now all but safe having recorded back-to-back wins including a 5-0 thrashing of Crawley on Tuesday night. The return of Tom Bradshaw at the front of the Walsall attack has made a big difference and Dean Smith can start to prepare his squad for another season in League One.
The visitors have tended to struggle for goals this term; scoring just once in their last five on the road and failing to score in seven of 11 before securing those successive victories. Defensively though, Smith’s well-drilled unit remain difficult to breakdown, shutting out their last four opponents and conceding more than two goals in just four games all season.
So with only 2/15 Crewe games at Gresty Road and 6/20 Walsall matches away seeing Over 2.5 Goals, I was keen to explore the negative goal markets. Ladbrokes have chalked up Under 2.5 Goals as a 4/5 chance on Saturday and that just has to be taken as a big value bet.
Overall this term, Crewe’s home fixtures have broken the two-goal barrier 8/21 (38%) occasions and so when including the 70% of Saddlers’ away days to follow suit, we should be expecting around a 66% chance of Under 2.5 Goals copping again this weekend. In betting terms, that percentage would be about a 1/2 shot, making the 4/5 on offer a great price for another low-scoring encounter.
Exeter City v Southend United | Saturday 15.00
There’s more value to be found in League Two on Saturday. Exeter’s play-off dreams hit the buffers in the past seven days with successive defeats against automatic promotion hopefuls Shrewsbury and Wycombe. So with four points to make-up, Paul Tisdale’s men will need to go on the offensive against Southend on Saturday.
The Grecians are well accustomed to playing on the front foot, especially at their St James’ Park home. The hosts have only failed to find the back of the net in just two of their 21 outings in front of their home supporters but that attacking approach also leads to plenty of goals being leaked; Exeter have managed just four clean sheets when hosting league action this term.
So it’s no surprise to see Both Teams To Score prove very profitable when following the Devon side. A huge 16/21 (76%) of Exeter’s home matches have produced BTTS winners and it’s that angle I’m keen to take for the visit of Southend this Saturday.
Phil Brown’s travellers have guaranteed a top-seven finish but still have their eyes set upon a possible automatic promotion place. The Shrimpers have secured four wins on the spin and are well fancied to get a result but a return of W0-D2-L6 away to top-half teams is hugely off-putting.
And the mean defence that Southend are famed for at their Roots Hall home has failed to follow them on the road this term. Brown’s men have recorded just five clean sheets in their 20 away days but managed to net in all bar four. Like Exeter, the Both Teams To Score trends are also strong with 12/20 (60%) banking for BTTS punters.
Putting the two teams’ Both Teams To Score stats together, we should be expecting a 68% chance of a repeat at St James’ Park. In betting terms that equates to nearly a 9/20 chance but Coral are giving us a huge even-money on BTTS this Saturday. I’m snapping that up with no questions asked.
Barnsley v Peterborough United – Barnsley draw no bet (19/20 Coral)
Crewe Alexandra v Walsall – Under 2.5 Goals (4/5 Ladbrokes)
Exeter City v Southend United – Both Teams To Score (1/1 Coral)
What’s your best Football League bet this weekend? Do you disagree with Mark’s selections?
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