MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) delivers his best bets from the full Easter Monday card of Football League action.
Brentford v Nottingham Forest | Easter Monday 15.00
Brentford boss Mark Warburton challenged his side to reach the top two after the Bees swatted aside feeble Fulham 4-1 at Craven Cottage on Good Friday. True, Brentford had their shaky moments when Ross McCormack brought the hosts back into the game at 2-1 down but Alan Judge’s splendid free-kick and Jota’s stupendous finish late on put the gloss on another impressive attacking performance.
The Bees’ army of 6,000 travelling fans bellowed out “We are going up” towards the end of that memorable West London derby but Brentford must go again on Easter Monday for the visit of a dangerous Nottingham Forest side. Warburton’s men have recorded back-to-back league wins once since January and it highlights the task ahead as the home side look to cement themselves in the promotion picture.
Brentford have been relatively reliable at Griffin Park, returning W11-D4-L5 figures but recently their form has been called into question. The Bees’ last nine in front of their home fans have resulted in W4-D1-L4 and defensive errors have started to catch up on the Londoners. With that in mind, I’m keen to get involved with a goals-based bet on Monday.
I’ve been happy to oppose Forest for the most part over recent weeks. The bump experienced by Dougie Freedman was bound to revert to the mean sooner than later and after seven wins in 10, the Tricky Trees have now suffered consecutive defeats to promotion-chasing Norwich and Wolves. The play-offs are now out of the question for Forest.
Looking at Brentford’s home fixtures, we can see a whopping 14/20 (70%) have landed for Over 2.5 Goals backers, 9/20 (45%) have produced a huge Over 3.5 Goals and 13/20 (65%) also featured Both Teams To Score winners. Warburton’s charges have only failed to score in three home outings and boasted just five clean sheets during those 20 home league games.
The visitors have also proved very profitable when hunting goals; 10 of their last 12 Championship matches have seen three or more goals scored including eight of their last nine on the road. Overall, on their travels Forest’s fixtures have landed in the Over 2.5 Goals column in 15/20 (75%) and 11/20 (55%) when looking at the BTTS market.
With Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score a little too skinny to recommend, I’ve decided to match the two markets up and take the very generous 20/21 from Bet365 that the Griffin Park showdown features Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score on Easter Monday.
It’s a bet that’s proven successful in 11/20 of Brentford’s home fixtures as well as Forest’s away outings. So with a 55% strike rate, we should be expecting odds closer to 5/6. Bet365’s offering of 20/21 suggests the likelihood of a repeat is just 51%, making this selection another value goals bet in the Football League.
Fleetwood Town v Yeovil Town | Easter Monday 15.00
There’s always one game on the coupon that requires a double-take, a scratch of the head, a little homework and even then, you’re wondering what it is you’re missing. On Easter Monday it’s the 21/20 from William Hill that Fleetwood beat Yeovil in League One.
The Cod Army grabbed a vital three points on Good Friday when edging out Gillingham 1-0 to keep their play-off dreams alive. Graham Alexander’s hosts are four points adrift of the top-six and just lacking a touch of consistency to really firm up their promotion challenge. Sure, Fleetwood have lost just once in seven but they’ve also recorded back-to-back wins just three times all season.
Easter Monday should give Alexander’s men the perfect opportunity to enhance that record. Just three defeats in 12 proves the Cod Army are no easy touch but the Lancashire club have found getting over the line at their Highbury home a little tricky. On home soil they’ve W7-D9-L4 and only collected three victories in 12 in front of their home fans.
Luckily for Fleetwood they’re coming up against a Yeovil side that look all but done after their Good Friday loss at home to Chesterfield. The Glovers had taken a two-goal lead but Chesterfield’s superiority soon told as the Spireites roared back into the game during the second-half to steal all three points.
Sitting rock bottom, 12 points adrift of safety and with five defeats on the spin, Yeovil will be playing League Two football next season. The visitors have lost eight of their previous 10 away, 13/20 overall and have failed to even register a goal in half of their league games on the road. The odds-against quotes on the hosts look kind.
Mansfield Town v Shrewsbury Town | Easter Monday 13.00
Mansfield boss Adam Murray accepted that his Stags side remain in a relegation battle after suffering four defeats in their last five games. The Yellows are six points above the relegation zone heading into the final six games and the Mansfield supremo appeared to resign himself to matters getting worse on the pitch before improving.
Having been beaten by high-flying Bury and Southend in recent weeks, the Stags host second-placed Shrewsbury on Easter Monday and Murray admitted, “We have to be realistic. Those teams are not in our ball park.” The Yellows must travel to play-off cashing Plymouth after battling the Shrews.
On Good Friday Murray’s men failed to even register a shot-on-target as they went down 2-0 at Southend and the Mansfield boss has been busy chopping-and-changing his line-up following a 4-1 thumping by 10-man York in their previous outing.
It’s a worrying slide from the home side that hold a woeful record against League Two’s leading lights. Mansfield have D1-L8 in their nine clashes against the division’s top-five teams and face a Shrewsbury side full of confidence having eased their way to four consecutive league wins against Morecambe, Oxford, Portsmouth and Dagenham.
Micky Mellon’s men have been far from the polished article on their travels but still boast one of the fourth tier’s strongest squads and can have picked up an astonishingly good return of W17-D2-L2 when taking on bottom-half teams.
Brentford v Nottingham Forest – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (20/21 Bet365)
Fleetwood Town v Yeovil Town – Fleetwood Town to win (21/20 William Hill)
Mansfield Town v Shrewsbury Town – Shrewsbury Town to win (1/1 Betfred)
What’s your best Football League bet on Easter Monday? Is Mark missing out on the best bet?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.