A FULL house of winners for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) last weekend. He’s now gunning for his fourth successful treble of the season.
Burnley v Bolton | Saturday 15.00
In the past 10 seasons, just over 25% of relegated Premier League clubs have bounced back to the top tier at the first attempt and in six of those campaigns at least one side has returned to the top-flight after just a one-year stay in the Championship.
Burnley finished just five points from safety in their 2014/15 Premier League season under Sean Dyche, in my opinion, making a mockery of 8/13 quotes that the Clarets would suffer immediate demotion. Of course, Burnley justified those odds but they were hardly outclassed or embarrassed regularly.
The Clarets were only beaten by more than two goals twice in the Premier League and eight of their defeats came by a single goal margin. The Turf Moor club lost key players in the summer with star striker Danny Ings, highly-rated full-back Kieran Trippier and skipper Jason Shackell all jumping ship.
I expected a season of consolidation but the early signs suggest the side are focussed on getting back to the big time. The record-signing of Andre Gray has obviously hit the headlines – he’s already forging a promising partnership with Sam Vokes – but shrewd additions of Joey Barton and rampaging right-back Tendayi Darikwa have given the side impetus, thrust and that all-action ability that Dyche is often searching for.
Before the international break Burnley overcame Rotherham 2-1 at the New York Stadium, a crucial three points after a bore-draw with Derby on the box and an out-of-character defensively poor showing at home to Reading ended a four-match winning streak. Sitting in sixth and two points off the automatic promotion places, Dyche’s troops are nestled in nicely.
Since taking over the Clarets, Dyche has made Burnley’s Turf Moor base a real force. His previous 45 home Championship outings have returned W24-D13-L8 with the team keeping a strong 18/45 (40%) clean sheets. That return enhances to W13-D6-L1 when entertaining bottom-half dwellers with shutouts kept in exactly half of those encounters.
Naturally, I was surprised to see Burnley chalked up at 1.82 (Favourit) to beat Bolton on home soil this Saturday. A 65% win rate when hosting the league’s lesser lights would translate to odds of 1.54 and Neil Lennon’s visitors have been enduring monumental struggles on their travels for quite some time now.
The Trotters were unluckily out-gunned by a Charlie Austin-less QPR 4-3 in their last fixture but there’s only so many times you can make allowances for Bolton’s terrible travelling record. Since the start of last season it reads W4-D5-L19, under Lennon’s tutelage it returns W4-D5-L14 and when visiting top-half clubs last season they managed W2-D1-L9. In fact, throw in their results from matches at the Macron Stadium against the league’s best and the Trotters have W5-D4-L15.
Wanderers have leaked 10 goals in their previous three games and Lennon has suggested he may ring the defensive changes for the short hop across Lancashire but even so, Burnley should prove too strong for a side that’s lost 68% of their previous 28 road trips.
Crewe v Gillingham | Saturday 15.00
I looked, pondered, looked again and researched the weekend League One coupon for quite some time this week but still I kept coming back to the same bet. It’s as short as I’d tend to go but even so, backing Both Teams To Score at 1.72 (Favourit) just looks a little too big when Crewe welcome Gillingham.
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) penned a fantastic preview for Oddschecker not so long ago (which I can’t find following their site restructure) about Crewe’s slow starts and pick-up in the autumn. The Alex pocketed an unlikely smash-and-grab victory at Barnsley last weekend to back up Mike’s suggestion and Steve Davis is starting to get a tune out of his players once more.
The Railwaymen remain rooted to the bottom of the third tier but there’s no way I’d be backing them for relegation or opposing them on Saturday. I’m a big big fan of Justin Edinburgh and his Gillingham project but their W5-D6-L4 return makes the visitors anything but value at ridiculously skinny prices in a volatile League One.
Instead, we’re gunning for goals. Crewe have scored in nine of their last 10 league fixtures with Both Teams To Score banking in the same number of their previous 10. On home soil, the Alex have seen BTTS prove profitable in five of their six Gresty Road dates this season.
The hosts are also boosted by the return from international duty of defender Stephen Kingsley and forwards Marcus Haber and Harry Wilson for the weekend clash whilst George Ray may play with a protective mask and talented young midfielder James Jones is available again for selection.
But Crewe are winless in 13 home matches and that’s certainly a trend Gillingham will be keen to exploit. Northern Ireland U21 forward Rory Donnelly’s in fine form leading the visitors’ attack, the most potent in the division. The Kent club have only failed to notch once this term and are averaging over two goals-per-game.
However, we’re interested in their Both Teams To Score record and that’s standing at 11/15 (73%) under Edinburgh’s watch in away games and extends to 21/29 (72%) in road matches since the start of last season. The Kent high-flyers have kept just three clean sheets in that time, making the BTTS repeat look a real steal.
AFC Wimbledon v Morecambe | Saturday 15.00
Any day now, I’m expecting a call from the local Morecambe rag or even the club itself to cover the Shrimps full-time. Regular readers (hello to the both of you) are probably a little sick and tired of Jim Bentley’s team getting mentioned in this column but truth is, I can’t ignore their away day at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Morecambe take the tag for boasting League Two’s highest-scoring matches and they gave us a winner in the Both Teams To Score market last weekend in a 3-2 victory at Carlisle. So with their 12 league duels have brought about a humungous 3.83 goals-per-game, it would be rude not to go back in again when BTTS is trading at a bulbous 1.80 (Favourit).
Bentley’s boys have seen BTTS bank in eight of their most recent nine as well as four of their six away days. Those six road fixtures have featured 3.67 goals-per-game and Morecambe’s matches are also leading the way in the shots-on-target stakes. The visitors make the journey boasting the league’s best attack but also holding the dubious honour of holding League Two’s joint-most porous backline.
Defensively they are improving but the stats don’t lie. However, I’d rather focus on their attacking output as once again, the Shrimps were devastating on the counter-attack with England’s leading assist-maker Jamie Devitt pulling the strings. Throw in the prolific Shaun Miller and Tom Barkhuizen alongside Kevin Ellison and you’ve an argument to say Morecambe have one of the most formidable front fours in the division.
Bentley even believed his side could and should have scored more at Carlisle last weekend, “We hit them numerous times on the break, in the second half certainly, and should have scored more than the three we did.” And that should stand the Shrimps in good stead for an inconsistent Wimbledon side on Saturday.
Supporters are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progression under Neil Ardley and defensive errors are a key point that needs addressing The Dons have W4-D4-L4 of their 12 fixtures thus far and only managed a solitary shutout.
Since their opening day reverse to Plymouth, Wimbledon have scored in each of their five following Kingsmeadow matches though and all five produced winning Both Teams To Score bets. With the likes of Adebayo Azeez and Adebayo Akinfenwa in attack plus the supply of George Francomb, AFC shouldn’t have an issue getting goals, at least.
Since the start of last season, Wimbledon have been involved in 17/29 (59%) of successful Both Teams To Score bets at home – Morecambe have followed suit by exactly the same number in their away fixtures. That 59% figure returns odds of 1.71 when translated into betting terms making the 1.80 on offer another value price.
Burnley v Bolton – Burnley to win (1.82 Favourit)
Crewe v Gillingham – Both Teams To Score (1.72 Favourit)
AFC Wimbledon v Morecambe – Both Teams To Score (1.80 Favourit)
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