YET another profitable week for Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) following his 4/6 Football League winners. He’s back on the trail for more this Saturday.
Blackburn v Ipswich | Saturday 15.00
Both Blackburn and Ipswich will feel aggrieved at their lack of points in September. Rovers boss Gary Bowyer admitted as much with the team taking five points from their four matches – a harsh defeat at Fulham, a topsy-turvy draw at QPR, beating Charlton at Ewood Park before snatching a share of the spoils at Hull last weekend.
The three-game unbeaten run has lifted Blackburn out of the relegation places and up to the 18th but the Rovers faithful, management and players know they arguably deserved more for their endeavours. Bowyer has come in for plenty of criticism but after a destabilising summer, he’s moulded the Red Rose back into a competitive outfit; they’ve not been beaten by two goals or more since January.
Crucially too, hitman Jordan Rhodes has started find form. The Scottish international now has a hugely impressive 79 goals in 150 appearances since signing for the Lancashire outfit and he’ll once again take up the challenge of finishing off the catalogue of chances Blackburn are creating. Next up is a visit from his old club Ipswich.
Blackburn went into their Hull encounter with just two fit and available recognised senior centre-backs – captain Grant Hanley and Shane Duffy – and are struggling to get players fit. Fode Koita should return to bolster the attack mind, so rather than hang my hat on a Match Odds punt, we just have to investigate a goals-based bet.
Ipswich have taken just five points from five games to simmer lofty promotion ambitions after their fast start which had Town top after four fixtures. And the Suffolk raiders have been struggling to keep the goals out this term too. Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to rock bottom Bristol City saw Mick McCarthy’s men come off second best in an aerial battle and that’s an angle a rangy Blackburn will look to pinpoint.
McCarthy took his entire squad to Old Trafford for the experience of their Capital One Cup exit last midweek and the team didn’t get back to Ipswich until 03.30 on Thursday morning. No surprise then that the Tractor Boys were caught cold by Bristol City. So after a week’s rest, plenty will be expected from Town.
The visitors continue to opt for a tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 formation with attack-minded players on both flanks. Unusually for a McCarthy side, there hasn’t been enough dog or defensively strong players in the midfield to help out the back four and that’s a reason for the Town leaking more goals than any of their top-half rivals.
I fancy goals at Ewood Park. Neither side is likely to take a backwards step with their strengths in forward areas. If we take a look at their respective records since the start of last season, Blackburn have featured in 17/27 (63%) of winning Both Teams To Score bets on home soil with 15/27 (56%) producing three goals or more – the hosts only failed to net on five occasions.
As for Ipswich, a huge 19/27 (70%) of their road trips have banked in the BTTS market with a solid 16/27 (59%) also bagging over 2.5 Goals winners with 11/27 (41%) also breaking the Over 3.5 Goals barrier. McCarthy’s men scored in all bar four of those away days, keeping just five clean sheets across the same span.
With Both Teams To Score a little on the skinny side, I’m happy giving Over 2.5 Goals a bit of love at 1.86 with Favourit. Taking the aforementioned stats, the probability of this fixture featuring at least three goals should be about 57% making the true price closer to 8/11 rather than the 17/20 on offer. Value.
Gillingham v Oldham | Saturday 15.00
Having suffered back-to-back away defeats, Gillingham were glad to return to their home comforts of the Priestfield on Tuesday night. I outlined their magnificent return under Justin Edinburgh’s watch at their Kent base and after falling behind early on to Fleetwood, the Gills fired four goals in 16 first-half minutes to put them on the road to a thumping 5-1 success.
It’s a result that moves Gillingham up to third and just two points off the League One summit. They’re a solid if not spectacular bunch; there’s a youthful energy about the side, a strong work ethic and clear and strong leadership from Edinburgh. But probably most pleasing for home supporters, the team are playing with confidence and without fear.
As I said on Tuesday, there’s no need to continually heap praise on Edinburgh but he’s an astute young boss who’ll find himself in the top two tiers of football sooner rather than later. However, it is worth pointing out that fabulous run the Kent club are on at their Priestfield home once more.
The Gills have won eight on the spin in front of their home fans and 12 of their last 16 when entertaining in League One. Under Edinburgh’s watch that record reads W9-D2-L2. It’s a mighty effort and one that makes the 2.00 (Favourit) on offer for them to beat Oldham on Saturday look like one of the best bets on the Football League card.
You see, I just don’t rate Oldham. The decision to hire and then fire Darren Kelly so soon into the season and after a full pre-season looked a little bizarre from the outset and the appointment of David Dunn as interim manager is, to me, a little concerning. He looked an easy, cheap option and his lack of managerial or coaching experience could well work against the Latics. Saying that, I doubted Burton’s decision to plump for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink last term.
Results suggest Oldham aren’t in a great deal of bother. Dunn’s overseen three successive 1-1 draws – a scoreline that’s proven profitable in six of their 10 League One outings this term – but look a little closer and the trends aren’t exactly looking hunky dory. Only four sides have attempted fewer shots in the third tier and only six have faced more. What’s more, only Swindon and Blackpool have fired in more on-target efforts than their three-per-game average whilst only Blackpool, Crewe and Chesterfield have allowed more.
The visitors have scored just nine goals in 10 matches and never more than once. Striker Rhys Murphy was surprisingly loaned out and the Latics have failed to find the net in 10 of their 28 away days since the start of last season. Their W4-D6-L8 record on the road from their previous 18 is hardly inspiring and I’m happy going against them this weekend (and most weekends).
AFC Wimbledon v Barnet | Saturday 15.00
I’ve always liked punting Wimbledon‘s matches since they won promotion back into the Football League. From Terry Burton’s tutelage to Neil Ardley, the Wombles always seem to be a great source for Both Teams To Score bets, especially at Kingsmeadow.
Following Matt Tubbs’ departure last season, AFCW foundered into mid-table obscurity but with Adebayo Akinfenwa committing his future to the club plus Lyle Taylor and Tom Elliott joining, Ardley was obviously keen to replace the goals that went missing in the final five months of the 2014/15 campaign.
Andy Barcham and Sean Rigg offer the width and pace on the flanks and their old-fashioned approach normally pays dividends in the attacking stakes. They know how to mix it too – the Wombles are a physically imposing side and on top of the crosses from out wide, offer plenty of threat from set-plays. Only six League Two sides have had more efforts on-target this term and since the start of last season, Wimbledon have scored in 22/28 (79%) of Kingsmeadow outings.
They should increase that trend on Saturday in a London derby with Barnet. The Bees journey from north to south eager to bounce back from their battling midweek 2-1 loss at highly-rated Plymouth. Declaring pre-match that his side would ‘park the bus’ in a 4-5-1, Martin Allen kept faith with the same 18 and 4-2-3-1 formation which won against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.
Despite taking the lead in Devon, Barnet failed to capitalise on their advantage and fell to their fifth loss in five away games since promotion. But they’ve certainly not been outclassed in those matches – giving Portsmouth, Carlisle and Leyton Orient a decent run for their money.
They’re a direct side but led by Aaron McLean and John Akinde in attack – two players more than capable of ruffling feathers at this level. There’s pace and power throughout the XI and Allen instructs his side to get the ball early to unsettle opposition defences. Despite their W3-D1-L6 return, the Bees have netted just one goal fewer than table-topping Wycombe and the same 13-goal haul as play-off occupiers Oxford and Mansfield.
Last season the visitors racked up 94 goals when winning the Conference, failing to score just twice in 46 fixtures. Already this season they’ve landed Both Teams To Score winners in 6/10 (60%) games including 4/5 on the road. Wimbledon have enjoyed BTTS success in 17/28 (61%) of their home games since the start of 2014/15, making a 1.75 (Favourit) for a repeat on Saturday look attractive.
Blackburn v Ipswich – Over 2.5 Goals (1.86 Favourit)
Gillingham v Oldham – Gillingham to win (2.00 Favourit)
AFC Wimbledon v Barnet – Both Teams To Score (1.75 Favourit)
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