MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) chews over the remarkable trends surrounding Burton Albion’s rise as well as delivering his best bets from Saturday’s televised encounter with Oldham.
Burton v Oldham | Saturday 12.15 | Sky Sports 1
Burton appear well on course to secure back-to-back promotions, heading into the Easter weekend with a six-point advantage at the top of the League One tree.
The Brewers have posted an equal-best shots-on-target ratio figure (60%) alongside mega-money Wigan and have churned out a remarkable 51/83 (61%) league wins since the start of last season – had you backed the Yellows in all 83 games, you’d be £429 up from a £10 stake.
Of those 51 victories, 30 (36%) have been achieved alongside a clean sheet. Burton have failed to score on just 16 (19%) occasions and overall they’ve shut their opponents out on 35 (42%) occasions. Strong.
The Brewers have been outstanding operators at their Pirelli Stadium home too, returning W28-D8-L5 in that spell – 17 (41%) of those triumphs were claimed with clean sheets as they’ve been silenced just six (15%) times and recorded a total of 22 (54%) shutouts.
Surprisingly, in only 14/83 (73%) fixtures have the East Staffordshire men scored more than twice so although they ruthlessly took Port Vale apart 4-0 last weekend, that result was out of kilter with how Burton tend to their business. Anyhow, Nigel Clough’s charges only fired in five shots-on-target during that triumph.
We can dig deeper too. Only 6/37 (16%) of games since promotion have been won by a margin of two goals or more, meaning a hunky 17/37 (46%) were victories by just the odd goal this season, 11/37 (30%) of which were 1-0 successes and 6/37 (16%) by the 2-1 correct score.
The hosts are built around their solid, unspectacular but very sturdy defence – no League One side has faced fewer shots-on-target on average (3.00 per-game) – with Stuart Beavon asked to lead the attack with support from the flanks in the form of Lucas Akins and Mark Duffy.
Seven sides have fired in more on-target attempts than the table-toppers but with the above trends in tow, it’s very hard to overlook Burton’s claims on Saturday. Oldham are no mugs under John Sheridan’s leadership.
The Latics have returned W4-D4-L4 since his arrival and, although their recent run of W1-D2-L2 has brought the Lancashire club back down to earth, they’ll be tough to breakdown.
Like Burton, last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at rivals Rochdale was out of sync with the majority of their matches, especially under Sheridan. Only Walsall (15) have shipped fewer away goals than Oldham’s 17 this season and 8/11 (735) games previously to that Dale defeat had featured fewer than three goals, six of which also saw Under 1.5 Goals.
The visitors have held out for draws in eight of their last 10 trips to top-six teams but go into battle without Burton loanees Matty Palmer and Timmy Thiele here and ultimately, I expect them to be squeezed out.
Taking all the above into account, Burton to win by exactly one goal at 5/2 with SkyBet is my standout selection. At those odds, the bookies give this bet just a 28% chance of success but as we’ve seen, the Brewers have won by one goal in 17/37 (46%) games since promotion.
But I’ll also have an interest in the 1-0 correct score at 5/1 with BetVictor. Again, there’s value here with the odds implying just a 17% chance of winning. However, 11/37 (30%) of Burton’s outings have nailed this correct score.
Burton v Oldham – Burton to win by exactly one goal (5/2 Skybet)
Burton v Oldham – Burton to win 1-0 (5/1 BetVictor)
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