LEAGUE ONE expert Gabriel Sutton (@FootballLab) takes a look at Sunday’s tussle between Gillingham and Portsmouth.
Gillingham v Portsmouth| Sunday 8th October 2017, 15:00 | Sky Sports
The first rule of EFL betting club – after ‘Don’t talk about EFL betting club’ – is never to back an away team at odds-on.
That rule should be applied here. 15th place Portsmouth have lost to four teams since the start of last month including strugglers Northampton and Oldham.
Kenny Jackett’s side has won one in five on the road and disjointed performances suggest they are undergoing a transitional phase.
While it is not surprising to see a glamorous club odds-on across all bookmakers to do the business away to 23rd-place Gillingham, the value must be found elsewhere.
Those who fancy Peter Taylor’s passionate players to pounce on Pompey’s imperfections might be tempted by the 67/20 with Marathon Bet on a home win.
Gills put the effort in – but to no avail
The Gills are a hardworking outfit, but they just haven’t shown enough intent or quality going forward to tickle my taste buds.
In a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe, they had just eight shots all evening, one on target. Four days later, they showed a little more creativity against Blackburn but missed their chances – Conor Wilkinson especially culpable – and lost 1-0.
The 18-man match-day squad at Ewood Park has scored 105 goals in their careers combined, one fewer than the now-departed Cody McDonald netted for Gillingham alone.
Naturally, that list includes defenders and young lads starting out, but with poacher, McDonald and technician Bradley Dack went there is a lack of know-how in the final third.
League One Player of September Brett Pitman might normally provide that for Portsmouth, but he is out for four weeks with a knee injury.
Forward Conor Chaplin is also ruled out for this match, meaning that those in contention for Sunday’s game have scored just four league goals between them this term.
We can, therefore, expect a tight encounter with neither side showing too much confidence going forward, so it could pay to oppose goals.
Not bound to be an all-action classic
BetVictor’s 11/10 on offer for ‘Both Teams to Score – No’ implies a probability of 48%, but it would have come off in 73% of Gillingham’s games this season. One side has failed to net in 55% of Pompey’s encounters, so the combined 64% suggests we are fortunate to get odds-against quotes.
Gillingham haven’t yet scored a first-half goal at home while Portsmouth, on the road, has only bagged one before the interval in five games apiece.
Both Taylor and Jackett tend to be conservative managers, so BetVictor’s 2/1 on a goalless opening period might appeal.
I won’t side with Portsmouth and betray our trusty golden rule, nor Gillingham, who relied on stopper Tomas Holy for their only league win in 14 stretching back to last season.
The most attractive angle, therefore, is a draw – and if it is, the mentality of both teams suggests we are unlikely to see a classic.
188bet offer 18/5 on a draw with Under 2.5 goals, which implies a probability of 22% – that gives us a smidge of value, with past form indicating a 27% chance.
Opposing goals, whilst keeping both teams at arm’s length, is the way to go for this one.
Gillingham v Portsmouth – Both Teams To Score ‘No’ – (11/10 BetVictor)