FOOTBALL LEAGUE boff Gabriel Sutton (@_FootbalLab) runs the rule over the League One play-off final between Rotherham and Shrewsbury on Sunday.
Rotherham v Shrewsbury | Sunday 27th May 2018, 15:00 | Sky Sports
Rotherham United are a sound club and it is nice to see them proving a lot of people wrong this season, including myself. Tony Stewart is a fine chairman, Paul Warne is a good man who deserves credit for galvanising the place, Will Vaulks is having a top season, and I’m a big fan of the Chuckle Brothers and all the rest of it.
But looking purely at the mathematics of it, the prices on them beating Shrewsbury in 90 minutes are too short. Even the best odds, 38/25 with Marathon, imply roughly a 40% chance of that happening.
Rotherham have won 25 of their 48 League One games while Shrewsbury have only lost nine in 48; those trends suggest the Millers have a 35% chance of winning, which is 5% lower than the probability our best odds imply. While it would be lovely to see Rotherham celebrate promotion therefore, they are not on paper a financially viable proposition.
By contrast, the odds on Shrewsbury to win without extra-time are as big as 11/5 with bet365, who give them a 31% chance. Salop have won 27 of their 48 League One games this season while Rotherham have lost 15 times; trends which indicate a 44% chance of a repeat, which is 13% higher than the odds imply. For that reason, it makes sense to back Paul Hurst’s side.
Strong second half for Salop
In Shrewsbury’s last seven games, they have scored just two first half goals and conceded only once before the break. Hurst’s strategy for previous games suggests the priority, initially, will be to make sure holding midfielders Ben Godfrey and Bryn Morris sit close to the penalty area.
That way, if as expected Rotherham target man Michael Smith tries to pick aerial duels with Mat Sadler from their crossing game, there’s numbers spare to mop up loose balls, denying space for the likes of Ryan Williams and Joe Newell. We’re therefore taking Smarkets’ 21/10 on the half-time score being 0-0.
At the start of Shrewsbury’s second halves, we tend to see them show more attacking ambition, with Godfrey and Morris stepping up a few yards which normally helps bring attacking midfielder Jon Nolan into play. The Shropshire outfit have scored more second half goals than their opponents in three of their last five games and Betstars offer a generous 12/5 on them doing so again.
Alternatively, Smarkets give us an attractive 31/5 on the first half to be drawn with Shrewsbury coming out on top in the second half.
Shrewsbury v Rotherham – 0-0 half-time correct score (21/10 Smarkets)
Shrewsbury v Rotherham – Shrewsbury to win the second half (12/5 Betstars)
Shrewsbury v Rotherham – Draw/Shrewsbury (31/5 Smarkets)