MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) gives the Football League the once over in the search for more winning bets.
Watford v Blackburn Rovers | Saturday 15.00
I’m sure I wasn’t the only punter who let out a huge gasp last Friday night when referee Lee Probert pulled out a red card for Watford defender Gabriele Angella after only 28 seconds of the Hornets’ match at Bournemouth. The game was effectively over on that decision as Slavisa Jokanovic’s visitors were forced to chase the Cherries for the remaining 89 minutes with just 29% of possession.
Angella is available for Saturday’s clash with Blackburn with his red card rescinded as Watford go on the hunt for a seventh win in 10 Championship matches. But rather focus on the hosts’ chances of claiming maximum points, I’d rather explore the options of a goal-based bet, seeing as these two teams possess a number of serious threats in forward positions.
Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney will spearhead the home side’s attack with Matěj Vydra waiting in the wings. The Hornets have scored in 22/28 league games this season and looking back to the beginning of the 2013/14 season to today, they’ve netted at least twice in 19/37 (51%) at Vicarage Road.
As for Blackburn, Jordan Rhodes will shoulder the goalscoring burden but Rudy Gestede could return from a recent knock. If the Frenchman fails to make the XI, boss Gary Bowyer will turn to Chris Brown again after a solid performance against Fulham last Saturday. Rovers scored twice in their victory meaning they’ve not netted in all bar five of their 28 Championship outings.
So I’m going to head down Bet365’s gaff for another play on the Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score market with even-money on offer for this head-to-head. Both have a penchant for goal-laden games; Watford have seen 22/37 (59%) of home league games feature Over 2.5 Goals and it’s a similar tale for Blackburn on the road with a whopping 23/37 (62%) following suit.
Having already mentioned their potent strikeforces, it’s also worth noting that the Hornets have recorded 19/37 (51%) Both Teams To Score winners at Vicarage Road during the same spell with 27/37 (73%) of Rovers’ road games also producing goals at both ends.
Scunthorpe United v Oldham Athletic | Saturday 15.00
Scunthorpe did the business for us last weekend in spectacular fashion. Having ridden an early storm from Leyton Orient, Mark Robins’ men were clinical in their finishing as they strolled to a 4-1 success in east London to continue their resurgence up the League One ladder.
The Iron return home this weekend for the visit of Oldham and like the previous game, I think this fixture smells strongly of goals. Scunny have W7-D5-L2 in their last 14 League One matches but having W2-D2-L4 in their last eight on home soil, I’m not willing to chance my hand on the 6/4 for the home win.
Yes, I can’t see them losing but defensively, they need to step up. The hosts can boast just one clean sheet in their 25 league matches since winning promotion back to the third tier and none have been recorded at Glanford Park. So whilst Paddy Madden, on-loan Tom Hopper and Liam O’Neill plus veteran Gary McSheffrey give Robins a real edge going forward, the Iron normally need to score at least twice to get three points.
So I’m plumping for the same Bet365 market of Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score, this time at 6/5. It’s proved a winning selection in 6/9 Scunthorpe home games when excluding the top-four as well as in eight of their last 12 home and away in league action.
Oldham were beaten 1-0 at Barnsley in midweek with the Latics unusually subdued. Lee Johnson’s men failed to score for only the seventh time in 27 outings and the deadline day signings of Rhys Murphy and Conor Wilkinson should give the visitors extra bulk in forward areas.
Johnson’s charges had seen seven of their previous eight games before their trip to Oakwell feature three goals or more and with only three league clean sheets since mid-September, the signs are promising for another goal-filled game from the Football League.
Tranmere Rovers v Carlisle United | Saturday 15.00
Tranmere, as we all expected, are on an upward curve. The appointment of Micky Adams has worked wonders with the Wirral-based side picking up 18 points from their last nine games and climbing to 17th in the League Two table.
Rovers are unbeaten in five following last weekend’s 2-1 win away at Exeter. Jennison Myrie-Williams and Rory Donnelly got the goals but Adams was furious with Max Power’s penalty miss as his cheeky dink failed to come off. The new man in charge is certainly setting high standards at Prenton Park.
Tranmere are back on home soil on Saturday and I’m getting with them at 11/10 (BetVictor). They’ve W3-D2 in their last five in front of their supporters and they should prove too strong for a Carlisle side who continue to struggle on the road.
Keith Curle’s visitors have suffered defeats in 10 of their 14 away games in League Two since relegation and although two wins from their last four on their travels is encouraging for Cumbrian supporters, they’re averaging almost two goals against and have even failed to trouble the scoresheet on six occasions.
Carlisle came from behind in last weekend’s win at home to Mansfield and they bossed proceedings from the first whistle. However, their record at Brunton Park is a different kettle of fish to what they serve up on the road. Odds-against quotes on Tranmere at home to the fourth worst travellers in the fourth tier are too good to turn down.
Watford v Blackburn Rovers – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (1/1 Bet365)
Scunthorpe United v Oldham Athletic – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (6/5 Bet365)
Tranmere Rovers v Carlisle United – Tranmere Rovers to win (11/10 BetVictor)
What's your best Football League bet this weekend? We'd love to hear if you agree or disagree with Mark's selections.
Just leave a comment in the box below and we'll see at 5pm on Saturday who knows their onions (and who knows their sprouts).