Burton vs Cheltenham | Friday 26th August 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
It’s off to Staffordshire for Friday Night Football, as the Sky cameras take us to the Pirelli Stadium for Burton’s clash with League One new boys Cheltenham.
The Brewers started the season with three consecutive wins but that run ended abruptly, losing 3-0 at Cambridge on Saturday. And Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink spoke about wanting a reaction from his players in this game.
It’s four points from four games for Cheltenham, who got the better of title favourites Ipswich at Whaddon Road a couple of weekends ago. However, they had a rough time at Fleetwood, falling to defeat in stoppage time.
But they’ll be buoyed after their win on penalties against Gillingham in the League Cup on Tuesday. And it’s that poses the question marks around the schedule and fitness.
That trip to Kent saw a 300-mile+ round trip, as well as the 90+ minutes of physical and mental exertion, something that Burton didn’t have as they were able to rest, so that could swing the scales in the hosts’ favour.
The betting angles
Cheltenham’s 3-5-2 could pose plenty of problems to Burton’s more traditional 4-2-3-1 set-up. And it’s that width for the Robins that could see them being underestimated in the markets.
Despite slipping to a late defeat on Saturday, Michael Duff’s side had more shots, more shots on target and won the xG battle (1.19 v 1.03). So, his team are doing plenty right, they just need more composure in front of goal.
The Robins have also outshot their opponents in three of their four league games, and they’re also recording a large volume of shots on target – 6, 6, 4 & 7 – the individual figures per game.
And that sees them have the joint-most shots on target in League 1 (23) alongside MK Dons. So, on that basis, you’d expect them to trouble this Burton backline.
Meanwhile, the Brewers don’t mind chancing their arm either. If you look at efforts alone, only MK Dons and Rotherham (58) have had more efforts than Hasselbaink’s men, meaning we could see plenty of attempts.
That leads me to that old saying: ‘If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the lottery.’ So, with one team who aren’t afraid of shooting and the other who are fairly accurate, I’m going to start with a both teams to score bet at even money with Mansion Bet. It’s also readily available at 10/11 with more of the mainstream firms like Bet365.
Cheltenham’s four games have all seen this outcome, with three of those also going over 2.5 goals. Part of the problem Duff is having to solve is tightening up their defence – it’s been rather leaky. They’re one of three sides to have conceded eight goals so far – the most in the league.
Only Burton’s 2-1 home win over Ipswich saw BTTS cop, but there are a few things to like about its chances here.
If the expected goals data from their weekend loss is correct, then how they failed to score and lose 3-0 is beyond me (xGF 1.93 & xGA 0.39).
Overall, they’ve got an expected goals for of 1.27xG per game. While at the other end, their expected goals against sits at 1.11xGA per game. Meanwhile, they’ve lost the xG battle in three of their four league games.
And as I’ve outlined above, they do pull the trigger, having 56 shots, an average of 14 per game. All they have to do is improve their accuracy and bolster the current 17 shots on target figure (4.25 per game) to trouble the Cheltenham goal.
But with plenty of shots likely and Burton’s xG data highlighting there are chances at both ends in their games, then I’ll take the BTTS angle into this one as the main bet.
You’ve read the long spiel, how does a 16/1 shot sound? Now that’s got your attention.
I’ve played Ryan Leak as an anytime goalscorer. The Burton-born defender arrived in the summer after a couple of seasons in Spain with Burgos. And despite his position, there’s no missing some of his data.
Only midfielders Jonny Smith (10) and Joe Powell (8) have had more efforts than Leak’s 7, so he puts himself into threatening positions, which he could profit from.
Having read a few of their reports and insights, his name crops up repeatedly from having a sight of the opposition goal. At Cambridge on Saturday, he had a chance either side of half-time, meaning he was responsible for a whole 1xG of Burton’s 1.93xG total.
He’s a target from set-pieces when the ball goes into the box. So, although it might look reactive backing him this week, there’s scope in his 16/1 price on Paddy Power.
I did look at other markets like cards. Cheltenham picked up 10 yellows, that’s despite giving away 39 fouls, which is the fourth-fewest, while Burton have collected 9 cautions – but the referee seems lenient.
Scott Oldham has shown nine yellows and one red in five games in all comps this season. While last season, he dished out just 70 cards in 33 matches, an average of 2.12 per game. Just five of those matches saw four or more cards.
There was a dig through some corners data, which looked promising after seeing all four of Burton’s games had seen 10+, yet their team totals were low (4, 5, 3 & 3).
Cheltenham’s corner data was inconsistent. It saw two games end with 15 and 16 corners respectively, but the other two only had totals of 5 and 7. So, it was hard to find a definitive conclusion, especially as their team tally per game was just as patchy – 2, 7, 2 & 9.
So, it’s these two plays for me to hopefully kickstart the weekend. One main bet and a longshot, which looks attractively priced on the data set.
Burton vs Cheltenham – Both Teams To Score (1/1 Mansion Bet)
Burton vs Cheltenham: Ryan Leak to score anytime (16/1 Paddy Power)