Colchester v Exeter | Thursday 18th June 2020, 17:15 | Sky Sports
It has been 103 days since Colchester won 3-0 at Carlisle and Exeter lost 3-1 at Walsall, but both are now finally back in action as the League Two play-offs get underway behind closed doors. Both teams are a minimum of 180 minutes away from potentially making it to an empty Wembley Stadium next week, and earning a shot at a spot in League One.
Given the uniqueness of the situation, it is certainly a challenge to present a normal betting preview for a clash such as this. As you all know, neither outfit has played for over three months and they’re just thrown into their biggest match of the season. What benefit does recent form hold? Who will relish the lack of atmosphere? These type of questions we’ll only know come full time.
It is fair to say that you’d expect both John McGreal and Matt Taylor to set up their sides like they have done all season. After all, that is how they’ve earned their way to this point and will give them the best chance of showcasing their best. Colchester will look to utilise home advantage before making the long trip down to Devon in a few days’ time.
There is actually quite an interesting angle that presents us with a handy little betting opportunity for this game. Colchester are a team which is generally very quick out of the blocks, whilst Exeter are known for improving as games go along and ultimately finishing strongly.
Colchester are one of only four teams in the league this season to have scored over 30 first half goals, and 16 of them came after the 30th minute. Expect them to be quick out of the blocks. The concern is that they may tire later on, but they’d be happy to take any lead to St James’ Park.
Taylor’s Grecians have notably scored plenty of goals late on in league clashes in this campaign. Only Plymouth has managed to net more times in League Two after the 75th minute, so Exeter may well look to pounce late and hope Colchester blew out most of their stem early on.
I’m leaning towards the approach of Colchester starting strong, possibly tiring after three months of rest, whilst Exeter will be content to sit back to a degree early on and invite pressure, whilst later on they’ll pose a threat of their own. These clubs are in the top four for league shots on target and top five for major chances created so they know how to have a go.
Both are actually very strong defensively, with Colchester having League Two’s second-tightest backline, whereas Exeter are top of the standings in relation to clean sheets. Exeter however have gone 10 without producing a shutout, whilst Colchester conceded 2+ in three of their previous five. However, we just can’t ignore the lengthy lay-off and I expect that will play its part at some stage for both teams.
This game screams Bet Builder and I’ve plumped for Both Teams To Score and Exeter Double Chance at 17/10 (Bet365). I ultimately give Exeter the narrowest of edges as I expect them to finish the match strongly, plus they offer greater value in what is likely to be quite a close match.
Colchester v Exeter – Both Teams To Score and Exeter Double Chance (17/10 Bet365)