Football League Betting Preview & Tips: Athletic to impress


FOOTBALL LEAGUE fan James Potter (@thebettingdeskoversees Tuesday night's EFL action, picking out his favourite fancies. 

Charlton vs Ipswich | Saturday 17th April 2021, 12:30

New Ipswich manager Paul Cook called his sides midweek game at relegation-threatened AFC Wimbledon as season defining. The Tractor Boys were at the time just three points off the play offs. Ipswich lost 3-0, had a man sent off after 25 mins and where outplayed, out fought, and out thought.

The players look lost with many fans questioning the players attitude and desire to play for the club given that 32 professionals are out of contract in the summer with 20 of these being and around the first team.

Rumors have been circulating all week that some of the out of contract players wont play for the club again and on Thursday night, it was confirmed that the club were unwilling to extent the contract of Alan Judge, who has been one of the more consistent performers this season, and therefore wouldn’t feature again this season.

Cook said after Tuesday’s defeat “We’re a million miles from a good team, and that includes myself and the staff tonight. I don’t trust my team”. He went on to say that the takeover came as a big surprise and has had an impact on the squad.

In fact, Cook had stopped giving press conferences as he said he was getting bored coming out after games and telling reporters and fans that the performance wasn’t good enough and if the players didn’t deliver, they would go.  The summer can’t come quick enough for Ipswich and their players.

Cook must shoulder some of the blame as the starting 11 is unsettled and he has tried numerous formations and players to try to get something to work. Nothing has so far.

Don’t be fooled by Ipswich’s league position. On the road they are woeful with W6-D5-L8. Against top half sides away it gets worse with W3-D1-L6. It’s the same issue for Ipswich as last season. They generally beat the poorer sides in the division but struggle against the better sides.

Over the last two seasons when they have played top half sides home and away, they have a record of W11-D12-L19, a win rate of just 26%. Not very impressive for a side that has one of the biggest wage budgets in the league and aspirations of a return to the Championship.

Ipswich sit 22nd for away expected points and 15th for away xG ratio. Only three sides have scored fewer goals in the road and just one side has had fewer shots or shots on target. It’s in front of goal that Ipswich struggle and their last few games has seen them have 3,0,0,3,3 shots on target and when you consider that these games have been against Wimbledon, MK Dons, Rochdale, Bristol Rovers and Wigan you can see the issues that Ipswich have.

Charlton still have a chance of gate-crashing the play offs. They sit 8th just three points off the play-off positions and with a game in hand over Portsmouth who occupy the 6th place position. Despite Lee Bowyer taking the Birmingham managers role and being replace by Nigel Adkins, the Addicks have continued to do well. They are currently unbeaten in eight games and beat Sunderland last time out.

The Addicks haven’t had the best of home form this term W6-D5-L7 whilst 19 of their 23 home points have come against sides in the bottom half the division its hard to argue that Ipswich don’t fit that bracket at the moment with just two wins in 10 both of which were at home.

Charlton still have to play Peterborough, Lincoln and Hull this season, so they know they must pick up maximum points here to break into the top 6. Adkins has really been focused on preparation and identifying areas of the opposition to exploit and I don’t think he will have much issue identifying areas to focus on when Ipswich arrive at the weekend.

Adkins said “You break it all down, we’ve got so much more to give, especially in possession of the football. This is the important stage of the season where results are everything, we are well and truly in the race for the play-off positions.” There is no doubt there are confident of making the play offs and won’t be concerned with playing against an out of form Ipswich side.

The teams are heading in different directions. The season for Ipswich is over and its now about the summer rebuild, whilst there is hope and determination at the Valley. I am happy to get Charlton on a -0.25 Asian Handicap meaning that if Ipswich do turn up and defend a little better and the game ends in a draw, we have a little protection.

Burton vs Plymouth | Saturday 17th April 2021, 12:30

We made profit midweek taking Burton to avoid defeat at Doncaster and this time I want to take them on with a goals angle.

Burton seemed set for relegation at Christmas but the appointment of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink as their new boss on 1st January has completely turned around their fortunes.

Hasselbaink, in his second spell in charge at the Pirelli Stadium, has led Burton away from the relegation zone and to probable safety. He brought in several new players during the January transfer window and changed the style and its worked well.

Under Hasselbaink, Burton have a record of 12 wins, two draws and five defeats. They are currently on a run of three consecutive victories, which has included a 2-1 triumph at Portsmouth last Saturday before they went to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday and beat them 3-0.

However, as I have pointed out in previous columns for, We Love Betting, their home record is a little weak. Over the course of the season, they have gone W6-D2-L11 and under Hasselbaink its W4-D0-L5 with just two clean sheets whilst scoring in seven. The only two teams to stop Burton scoring at home over these nine games has been Sunderland and Ipswich.

I watched the Ipswich game and Burton had chances to score and against Sunderland they still managed xG 1.59 with 12 shots.

Over the course of the season Burton have failed to score just three times at home, keeping clean sheets in just two with both teams scoring landing in 14 of 19 home games. Only 2 sides concede more goals at home and just four sides concede more shots on target.

For Plymouth, the season is over, they sit just one point ahead of Burton and whilst there is a mathematical chance that they could get relegated its incredibly unlikely, both sides would probably like another win as soon as possible to cement their place in League One for next season.

Their away record of the season has been W3-D6-L11, and they haven’t won an away game since early February, but their underlying away metrics are encouraging for them to get on the score sheet here.

9th for away xG, 6th for shots taken and for shots in the box and in Luke Jephcott they have a striker who had the ability to play at a much higher level with some Championship clubs willing to pay £5m for over the summer. Jephcott has 16 goals this season and is already capped by Wales.

Argyle have scored in 12 of their 20 away games this season, with four blanks coming on the road when facing sides in the top nine, with Jephcott missing from four of the eight games they failed to find the net. He has missed 10 games this season and when he doesn’t play, they have only picked up 10 points with the other 42 points collected with him starting.

However, he has now hasn’t scored since February but Plymouth manager, Ryan Lowe rested him for four games, and he came back into the starting 11 for their last game and Lowe was pleased with his performance and seem very confident the goals with flow again.

Defensively they aren’t great with just three away clean sheets all season, conceding an average of 1.8 goals per game, only three sides have conceded more goals on the road and no side has conceded more shots.

There is no reason to believe that this will be an edgy game with both sides happy to battle out a low scoring dull affair. There has been 12 goals in Burton last four games and 11 in Plymouths last four. I am expecting more of the same here and am happy with Both Teams To Score at 13/17 with Red Zone with some bookmakers offering as low as 8/13

Morecambe vs Oldham | Saturday 17th April 2021, 12:30

No side in England from the top four divisions averages more match goals than Oldham with 3.22 per game and away from home this increases to 3.25.

They average 1.70 goal scored and 1.55 goals conceded on the road. Their away form is stronger than their home record with W8-D7-L5 scoring in 14 of their 16 games, whilst keeping a clean sheet in just three.

However, what is odd that against the top half sides on the road eight of 11 games have seen both teams score and over 2.5 goals. Cheltenham and Salford both beat them 2-0, despite the Latics managing five shots on target and a xG of 1.05 at Cheltenham.

Oldham kept up with their recent revolving managers door in March when Harry Kewell was sacked, and Keith Curle was appointed becoming the 6th manager since January 2019. However, Curle has continued with the goal theme with 27 goals in his eight matches which is an average of 3.37 goals per game.

Over this eight-game period, only two games have seen Oldham fail to score and they have kept just one clean sheet with five hitting 2.5 match goals. Overall, this season they are seeing 65% of away games going over 2.5 and 70% seeing both teams to score, remarkably 25% of their away games have seen five goals or more.

Curle has admitted that many of his squad are ‘playing for their futures' over the course of the remaining five games of a largely disappointing season. However, it’s young squad and they are eager to impress, and I think that is showing given their recent results beating Colchester 5-2 and Crawley 4-1.

Curle likes to set his players up with look after the ball and attack sides and I think they won’t be scared to attack Morecambe and the younger player will show no fear. “

The hosts have everything to play for. They sit 4th just four points off the automatic promotion spots yet find themselves just six points ahead of 8th place Exeter with the four sides that sit just outside the play offs having a game in hand.

Yet Morecambe are having a minor wobble. They have won just once in four games, but their home form is still sound with W11-D5-L4, with all defeats coming to the sides in the top seven positions.

They have now scored in their last seven home games and only failed to score in two home games all season, one of which was their opening home game. Defensively they have conceded 1.2 per game with only 2 sides conceding more shots which has resulted in them keeping just five clean sheets across the season at home and only once in their last nine, so I am confident that Oldham will get chances and take them.

They beat Scunthorpe midweek 4-1 and manager, Derek Adams was disappointed that they didn’t score more. Interestingly they generated a xG of 2.25 whilst Scunthorpe still managed xG 2.01, so maybe it was the away side who deserved more goals.

I simply can’t look past goals here. Both sides like to attack and yet neither can defend. Collectively they have just eight clean sheets from their home and away matches and they have failed to score in again eight of these 40 games. Between them 68% of games have seen both teams score and 60% over 2.5 goals.

Best Bets

Charlton vs Ipswich – Charlton -0.25 Asian Handicap (8/11 Red Zone)

Burton vs Plymouth – Both Teams To Score (13/17 Red Zone)

Morecambe vs Oldham – Over 2.5 Goals

About Author

I started betting on football more seriously whilst at university where I thought I knew everything about football. However, I quickly realised that the use of data gave you an edge. All my bets are based on statistical model output and research. When I haven't got my head in data I am life long Ipswich fan.

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