Football League Betting Preview & Tips: Goals forecast at the Pirelli


FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) reveals his favourite selections from the weekend's EFL action. 

Burton vs Doncaster | Saturday 19th December 2020, 15:00

Burton prop up League One as we close in on the hectic festive schedule with rookie boss Jake Buxton’s position becoming increasingly precarious. Performance-wise, the Brewers probably haven’t been as bad as results have suggested but an inability to keep the backdoor locked as proven Albion’s downfall this term.

Buxton’s boys are without a clean sheet thus far, leaking an average 1.83 goals per-game. Only Gillingham are giving away a larger Expected Goals (xG) figure, whilst only two teams are conceding more shots from inside the penalty area. Naturally, wins become all the harder when you’re requiring two goals or more to take top honours.

Nevertheless, the Brewers do present a threat in the final-third, evidenced by their return of scoring in 15 of 18 encounters. The hosts have only fired a solitary blank at the Pirelli and I’m happy to continue following those positive goal trends by backing Both Teams To Score (4/5 Sport Nation) when Doncaster arrive. After all, it’s landed in 83% of Burton’s games.

Doncaster have notched in 15 of their 16 fixtures, racking up the second-highest goals figure in the division despite playing a couple of matches fewer than the majority of League One rivals. However, Darren Moore’s men have also toiled at the back end, posting three shutouts across the campaign that’s led to 12/16 (75%) successful BTTS bets

I make a repeat much closer to 4/6 so I’m more than fine jumping in on 4/5 quotes.

Fleetwood vs Wigan | Saturday 19th December 2020, 15:00

Answers on a postcard regarding what went wrong with Accrington last weekend at Wigan. A couple of defensive blunders proved costly but even in the second-half I felt Stanley had Wigan on the ropes and picking up a positive result wasn’t out of the question.

The Latics now travel to Fleetwood on Saturday and I’m expecting their luck to run out at Highbury. Athletic continue to post sub 30% Expected Goals (xG) ratio figures, managing the fewest shots from inside the box per-game and giving opponents plenty of opportunity in the final-third. The visitors have failed to score in eight of their past 12 League One outings and were demolished by Rochdale in midweek.

In contrast, Fleetwood are beginning to make their move after an understandably slow start. A play-off hangover, plus a lack of defensive bodies, meant the Cod Army endured a false start to proceedings; Joey Barton’s boys have posted W6-D2-L3 since mid-October, as well as six triumphs from seven when taking on bottom-eight opposition this term.

Town are amongst the top-six when viewing xG open play figures, and should be well capable of putting Wigan away with room to spare. Therefore, I’ll take Fleetwood to win and Over 1.5 Goals (10/11 Betway) this weekend.

Colchester vs Morecambe | Saturday 19th December 2020, 15:00

Finally, goals should be on the agenda when Colchester welcome Morecambe to Essex. These two teams have been fun to follow in 2020/21 – ColU netting in 17 of their 18 League Two tussles – in all 17 since their opening day blank – and the Shrimps following suit in all bar two of their own 18 encounters.

With the pair each collecting only four clean sheets along the way, it’s unsurprising to see the Both Teams To Score wager paying out regular profits. It’s proven a successful selection in 14/18 (78%) of Colchester’s games, as well as 12/18 (67%) of Morecambe’s matches. When viewing the duos respective home/away dates, it’s landed in 13/17 (77%).

So 8/11 (Bet365) quotes on a repeat are fair enough.

Apologies on the short and sweet column this week, my time is quite tied but hopefully there’s enough reasoning and justification in the three plays above to make this a satisfactory read. Back in business for Boxing Day.

Best Bets

Burton vs Doncaster – Both Teams To Score (4/5 Sport Nation)

Fleetwood vs Wigan – Fleetwood to win and Over 1.5 Goals (10/11 Betway)

Colchester vs Morecambe – Both Teams To Score (8/11 Bet365)

About Author

The big cheese at WLB. After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production before setting WeLoveBetting up soon after the 2014 World Cup. With a huge passion for stats, analytics, the EFL and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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