Peterborough vs Accrington | Saturday 27th March 2021, 15:00
Peterborough are stumbling in their quest for automatic promotion. They’re in second, three points behind leaders Hull, but just two ahead of third-placed Sunderland, who have a game in hand.
Darren Ferguson’s side has slumped to just one win in their last six. In this run, they’ve conceded 11 goals only Rochdale and today’s visitors Accrington (13) have let in more, so attacks could well come out on top.
That hasn’t been helped by Posh conceding three goals in three of their last four games. On Tuesday, they fell to a 3-1 defeat at Blackpool, while last weekend, they surrendered a two-goal lead, only to leave Rochdale with a point after a stoppage-time penalty.
Accrington make the trip east slightly fresher after having a clear week giving Jon Coleman plenty of time to work on the training pitch ahead of this one.
They’ve only won two of their last nine and they were both at home against sides threatened by relegation, so their fortunes need to change to keep alive those slim play-off hopes – they’re just three points off that final spot.
As I’ve stated above, these sides have conceded plenty lately, so I’m expecting an entertaining affair at London Road.
The Posh sit second in the expected goals table based on home form (1.64xG), with Stanley doing just as well with 1.49xG, which sees them ranked fourth based solely on their away matches.
Coleman’s men may only have won six times on their travels, but they’ve scored one more goal on the road (25) than they have at home (24), despite playing a game more on home turf.
Accrington have bagged in 14 of 17 away games – nine seeing BTTS, while 10 of those 17 have gone over 2.5 goals. And, they’ve got a recent tendency to fall behind early on.
Against Wigan last weekend, they fell behind in the opening minute, while in their last two away games, they’ve conceded in the first 15 minutes. So, that could be an angle of interest.
Boosting confidence in goals is the fact that this game pitches two of the more prolific scorers in the division against one another. Jonson Clarke-Harris (22) is one behind Charlie Wyke in the race for the Golden Boot, while Accrington’s Dion Charles is joint-third with 17.
With plenty of quality in front of goal, there are several creative forces. Joe Ward and Siriki Dembélé both have 10 assists apiece, with Stanley’s Joe Pritchard on six.
Players on either side aren’t afraid to shoot either. Accrington rank second for shots (475), while their hosts top the shots on target metric.
I’ll add in the point that 71% (12) of Peterborough’s home games have gone over 2.5 goals as well.
It’s a game where we’ve got potent attacks and crumbly defences, so it just points to goals.
Over 2.5 goals has already seen money, therefore I’ll take both teams to score and over 2.5 goals given the strong stats. It’s priced attractively at 6/5 on William Hill.
Grimsby vs Walsall | Saturday 27th March 2021, 15:00
Grimsby prop up the league pyramid, sitting at the bottom of the League 2 table and are in desperate need of points to beat the drop.
Paul Hurst returned to Blundell Park in January to try and turn their fortunes around. But he’s managed just two wins in 14, although there have been positive signs in recent weeks.
Despite the crazy nature of the schedule, the games coming thick and fast has seemed to help the Mariners, who are unbeaten in five (W1, D4), managing to keep three clean sheets in their last four.
That’s room for optimism despite being seven points adrift at the foot of the table, and welcoming Walsall to their patch could help them to reduce that gap.
The visitors have a safety net but are on the verge of becoming embroiled in a bit of a battle. Darrell Clarke jumped ship to take the helm at Port Vale, leaving Brian Dutton in charge.
It’s been a tough start to his first managerial gig. The Saddlers are winless in the 11 games under him (D5, L6) and have only bagged six goals in that time.
Dutton saw his side held to a draw against 10-man Southend in midweek and he labelled the performance as “brain-dead football”, adding “all brawn, no brains.”
That’s unlikely to win many of the hierarchy over and neither those in the dressing room, especially when confidence is at a low ebb.
Despite Southend having a man sent off, Walsall still managed to pick up the most booking points, so that’s the angle I’m going to explore here.
Both of these sides rank high for fouls committed. According to fbref.com, Grimsby sit top (540) and Walsall second (497). Plus, both rank in the top 10 for yellow cards, so referee Samuel Barrott is likely to be heavily involved.
Looking at Walsall, they’ve picked up 20+ booking points 22 times in all league games with that landing in nine of 11 under Dutton, including a couple of reds on the road.
Now we’re at the business end of the season, referees are becoming a bit more involved. Barrott had a steady start, but he’s upped the ante in recent games.
He’s shown 70 yellows and four reds in 25 games in all comps this season. While he’s dished out at least 40 booking points in seven of his last nine, with three of his last four ending with 60 booking points (or six yellows).
In 18 of his games, he’s showed at least two cards – half of them seeing the away side collect 20+ booking points as well, although he hasn’t been afraid to show plenty to players of the hosts – a lack of home fans maybe?
But back to this, Barrott oversaw Walsall’s 1-0 home win over Crawley in November, booking Mat Sadler and Rory Holden, so that’s a bit of form in the book in that sense.
The Saddlers picked up 50 booking points in midweek, getting their first two cautions inside 36 minutes, which is encouraging for this punt.
I couldn’t put you off 40+ booking points at 11/10 given the refs recent record and these two ranking high for fouls, but I’ll take the visitors to pick up 20+ booking points at a shade of odds-on.
Leyton Orient vs Oldham | Saturday 27th March 2021, 15:00
We head from Grimsby to the capital, where Leyton Orient welcome Oldham to The Breyer Group Stadium – or for traditionalists Brisbane Road.
Consecutive 1-0 away wins have given Orient a slight sniff of the play-offs and with a few struggling sides to play, starting here, who knows if the O’s could build up a head of steam.
Oldham beat Exeter in midweek for their first time after Keith Curle replaced Harry Kewell. After the 57-year-old has come in, Athletic have a record of W1, D3, L1 – playing out two goalless draws on the road.
This season, the Latics have one of the better away records in League 2, only losing four times (W7, D7), so they could prove a tough nut to crack.
While the previously previewed League 2 game sees two sides who rank high in the foul charts, these two tend to collect the cards.
No side has picked up more than Orient’s tally of 73 yellows, while Oldham have the fourth-most with 63. So, with that in mind, it’s worth exploring a few ways into this one.
There was some initial appeal in the #YourOdds quotes with William Hill for each team over one card at 2/1 but Oldham’s record of picking up two cards in away games (12/18) was slightly off-putting.
So, let’s take another route. Using the Build #YourOdds feature, you can get even-money for over 1.5 Orient cards and over 0.5 Oldham cards.
The hosts have picked up two cards in 14 of their 17 home games (82%), while the Latics have had at least one card in 15 of 18 away games (83%). On the data, those figures look pretty solid. And it’s worth noting Orient picked up two cards in the reverse fixture.
There’ll be one man wanting to avoid the spotlight in this one. That’s referee Darren Drysdale, who returns from suspension after that incident with Ipswich’s Alan Judge.
He’s shown at least three cards in half of his 20 games this term. Narrowing it down to more recent games, he’s shown a minimum of three in eight of 10 – one in which he didn’t was an EFL Trophy game.
In his six appearances in League 2, he’s averaging nearly 26 fouls, so that should give him plenty of chance to show a card or two. Although, I’m sure he’ll want to keep a low profile.
The stats point towards cards, so while the 2/1 #YourOdds will appeal to some, the safer route is to take this even-money shot.
Peterborough vs Accrington – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals (6/5 William Hill)
Grimsby vs Walsall – Walsall 20+ Booking Points (10/11 Sky Bet)
Leyton Orient vs Oldham – Leyton Orient Over 1.5 Cards and Oldham Over 0.5 Cards (1/1 William Hill)