Football League Betting Preview & Tips: Goals forecast for St Andrew’s


CHAMPIONSHIP fan Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95oversees Tuesday night's EFL action, picking out his best bets. 

Coventry v Swansea | Tuesday 20th October 2020, 19:45  |  Sky Sports

Swansea’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end on Saturday when they went down 2-1 at home to Huddersfield.

It was a game where they had plenty of chances but were kept at bay by some fine saves from Ben Hamer, and it’ll have given plenty for gaffer Steve Cooper to reflect on.

The Swans rank highly for shots this season (12.4) with 4.4 of them hitting the target. Plus, they’ve scored in four of five games – the one they didn’t (v Birmingham) saw them shade the Expected Goals (xG) 0.61 to the Blues 0.45.

On the road, the Welsh club have won both matches without conceding, but both have been against two struggling sides in Preston and Wycombe. Those games also saw Joe Rodon and Morgan Gibbs-White feature for Swansea.

However, Cooper will be without both. Rodon has left for pastures new with is deadline day move to Spurs, while Gibbs-White is out for a few months with a foot injury.

That could give Coventry some hope given here at St Andrew’s. So far, the two Sky Blues’ home games have been quite entertaining with nine goals scored, and given the open, attacking nature of both sides, that trend could continue.

Mark Robins’ side have lost their last two and conceded five in the process against two of the fancied sides this season – Brentford and Bournemouth.

Both of those sides created a high volume of chances against this Coventry side, and defensively they will need to improve if they want a fighting chance to stay up.

It’s 8.09xGA (Expected Goals Against) for Coventry this season, so they will need to tighten up, but with that in mind, it has to be a goals bet in this game for me.

Even though they lost 2-0 at Brentford on Saturday, Coventry recorded 1.10xGF and saw Matt Godden hit the bar after the Bees failed to deal with a corner.

Godden is 11/4 to net anytime and given the defensive reshuffle the visitors face, and he’ll be on spot-kick duty that could look a big price. He’s netted three in five this season, plus he bagged 14 in 26 for the Sky Blues in their promotion campaign.

Robins’ side will have the freedom to express themselves, and that does see them playing some eye-catching football. With a poacher like Godden in the box, they could pose this Swansea side some problems, but defensively there will be chances for the Welsh side.

Both teams to score has copped in both of Coventry’s home games, in fact, it’s landed in the first half of each of those games so it could be a fast start at St Andrew’s. It’s just a shade under EVS for both sides finding the net, so that looks worth lapping up.

Huddersfield v Derby | Tuesday 20th October 2020, 19:45  |  Sky Sports

Phillip Cocu takes his Derby side to Huddersfield as they search for their second league win of the season, but they come up against a Terriers side who are unbeaten in their last three.

The Rams’ only win came at Norwich from a Wayne Rooney free-kick in a game where they were outshot 13-9, with the Canaries having more efforts on target (5-3). That resulted in the hosts that day also winning the Expected Goals (xG) battle 1.94 to 0.68.

And so far this season, the xG numbers don’t look too promising for Derby, who have 4.28xGF and 8.18xGA. That Expected Goals Against (xGA) figure is the fourth-worst in the league, so there’s plenty for the Rams to work on at both ends.

In four of five league games, Derby have lost the xG battle. Ironically, they won that against Watford on Friday night, creating 0.80xG to the Hornets’ 0.47xG, yet still lost 1-0. Plus, it took 74 minutes for the first shot on target in that game, and despite nine shots, the Rams had just one testing Ben Foster.

Off the pitch, I’ve been baffled by some of the transfer activity from Cocu’s side. They look light on the necessary goalscorers at this level. Allowing Chris Martin go to Bristol City on a free and sending Jack Marriot out to Sheffield Wednesday on loan, on deadline day, doesn’t make much sense, especially with their replacements.

They’ve brought in Colin Kazim-Richards, then two wide forwards in Kamil Jozwiak and Jordan Ibe, but that doesn’t scream excitement for the Pride Park faithful.

Five games in and they’ve scored just two league goals with nine shipped. Only Wycombe have netted fewer, and Wanderers were unlucky not to have had a second on Saturday!

Off the pitch, it’s been revealed Rooney came into contact with some who has tested positive for Covid-19 before Friday night’s defeat against Watford, so that could impact on the squad with any isolation requirements.

Huddersfield made a bold appointment pre-season by naming Carlos Corberán as their manager. After a slow start, they’ve slowly got to grips with his methods and philosophy to pick up seven points from their last three games.

Saturday’s win at Swansea was one where they took their chances and defended grittily, with Ben Hamer proving his worth in between the sticks.

They took the lead with a well-worked corner routine before Andre Ayew equalised from the spot. The Terriers started the second half brightly with Isaac Mbenza struck the post and first goalscorer Harry Toffolo missed a glorious chance.

Josh Koroma turned out to be the match-winner when his strike from the edge of the box gave the Yorkshire side all three points allowing Corberán to praise his team for their mentality and confidence to break the Swansea press.

Before Saturday’s win, Huddersfield had earned a late point at Rotherham, a game where they won the xG 0.98 to 0.20, showing they can limit sides.

Their last home game saw them beat Nottingham Forest 1-0. Frazier Campbell’s goal enough to earn them the points in a game they dominated, recording a 2.91xGF and limited Forest to just 0.87xGF.

Even that scoreline could have been more convincing with the Terriers fluffing their lines on several chances, while Forest keeper Brice Samba made a few fine saves to deny them extending their lead.

Neither of these two sides are the most frequent of scorers, so while I couldn’t put any off backing Huddersfield to win and Under 4.5 Goals (15/8 Sky Bet), I’m willing to take this Build #YourOdds with William Hill.

Between them, they’ve only scored six goals in 10 games, Huddersfield are unbeaten in three and this looks like a perfect game to extend that run, while five of Derby’s eight cards this season have come after the break.

Oxford v MK Dons | Tuesday 20th October 2020, 19:00  

I’ll drop down into League One for the final bet in a game between two sides at the wrong end of the table.

Last season’s play-off finalists Oxford find themselves at the foot of the table after five games, which has seen them record just one win – 4-1 at Accrington.

Despite the results, Karl Robinson’s side have put in some good numbers. In terms of xG, they’ve won three of the five matches, creating 7.11xGF and conceding 6.86xGA.

With metrics like that, it would suggest they’ve been unlucky in a few games and throughout the season, you’d imagine they’ll be able to put things right and get out of their current situation. It definitely shouldn’t be panic stations just yet.

It’s a similar story for MK Dons, who recorded their first league win against Gillingham on Saturday. And despite just one victory, the data is similarly impressive.

They’ve won four of their six xG battles with 8.33xGF and 5.94xGA. Given that the Dons have scored six goals and conceded eight would say they’ve not been clinical enough in games despite creating good chances, whereas their opponents have been ruthless.

Signing Cameron Jerome should aid their goalscoring threat, and the former Birmingham and Stoke striker netted his first for the club in Saturday’s win.

Russell Martin is a young manager going places. His philosophy is quite obvious when you see that his side are averaging around 62% possession and have a passing accuracy of nearly 85% in games this season.

This style of football will see mistakes made, but it’s about putting those behind you, learning from them and becoming stronger. And this one will be an interesting tussle with Oxford sitting third for possession in the league at 54% as well.

I’m dipping into the corners market here given some incredible numbers from the visitors. In six league games, they’ve taken 50 corners, an average of 8.3 per game.

Break that down further; they’ve had 32 in three away matches, just shy of 11 per game. In five of six games the Dons have racked up 5+ corners, while in all six, they’ve taken the most.

With the way that Martin sets this side up in a 3-5-2 with plenty of width and wing-backs bombing forward should mean another opportunity to rack up some corners.

There are a few markets you could argue are worth a play. Sky Bet have a range of them priced up, and I was surprised to see Oxford at 1/2 in the most corners market. On the numbers, the 9/4 on MK Dons in that market could be worth a tickle.

But it’s the MK Dons lines I’m willing to take. 5+ at 5/4 is the main one for me, but I couldn’t put anyone off the higher lines at fancier prices. The three Dons away games have seen 11, 8 & 13 corners respectively, so 8+ at 7/1 is worth a small punt too.

I have to say given they’ve hit double figures in two of their three away games could see the 10+ (25/1) and 11+ (40/1) look very big in a game where there should be plenty of goalmouth action at both ends.

Best Bets

Coventry v Swansea – Both Teams To Score (9/10 Vbet)

Coventry v Swansea – Matt Godden to score anytime (11/4 Betfair)

Huddersfield v Derby – Huddersfield Double Chance, Under 3.5 Goals and Over 0.5 Second-Half Derby Cards (23/20 William Hill)

Oxford v MK Dons – MK Dons 5+ corners (5/4 Sky Bet)

Oxford v MK Dons – MK Dons 8+ corners (7/1 Sky Bet)

About Author

Matt is a graduate in sports journalism and is currently plying his trade as a content editor for a major betting company. He was bitten by the betting bug when backing horses and continues to do so. His main sporting interests are football, horse racing and darts. Matt is a Stoke season ticket holder and enjoys going to gigs.

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