Football League Betting Preview & Tips: Trotters to trample Vale


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

QPR vs Huddersfield | Saturday 13th March 2021, 15:00

It's not often I venture into the Championship for a bet this season, but Queens Park Rangers have been transformed since the return of Charlie Austin. Since his return they have W8-D1-L2 with a win rate of 67%. Before he returned to the club it was W4-D10-L10 a win rate of just 17%

At home, its W4-L0-L2 – with defeats to Derby and in form Barnsley. Both of these games they were a little unlucky to lose in my view. Rangers won the xG 1.5 vs 1.04, the shot count 13 vs 6. The Barnsley game they again won the xG 1.69 vs 1.39.

Austin is averaging a goal every other game and has an xG of 0.5 – if maintained over a season he would be on course for 20+ goals. Having a goal scorer at any level is key to success.

Looking over the last few games its obvious QPR are playing well. I have them 4th on expected points over the last 4 games, 7th over 8 games and 4th over 12 games. Over the last 12 games which coincides with Austin return – QPR have the 5th highest points accumulated – only Norwich, Watford and Swansea have more. Over this period Huddersfield have just 7 points, with no side collecting fewer points.

Again over 12 games I have QPR 4th for xG and 4th for shots in the box whereas I have Huddersfield with the 3rd highest xGA with 1.45, conceding an average of 1.58.

Huddersfield stunned Swansea last month winning 4-1, but their away form as been poor all season with W2-D4-L11 – Oddly, one of their away wins was at Swansea and then Millwall, both games were back in October and since the Millwall game they have a record of W0-D3-L9 – draws at Wycombe 0-0 (24th), Coventry 0-0 (20th) and Luton 1-1 (16th) – Worth noting that Luton managed a xG of 2,81 that day.

Away from home the Terriers have only managed a xG higher than 1.0 on 7 of 17 games and against the top half they average a xGA of 1.76, which includes Millwall managing just 0.59, rising to 1.9 without them. They average 12 shots conceded and 6 SOT per away game when visiting top half sides.

Over the course of the season my rankings have Huddersfield as the 20th best away side and total away expected points also has them at 20th position with PPG at 23rd. Their form hasn’t really improved at all over the season.

The Hoops are 12 points outside the play offs with a game in hand, but with their next 3 home games after Huddersfield are against Millwall, Coventry and Sheff Wed there might be hope for them.

I like to always edge on the side of caution, and I am happy to take QPR on the -0.25 Asian Handicap and at 4/5 with Redzone I am happy to jump on board.

Lincoln vs Rochdale | Saturday 13th March 2021, 15:00

I watched the match vs Ipswich midweek and Lincoln looked good. They are strong, fit and well organised. Imps boss Michael Appleton was left ‘frustrated and disappointed' after the 1-1 draw and he felt they should have won the match even after conceding given the amount of changes they created. T

here is no doubt that they are having a bit of wobble at the moment with just 2 wins from 8 but generally their form has been good at home.  At home, its W8-D3-L6 but their record when welcoming sides outside the top-six is W8-D2-L3.

Over the season I have them as the 9th best home side, expected points has them 3rd and PPG has them 12th, so it’s a little hard to judge just how good they are at home.  However, despite the wobble expected points has them 5th from the last 4 games, 6th over the last 8 games and 2nd over the last 12 games. They just need to turn these good performances into wins.

They have scored in the last 7 games since a 0-0 draw at Hull, yet they have only kept 1 clean sheet. What they really need is a game against a side that hasn’t scored in their last 7 games and just 1 goal in their last 9 (which was in a 4-1 defeat at home to MK Dons.) step forward Rochdale.

Over the last 12 games, the Imps are 2nd only to Posh in terms of xG, only 2 sides have scored more goals over the same period. Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue.

Over the season they are 3rd for home xG, 6th for goals scored and 8th for shots in the box. At the other end 6th for xGA with just 0.9, 12th for goals conceded with 1.24, 13th for shots and SOT and 4th for shots in the box conceded. They appear to have the credentials to beat a poor Rochdale side.

Rochdale are the entertainers of League One with their 34 games so far featuring 104 goals. Unfortunately for them, 63 of them have been conceded at almost an average of two per games. I have them as the 16th worst away side in the division, but expected points has them 13th and PPG 17th, so it's not as bad over the course of the season as you would think.

However, their recent form is alarming. Over the last 12 games I have them 21st and over 8 games 20th. They have been in this poor run of form for some time.

Over the last 12 games they are conceding 8.08 shots in the box, conceded 10.8 shots and 4.66 shots on target. However, away from home they are much tighten defensively, and I don’t think this will be a high scoring game.

This season they have only managed to avoid defeat in 52% of games, winning just 6 all season. Vs top half home and away its W0-D4-L12. In these 16 games they have failed to score in 9 games (5 of 9 away) and conceded 1.5+ in 13. Against the top half away they have conceded 1.5+ in 7 of 9.

Lincoln win and Over 1.5 Goals is a little skinny at 4/5 but we can add some Lincoln corners on to boost the price. Lincoln got 5 in the return fixture and at home this season average 5.44 and have managed to hit 3 or more corners in 14 of 16 home games this season – Crewe (1 corner) and Charlton (2) the only two sides not to give up 3+. Rochdale concede 6.18 and have conceded 3+ in 17 of 17 away games.

Lincoln to win win, Lincoln Over 1 Goal and Lincoln Over 2 Corners (19/20 Bet365) is the play.

Port Vale vs Bolton | Saturday 13th March 2021, 15:00

Bolton have finally discovered the form and consistency that many of us expected at the start of the season. Since the turn of the year the Trotters have W8-D4-L2 – with both defeats coming in January – Crawley at home and Tranmere away.

The game to Crawley there were very unlucky to lose, winning the xG 2.72 vs 1.36, the shot count 24 vs 12, whilst the Tranmere game they again won the xG 1.12 vs 1.51 and won the shot count 11 vs 10.

Over this period Bolton have picked up the 2nd most points in the division behind Tranmere, have the 2nd highest goal difference, in comparison Port Vale have a record of W2-D5-L7, scoring 14 and conceding 20, sitting 19th.

The last 10 games for Wanderers have seen them remain undefeated whilst beating league leaders Cambridge, drawing with inform Bradford and Morecambe. Over this 10-game period they have kept 6 CS and scored 1.5+ in 50%.

Given their upturn in form it’s a little pointless looking at the season wide metrics, but to focus on more recent underlying performances. If we look at the last 4, 8 and 12 games I have Bolton top of the expected points table. Over 12 games they sit 2nd for xG with 1.57 per match, 19th for xGA with just 0.89. 2nd for shots in the box with an average of 8.33 and 11th for shots in the box against.

Even across the season I have Bolton with the 3rd lowest SOT conceded in away games and the 4th highest away goals scored.

Tuesday night's win was probably the best result and performance of the season. Boss Ian Evatt labelled it “breathtaking” with it arguably the best they have played during his time in charge, a late wobble aside.

Vale have a home record of W5-D5-L7 and are in the middle of an awful run of form that sees them picking up just 16 points from the last 72 available. The 3 games that they have won over those 24 games have been Grimsby (24th) Southend (23rd) and a 6-3 win at Bolton back in December. Vale managed to hit six with an xG of 3.37 and 8 shots in target – Bolton had 24 shots and 6 SOT.

Over the course of the season Vale have been pretty average at home – 8th for xG and 14th for goals scored with 1.24. 18th for xGA with 1.19 and 13th for goals conceded with 1.1. However, 22nd for SOT taken and 21st for shots in the box against.

Their recent home record in poor – if you take out the home wins over Grimsby and Southend, they next home win was back in October over Cheltenham. Since that game, their record is W2-D4-L6 – even the draws have been to the poor sides, Colchester (20th) Stevenage (15th) Oldham (17th) although the 1-1 draw at home to Forest Green (3rd) was a decent result their goal was an own goal.

They have failed to score in 7 occasions and keeping 6 clean sheets, although 3 of these were in their 4 opening home games. With games still to come against Colchester, Grimsby and Barrow, Vale still have enough games that they can win to see them to safety. They sit 6 points ahead of Barrow and Southend and may see a better chance to pick up points elsewhere than against inform Bolton.

Given that Vale do have a few key players coming back from injury I am going to play it safe here and take Bolton on -0.25AH, which means that if it is a draw, we will get 50% of our stake back. Any win for the visitors and we get paid out in full.

Bolton -0.25 Asian Handicap (17/20 Gentingbet) is my bet.

Best Bets

QPR vs Huddersfield – QPR -0.25 Asian Handicap (4/5 Red Zone)

Lincoln vs Rochdale – Lincoln win, Lincoln Over 1 Goal and Lincoln Over 2 Corners (19/20 Bet365)

Port Vale vs Bolton – Bolton -0.25 Asian Handicap (17/20 Gentingbet)

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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