FOOTBALL LEAGUE analyst Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) returns with his best bets from Tuesday night's EFL action.
Hull v Norwich | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke played down his side's title hopes despite claiming a sixth successive Championship success on Saturday with a clinical performance at Swansea. The Canaries took advantage of a defensive horror show in the first-half to race into a 3-0 lead inside 37 minutes.
The league leaders’ never looked in doubt thereafter to keep their two-point advantage at the top intact. Farke admitted he was keen to embrace their status as Championship front-runners but was quick to dismiss the suggestion that City were now the second-tier favourites for title honours.
Norwich now head to Humberside in search of a seventh league win on the spin and the visitors hold plenty of appeal at 6/5 (BetVictor). Since September’s international break, the Canaries have claimed W10-D1-L1 and generated a superb 64% Expected Goals ratio, scoring 17 in their most recent five league fixtures.
Only Sheffield Wednesday and Derby have posted xG figures above 1.20 against City in that 12-game sample and the guests W5-D1-L0 recent road record proves they’re well capable of picking up maximum points on their travels. What’s more, Norwich have W6-D1-L0 when taking on teams in 15th and below.
We successfully opposed Hull at home to Nottingham Forest last weekend as two goals in the space of three minutes proved decisive for a dominant Tricky Trees outfit at the KCOM. Dutch defender Jordy de Wijs – at fault against Birmingham before the international break – was again responsible for the goals conceded.
The Tigers have found goals hard to come by in front of their home supporters this season, scoring just seven in nine matches, and they showed few signs of improving that record against Forest. Nigel Adkins’ outfit rarely tested their visitors and will now be without leading goalscorer Frazier Campbell here.
Hull have now notched only four goals in their last 11 Championship games from open play – a sequence of 16-and-a-half hours – and scored five (31%) of their paltry 16 goal-tally via penalties or attempts from outside the penalty box.
Meanwhile, three of their four triumphs have come against bottom-six rivals. The hosts have claimed only six (27%) successes in 22 KCOM outings under Adkins, and have been beaten on the xG metric in nine of their last 11 second-tier matches, making them easily opposable again this midweek.
Luton v Bradford | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 19:45
Luton took advantage of a weary Gillingham side on Saturday to seal an impressive 3-1 triumph at the Priestfield Stadium. The Gills were taken to extra-time in the FA Cup on Wednesday night at Hartlepool and appeared heavy-legged for the majority of their match against League One’s form side.
The Hatters moved up to fourth with their seventh triumph in nine, Andrew Shinnie opening the scoring midway through the first-half before Elliott Lee’s double after the interval confirmed the result for the Bedfordshire boys.
Town faced a sole effort on-target before Gillingham bagged a late consolation and boss Nathan Jones reckons improvements can still be made if Luton have serious aspirations of back-to-back promotions. The Hatters head coach suggested his team could be braver in possession when in the final-third.
That’s a warning to their League One rivals as Luton have now scored at least twice in nine of their previous 10 tussles, notching a total of 25 goals in that sample. And now the Hatters have main marksman Danny Hylton available again on Tuesday night following a four-game suspension.
Remarkably, Town have generated at least 1.50 Expected Goals in 15 of their most recent 17 league outings, whilst their Kenilworth Road form is just as eye-catching as the Hatters remain unbeaten (W7-D2-L0) in Bedfordshire having beaten all seven opponents from outside the top-six.
Jones’ men have scored 20 goals in those seven home meetings with clubs from outside the top-six, averaging over two xG per-game. Meanwhile, the hosts rank second in shot and shots on-target ratio, as well as featuring in the top-six for shots in the box ratio, xG ratio and xG from open play ratio.
Visitors Bradford picked up only their second league win since August when overcoming Oxford 2-0 at Valley Parade last weekend. Manager David Hopkin paid tribute to his two new signings Karl Henry and Paul Caddis for their contribution in front of a bumper crowd following the club’s £1 a ticket promo.
Two goals in three minutes through David Ball and Jack Payne midway through the first-half enabled League One's bottom club to clinch maximum points, although a late red card for defender Nat Knight-Percival means the Bantams will be without one of their key backline performers on Tuesday night.
With four-goal defender Anthony O'Connor also ruled out through suspension, and Caddis and Henry both unlikely to be conditioned for two 90-minute performances in the space of four days, Hopkin has a number of selection concerns to iron out before taking on Town.
There’s no doubt Bradford have improved and have produced competitive efforts in each of their last three outings, but I’m not confident in their prospects of keeping a rampant Luton team quiet. The guests have lost 13 of 16 games against teams in 19th and above, shipping an average of two goals per-game.
With a home victory, a win and Over 1.5 Goals, plus the Asian Handicaps too short to support, take the odds-against offering of 21/20 (Sportingbet) on the Hatters to be ahead at half-time and full-time.
Newport v Northampton | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 19:45
Newport boss Michael Flynn admitted he picked the wrong team after seeing his side struggle to match Cheltenham in their 2-1 reverse on Saturday. Injury-hit County were outplayed at Whaddon Road in the first-half before Andrew Crofts and Mark O’Brien replaced the ineffective Charlie Cooper and Cameron Pring.
Flynn moved the Welsh side to a more solid back-three and Newport’s performance improved immeasurably thereafter as they came close to pinching a point late on. Captain Mickey Demetriou missed a penalty five minutes from time before Antoine Semenyo’s goal brought hope for an unlikely comeback.
The Exiles were two goals behind due to two sloppy pieces of play. First, Fraser Franks failed to clear a cross that allowed Cheltenham to capitalise for the opening goal. And then, goalkeeper Joe Day let a shot bounce off his chest to gift the Robins the opportunity to double their advantage, which they duly obliged.
Crofts had not been fit enough to start but impressed in the heart of midfield in the second-half and he should be included in Tuesday night’s team with County struggling for numbers in the middle of the park due to the absence of Joss Labadie, Scot Bennett, Robbie Willmott and Keanu Marsh-Brown.
Flynn hopes to have a few more players available for the midweek match, which he insists holds significantly more importance than their weekend encounter with national rivals Wrexham in the FA Cup. Newport come into the clash outside of the automatic promotion League Two places on goal difference.
Northampton head to Rodney Parade on the back of a few home truths from manager Keith Curle. The Cobblers boss suggested some players could leave the club when the January transfer window opens if they are unable to ‘adjust’ to his demands in the wake of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to struggling Grimsby.
Town failed to make the most of their first-half supremacy, and Curle was critical of his side’s efforts, pinpointing ‘poor decision-making’ and ‘below-par tactical awareness’ during a thoroughly disappointing second-half performance. Cutting a frustrated figure, the Northampton number one let rip post-match.
Curle has now presided over nine League Two outings and had almost two months to assess his squad, playing a variety of formations and making regular changes between matches during that time. He’s made a largely positive impact at Sixfields but has been irked by the re-emergence of Town’s defensive frailties.
Having conceded four goals in his first six league games, the Cobblers have now shipped at least two goals in their last three outings when including their FA Cup contest with Lincoln. In all three fixtures Town conceded at least four shots on-target.
However, with in-form Andy Williams leading the line alongside Kevin Van Veen, plus Sam Hoskins, Sam Foley and John-Joe O’Toole in situ, Northampton will always pose a threat going forward and that’s why Both Teams To Score appeals at 5/6 (10BET) here.
The visitors have scored in seven of their nine encounters under Curle, only firing blanks in his first fixture in charge against Bury, and at high-flying MK Dons. Meanwhile, Newport are averaging 1.89 goals per-game as hosts – failing to score once in nine – and delivering BTTS winners in nine of their last 10.
Under Flynn’s watch, the Exiles have scored in 33/38 (87%) Rodney Park contests in League Two with a very healthy 24/38 (63%) paying-out in the Both Teams To Score market, suggesting the 5/6 available is a great value selection.
Hull v Norwich – Norwich to win (6/5 BetVictor)
Luton v Bradford – Luton/Luton (21/20 Sportingbet)
Newport v Northampton – Both Teams To Score (5/6 10BET)