WE’VE a full coupon of Football League action to enjoy this weekend and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) has it covered with four recommended bets.
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday | Saturday 15.00
Apologies to regular readers but the same record is about to be played. Nottingham Forest’s FA Cup exit at the hands of League One Rochdale last weekend made it seven games without a win and was their fourth defeat in that run.
Boss Stuart Pearce admitted after the game that he’s under pressure and his name has probably given him a little leeway to make up for the mess the Tricky Trees find themselves in. it’s just two victories in 17 matches with both coming against sides (Norwich and Wolves) who were in their own miserable run at the time of play.
Despite their investment over the summer, I’ve said since July that I’m happy to oppose Forest in anyway possible because I didn’t feel Pearce had the attributes to bring the former European champions anywhere close to their previous glories. His side have looked horrendously unorganised defensively and in recent weeks, bereft of ideas going forward.
This weekend they take on a Sheffield Wednesday side that continue to upset the odds in the Championship when playing away from Hillsborough. The Owls have only lost six of their 24 league fixtures this term with only two defeats being suffered in 12 games on the road. A remarkable effort for a team considered to be bottom-half dwellers in 2014/15.
Wednesday have already won at Blackburn and Middlesbrough and collected a point from their trip to Brentford so a visit to underperforming Forest shouldn’t phase the Owls. Stuart Gray’s side have won four of their last six in league action and kept a stunning 11 clean sheets already this campaign.
I can’t see how Forest will have the answers to unlock this Wednesday side and just can’t envisage a home win. Pearce’s charges have been given a best price of 6/5 and that looks way off, to me. It’s just one win in eight at the City Ground and with Birmingham, Leeds and Charlton all comfortably escaping without defeat in the previous three games, I’ve just got to oppose Forest.
Back Wednesday +0.50 in the Asian Handicap market at 13/16 with BetVictor – we’ll get paid out if the Owls avoid defeat on Saturday.
Barnsley v Yeovil Town | Saturday 15.00
The big question surrounding Yeovil last weekend was, ‘did they have it in them to raise their game for the visit of Manchester United?’ Of course they did and a spirited and tenacious effort could easily have been rewarded with a replay on another day. No doubt that performance will have fired up Gary Johnson and his Glovers side are a level above what they’ve shown in League One this season.
But most their toils have been found in front of their home supporters. When playing away, the rock bottom side have produced a few jaw-dropping results. A 4-0 win at Oldham, 2-1 wins at Notts County and Walsall and a 3-1 victory at Bradford shows what they’re capable of.
Much has been made of their feeble record in front of goal but it may surprise you to know they’ve actually netted in all bar four of their 11 road trips in league action. In their last away day they notched in a 2-1 defeat to Bristol City and deserved plenty of plaudits for the way they went about their business.
What I’m getting at is, Yeovil’s games are normally goal-heavy when they’re playing away. Seven of their previous 10 on the road have resulted in Over 2.5 Goals winners with six also producing winners in the Both Teams To Score column. It leads me nicely onto backing Bet365’s Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score market at 5/4 this weekend.
Because Barnsley, as we’ve mentioned a few times this season, are just as goal-hungry. Eight of their previous 10 at Oakwell have seen three goals or more with six of those 10 also banking for Over 3.5 Goals punters. They’ve kept just the one clean sheet on home soil and seen eight of their 11 league outings at Oakwell feature winning Both Teams To Score bet. I’ll trust them to produce another repeat on Saturday.
Sheffield United v Preston North End | Saturday 15.00
Bit of a bonus bet here and just a little dabble for interest. It’s the game of the weekend in League One and I’m breaking one of my football betting rules to have an interest – I’m backing a correct score! Come on, hear me out…
Despite their cup heroics, Sheffield United have found the going tough in League One. Some supporters have suggested they’d be better equipped for Premier League survival than League One promotion and there’s many thoeries doing the rounds about why they’re struggling to take the third tier by storm.
It’s one league win in eight since October and I’ve a feeling their clash with Preston has got draw written all over it. Firstly, the Blades have drawn four of their last six matches and secondly, Preston are so difficult to beat under Simon Grayson.
The Lilywhites have lost four of their 23 games with three of those coming in fortnight spell in November. They’re without Joe Garner through injury and may not have necessary firepower to get all three points. I reckon both managers would be more than pleased with a point.
With both sides proving big winners in the Under 2.5 Goals column and a draw on the cards, we’re likely to be looking at either a 0-0 or a 1-1. Between them, they’ve recorded 10 1-1 draws from their 12 stalemates this season and scored in 40 of 45 league matches, it would be rude not to have a small play on the 6/1 offering from BetVictor on a 1-1 correct score.
Burton Albion v Mansfield Town | Saturday 15.00
I have to say, I never expected Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s appointment at Burton to be a success. But early signs seem to suggest the former Chelsea and Leeds striker is more than capable of carrying on the good work from his predecessor Gary Rowett at the Pirelli Stadium.
Burton toppled Shrewsbury last weekend on home soil to make it 13 points from a possible 15 on home soil and without a goal against in their last four in front of their supporters. The Brewers are just a point off the summit and looked primed for a serious tilt at automatic promotion.
So you won’t be surprised to hear I’m getting all hot and bothered about BetVictor’s 9/10 on a home win for the visit of Mansfield. The hosts have recorded three points in nine of their 12 league fixtures at the Pirelli this season with only four sides even registering a goal.
What’s more, the Brewers have an exceedingly good record when playing the division’s strugglers. Burton have won 11 of their last 12 when entertaining bottom-six sides and Mansfield fit that category nicely this weekend.
The Stages have lost five of their last six at top-six teams with three of those defeats by a margin of two or more goals. And the visitors have managed a paltry 18 goals from 23 matches in 2014/15, failing to score in seven of their 12 road games.
Paul Cox was dismissed and replaced by Adam Murray but the new man in charge has failed to get the bounce he was probably hoping for. Having beaten Plymouth, the Stags have since collected just five points from 15, failed to see off rock bottom Hartlepool and were well beaten at high-flying Luton and Bury. It all points to a home win.
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesady – Sheffield Wednesday +0.50 Asian Handicap (13/16 BetVictor)
Barnsley v Yeovil Town – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (5/4 Bet365)
Sheffield United v Preston North End – 1-1 correct score (6/1 BetVictor)
Burton Albion v Mansfield Town – Burton Albion to win (9/10 BetVictor)