CAN Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) continue his excellent Football League form this weekend? Here his favourite three bets from Saturday’s 3pm card.
Charlton v Rotherham | Saturday 15.00
It’s nearly a month since I last featured Charlton in any Football League piece but as Anglo-Irish electronica-pop group Moloko put it perfectly in 2000, The Time Is Now to get back involved with the Addicks.
I’ve mentioned before, the layers often underrate Charlton and they are again on Saturday with Favourit offering 2.00 on the Londoners getting the job done against rock bottom Rotherham. It almost looks a little too obvious, too good a bet, or a trap, but I’ve spent some time looking at the game and I see no reason to get stuck in at the even-money quotes.
No matter what Charlton fans will tell you, they’re an unfashionable club, which often deters punters from piling in. There’s also the small matter of their less than flattering shot records – only four sides have fired in fewer on-target attempts – but it was a similar story last term and the Addicks found their way into the top-half of the table.
Guy Luzon’s men returned W9-D9-L5 at The Valley, including W6-D5-L1 when entertaining bottom-half dwellers. Their solid record in south-east London has continued into 2015/16 with recently relegated QPR and Hull being swatted aside and although Charlton lost their unbeaten record at Wolves before the international break, they’re a decent unit, worthy of more respect in the markets.
The Valiants boss has already enthused about his team’s determined defensive play and organisation but going forward the Londoners boast plenty of menace too. Tony Watt’s a doubt for the Rotherham encounter but Igor Vetokele’s back in the fold and rangy forward Simon Makienok has proven a handful since signing. Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jordan Cousins are two classy midfield operators and I expect them to exert their authority on the Millers.
The Yorkshire visitors have W5-D2-L0 in their last seven against Charlton but I’m not a big believer in head-to-head records. Rotherham manager Steve Evans is the red-hot favourite for the vacant Peterborough post and the Millers boss is known to be a Posh fan – the Scot may not even be in charge by the time 3pm rolls around.
Even so, Rotherham are paying the price for a radical summer overhaul that’s seen over half of the players to feature in 1000 minutes or more during 2014/15 depart. The away side have W0-D1-L4 in league action and have a woeful return of W3-D9-L13 when playing away since promotion back to the second tier.
Performances haven’t been as disastrous as results suggest but defensively Rotherham have looked all at sea this campaign – in four of their five Championship outings the visitors have leaked at least twice. Evans clearly hasn’t been impressed, taking the captaincy off Greg Halford for the returning Lee Frecklington whilst also snapping up three new signings. Goalkeeper Lee Camp is pressing for a start while Norwich City loan pair Tony Andreu and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe will also be in contention for Saturday.
But with that hopeless road record still in sight plus the fact the Millers have suffered defeats in seven of their last nine at top-half teams – five arriving by a margin of two goals or more – the value is most certainly with Charlton this weekend.
Crewe v Millwall | Saturday 15.00
Crewe have never been the fastest starters but Alex fans will undoubtedly be concerned at their two-point tally from a possible 18 in 2015/16. Since winning promotion back to League One, the Railwaymen have taken eight, five and three points from their first six fixtures, making this their worst start for five years.
During the summer, manager Steve Davis confirmed the club was making every effort to return to their traditional passing football. Over the past two seasons the Alex had come under fire from some sections of supporters for appearing to have abandoned the club’s long held commitment to attractive play.
Board members voiced dissatisfaction as Davis adopted more pragmatic methods to get results, particularly on a poor surface at Gresty Road but the early signs suggest more work is required on the training paddock. Crewe played well in their 3-1 home reverse to Swindon last time out but once again, poor finishing and basic defensive errors cost the club dear.
The Railwaymen enjoyed 66% of the ball against the Robins and out-shot their high-flying guests 15-11 last weekend so I’m hopeful they can play their part in another goal-heavy game this weekend. Millwall make the journey up from the capital desperate to find their feet in League One following a run of W1-D1-L3 since relegation.
Neil Harris’ troops did manage a 1-0 victory over Peterborough in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but understandably, the Lions fans aren’t overly impressed by their start. One of Millwall’s problems could arguably be Harris’ lack of understanding to what his best XI actually is – the inexperienced boss admitted as much in midweek.
Along with Harris’ uncertainty, the Lions have leaked 10 goals in their opening five encounters and I believe they’re capable of playing their part in a successful Both Teams To Score bet at 1.76 with Favourit. The Londoners have failed to notch in 13 of their 27 league games during 2015 but with Steve Morison, Lee Gregory and Fred Onyedinma in tow, should get more joy out of a faltering Alex defence.
Carlisle v Dagenham & Redbridge | Saturday 15.00
It’s been a while since Carlisle were enjoying dizzy heights of the top-half of the table but following a solid W2-D3-L1 start; Keith Curle’s men are sitting pretty in ninth. Throw in their cup games and the Cumbrians have returned an excellent W4-D3-L2; no wonder rumours of the secret billionaire takeover have dissipated.
Jabo Ibhere’s seven goal-haul is already three more than he managed in 2014/15 and Blues supporters have been treated to a feast of goals. In League Two action alone, Carlisle’s six matches have produced a league-high 27 goals at an average of 4.5 goals-per-game – all six have banked in the Both Teams To Score column with four also delivering for Over 2.5 Goals backers.
Add in the Cumbrians’ cup games and eight of their nine have ticks beside them in the BTTS column whilst their three league encounters at Brunton Park have resulted in a 4-4 home draw with Cambridge, a 1-1 with Wimbledon and last weekend’s 3-2 success against Barnet.
After that victory, Curle claimed Barnet’s style of play took him back 25 years, likening it to his time at Wimbledon. On the flip-side, Martin Allen suggested he’d never seen such a one-sided game end in defeat in 19 years with the Londoners racking up 11 efforts on-target in their loss.
Carlisle matches are already featuring, on average, 12 shots-on-target a game – easily a league high – with the Blues conceding 11 in their showdown against Barnet. And although the Cumbrians head is pointing towards an unbeaten streak of nine at Brunton Park, it’s worth noting Carlisle’s dodgy defence has hampered their progress – only three of those nine games ended in victories.
Dagenham will make the journey without fear following their excellent 2-1 win at Northampton last time out. The Daggers are notoriously slow starters but Wayne Burnett’s men have shown significant signs of life in recent weeks and following back-to-back defeats to open their 2015/16 campaign have now returned W1-D2-L3.
Sure, Dagenham were helped on their way by some dreadful Cobblers defending with Matt McClure on hand to take advantage. But Burnett left 40-year-old poacher Jamie Cureton on the bench and was rewarded for his bravery. Ashley Hemmings and Christian Doidge provided plenty of threat from midfield and the Daggers were full value for the points.
With losses in just 38% of Burnett’s 55 road games at the helm, the visitors will no pushovers in Cumbria despite the long journey and I reckon Dagenham can contribute to another winning Both Teams To Score selection. It’s proven profitable in five of the Daggers’ six League Two outings thus far – four of which also went Over 2.5 Goals.
The Londoners have an outstanding record for delivering winning BTTS bets when playing away. Those 55 matches under Burnett’s watch have also resulted in 34/55 (62%) of successful Both Teams To Score selections with the travellers only failing to net in 13 whilst keeping just 10 shutouts.
Since Curle was appointed at Carlisle, 14/22 (64%) of Brunton Park contests have also gone the way of BTTS ‘Yes’ with the Blues keeping their sheets clean on just six occasions and notching themselves in all bar two fixtures. The BTTS bet proved profitable for us with Dagenham last weekend and looks a great value bet at 1.76 (Favourit) again this Saturday.
Charlton v Rotherham – Charlton to win (2.00 Favourit)
Crewe v Millwall – Both Teams To Score (1.76 Favourit)
Carlisle v Dagenham & Redbridge – Both Teams To Score (1.76 Favourit)
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