Football League: Valiants undervalued for trip to Forest Green


JACK LAMBDEN (@_JackL_) shares his views on the best betting opportunities from Tuesday's EFL Coupon.

Barnsley v Birmingham | Tuesday 11th February 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Birmingham make the trip north to Yorkshire to face 23rd placed Barnsley on a great run of form which has given them some much needed breathing space to the relegation zone, all amidst ongoing off-field troubles.

Friday evening’s televised win at Bristol City could have been a whole lot different had the home side built on their goal inside 40 seconds, but Pep Clotet’s men turned the tables to extend their unbeaten streak to eight games in all competitions.

Despite the positive results however, the Blues have not had it all their own way in their recent away trips, even counting the original FA Cup tie against Coventry away at, erm…St Andrews. In their last two Championship road trips, City have allowed 32 shots on their own goal and that led me to investigating the shot markets for Barnsley here.

A man that has starred recently for The Tykes is forward Jacob Brown who recently won the EFL Young Player of the Month award for January. Brown’s early season appearances were in wide roles but since Gerhard Struber has taken charge, the youngster has found himself as part of a front two alongside Conor Chaplin and he’s becoming more of a goal threat as a result.

Brown has had a shot on target in three of his last 4 matches with the one match it didn’t land it coming away to Charlton, a game in which he hit the crossbar so was millimetres away from making it four in four.

Based on that, I was surprised to see the man who attracted interest from the likes of Brentford in January, at a boosted 6/4 with Paddy Power to register one or more shots on target in the game. This is a bigger price than a fair few of his teammates playing in deeper roles which doesn’t seem to make sense and therefore represents some value.

If Brown can play on the shoulder of Birmingham centre-half Marc Roberts, he could utilise his pace to great effect and get in behind a back line that is still conceding plenty of chances and with only two clean sheets in 16 league outings.

Leyton Orient v Mansfield | Tuesday 11th February 2020, 19:45

Despite the fact that only one side will be relegated from League Two this season, both Leyton Orient and Mansfield know that they are not yet safe from the drop and that getting something from this game is vitally important.

However, with only 15 wins in 64 collective matches, you wouldn’t be too confident backing either of these teams to win the game on the outrights. Instead, with Orient and Mansfield sitting 1st and 3rd in the cards accumulated table in League Two this season, the 9/4 with William Hill on Both Teams receiving Over 1 Card with their ‘YourOdds’ feature seems a better way to go.

This selection landed in the reverse game, a match which contained a rather high 32 fouls in total, and having shared 138 cards between them this season, I think the price on offer is value when considering that an equivalent play is 6/4 with other bookies.

Referee Josh Smith has only taken charge of these clubs once apiece this season, awarding Mansfield three cards and the O’s two cards. In addition, Smith ranks highly for fouls given per-game, – 27.5 on average in League Two matches officiated, which is the fourth highest of referees that have refereed more than once at this level in 2019/20 so he be as prolific with the whistle on this occasion too, the cards could well flow in such a big fixture.

Forest Green Rovers v Port Vale | Tuesday 11th February 2020, 19:45

Forest Green, not too far into the season, had the best defensive record in the Football League in a run that contained six clean sheets in seven matches and although they were not free-scoring at the other end, their stinginess in their own 18-yard box was the basis for the team sitting in a good position near the top of the table.

However, the team’s current run is one of real concern to all those at the New Lawn and they are leaking goals for fun – 16 in six matches – with manager Mark Cooper bemoaning the mistakes his players are making and labelling the recent run as his team “going from clean sheet machines to a charity shop”.

Rovers’ current form at home reads four consecutive defeats and they only have one home league win in the last 13, a run stretching back four months.

Port Vale, meanwhile, are in the best period of the campaign, beating some decent sides in their current upturn including league leaders Swindon and in-form Northampton away from home on Saturday. The side seems settled and they appear to have gained confidence from their run to the FA Cup 3rd Round and gutsy defeat to Manchester City.

Given the respective form of the two teams, I was surprised to see Port Vale as big as they are to win the game but having drawn as many games as they won this season (12), the 8/5 on Vale Draw No Bet with BoyleSports gives a bit of insurance but still a healthy return if the away wins lands.

Forest Green are without the creative talent of Dayle Grubb through injury and with another crucial player Joseph Mills a doubt for this match, I think the Valiants can come away with the three points.

Best Bets

Barnsley v Birmingham – Jacob Brown 1+ Shot on Target (6/4 PaddyPower)

Leyton Orient v Mansfield – Each Team Over 1 Card (9/4 WilliamHill)

Forest Green Rovers v Port Vale – Port Vale Draw No Bet (8/5 BoyleSports)

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