Football League betting advisor George Sandford (@EuroEliteFL) provides you with a look at some value bets to be had across the second to the fourth tier of English football. Check out the analysis, reasoning and stats and get involved on Twitter should you have any questions.
LEAGUE ONE: Scunthorpe Utd v Sheffield Utd – Saturday 3PM KO
I’ve always been a believer that the gulf in quality between League One and League Two is much narrower than the step up in class from League One to the Championship. The current league positions of last year’s League Two graduates are 1st (Burton), 7th (Bury), 9th (Southend) and 18th (Shrewsbury) yet the trio of League One’s promoted sides occupy 16th (Preston), 20th (MK Dons) and 21st (Bristol City) on the Championship ladder. Therefore I place a lot more importance on results in cup fixtures between L1 and L2 sides, especially with sides lower down L1 versus sides doing well in L2. Scunthorpe‘s tactical 3-0 win over an organised Leyton Orient outfit on Tuesday definitely fits this criteria. Having been outplayed in the first leg, the Irons showed a lot of character to pull through another first half onslaught from Orient before pouncing on their tired defence on the hour mark, much like a Tour De France cyclist would sit on the shoulder of the leader before sprinting clear in the closing stages.
Scunthorpe should take a lot of confidence from this win and the chance to play Chelsea in R3 leading into a local crunch match with an out-of-sorts Sheffield Utd. “Out of sorts?” I hear you cry, “they beat Coventry last weekend”. We are talking about the pre-season favourites for promotion here and to me it wasn’t a particularly inspiring performance as Coventry were desperately unfortunate not to win the game with a number of dubious refereeing decisions going against them. This follows on from a generally substandard run of form for Nigel Adkin’s men including:
1-1 D (A) vs Barnsley (21st) – missed penalty from Barnsley and relatively open game
2-4 L (H) vs Shrewsbury (18th) – conceded 3 first half goals in the space of 10 minutes
1-1 D (A) vs Walsall (3rd) – Walsall dominant first half but Sheff Utd battled well to earn point
2-2 D (H) vs Southend (9th) – again fell behind but battled for another point
0-1 L (A) vs Crewe (24th) – Crewe’s first home win in 7 months, couldn’t break down side without a clean sheet at home since first day of the season
The Irons have gone 11 consecutive matches at Glanford Park without a draw and so there’s a definite ‘Blondie’ sense to the outcome of the match – that’s right it’ll probably go one way or another! Considering Sheffield Utd’s run since the 29th August without an away win and Scunthorpe’s hit and miss home record of 5W 1D 4L I like the price on a home win at an inviting 21/10 (Will Hill) here as opposed to a double chance or handicap selection. I still think that the bookmakers are yet to adjust to Sheffield Utd’s run of form as they seem underpriced week in week out, whenever that is the case it’s always best to look into the attributes of the opposing side or not to bet at all.
Scunthorpe WIN @ 21/10 (William Hill)
CHAMPIONSHIP: Nottingham Forest v MK Dons – Saturday 3PM KO
- MK Dons (20th) dominated proceedings versus Ipswich (6th) with 20 shots, 5 shots on target, 14 corners and 64% possession yet lacked the cutting edge. The breakthrough has since come with a solid 2-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday (9th) and any performance on this level would surely cause Nottingham Forest enough problems to come away with a result.
- MK Dons’ away form doesn’t jump off the page at 1W 3D 6L but they’re starting to respond to the fight on their hands well. Karl Robinson, who strikes me as an honest and straight talking manager said of his side after the gutting 1-0 defeat to Ipswich:
“My players were sensational and I think we deserved more than what we got out of the game.
“I was so proud of them at the end and that’s why I stood there and clapped them off the pitch.
“This is the harsh reality of the Championship, but the players asked to be at this level last season so they have to stand up and accept the challenge.”
- Nottm Forest‘s home form of late flatters them slightly, after an impressive win vs Derby they came up against both Fulham and Reading at the perfect time. 3-0 and 3-1 wins against two sides on a poor run of form does not put me off of the improving MK Dons’ credentials in this fixture.
- Forest have also recently lost to a side that MK Dons picked up maximum points against (Sheffield Wednesday – 9th). In addition Preston (16th) and Brentford (10th) have also got the better of Dougie Freedman’s men recently.
- Considering their current spell of back to back draws, struggling versus Blackburn (11th) and Wolves (17th), I feel MK Dons have a great shout at coming away with something so 11/10 (BV) on Robinson’s men to win or draw certainly appeals.
MK Dons +0.5 ASIAN HANDICAP @ 11/10 (BetVictor)
LEAGUE ONE: Shrewsbury v Swindon Town – Saturday 3PM KO
- Having been on a run of 10 games without a win Martin Ling has rejuvenated Swindon in recent weeks, under his management The Robins have W4 L1, scoring 2 or more goals in 4 of those 5.
- Even totting up the results from Swindon’s abysmal start to the season would give you 4 out of 10 times (40%) in which they’ve managed 2 or more goals away from the County Ground, not bad when we’re offered a 9/5 price (888/UniBet) that implies a 35.7% chance.
- Hosts Shrewsbury have conceded 2 or more in 6 out of their 10 home games and have struggled for consistency all season.
- Backing this price as opposed to the Swindon win at 12/5 is preferred as we’re able to still collect a return on score-lines such as 3-2, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-2. Shrewsbury are not strangers to the scoresheet either having scored in 8 out of 10 home games, 4 of those resulting in over 1.5 and this should help create a game full of goalscoring opportunities.
Swindon Town OVER 1.5 TEAM GOALS @ 9/5 (888sport/UniBet)
OVER 1.5 TEAM GOALS TRIXIE: (888sport)
Swindon @ 9/5
Stevenage @ 7/4
QPR @ 9/5
(**This multiple bet covers 3 doubles and the treble, bet 25% of your original stake per line**)
LEAGUE TWO: York City v Morecambe – Saturday 3PM KO
- Middlesbrough loanee Bradley Fewster was able to open his goalscoring account instantly at York after coming off the bench to bag a consolation goal in the 5-1 defeat versus Accrington and has since started against Bristol Rovers. The 19 year old is a lively, committed type of addition to the squad and has already shown pedigree at a high standard of football with 13 goals from 18 caps for England’s U16-U19 team, including against defences as strong as Germany and Belgium.
- York were agonisingly denied of their first point in 6 games after a spirited effort versus a Bristol Rovers side that eventually struck twice late into the second half including an injury time winner. Despite their lack of results The Minstermen have slotted home goals in 8 out of their last 10 and will be confident they can bounce back from another ‘nearly’ experience to finally getting some points on the board and the goals that come with it.
- Morecambe have conceded 14 goals in their last 6 in all competitions
- Should Fewster start the game this bet looks an interesting proposition, we only have around 90 minutes of game time and 1 goal to assess so it is a slight gamble on the likelihood of continuing the red-hot youth international form.
- Due to this the bookmakers seem equally confused as to how to price Fewster in the anytime goalscorer market with Stan James as low as 6/4. We, however, will be having some of Ladbrokes’ much more appetising price of 23/10. Remember to wait for the team news on this one, likely around an hour before the game on @YorkCityFC. If Fewster DOES NOT start then it’s a NO BET.
Bradley Fewster (York City) ANYTIME GOALSCORER @ 23/10 (Ladbrokes)