The ever-consistent Mark O’Haire returned profit last weekend yet again as two out of three picks landed for the third week in a row. Can he make it the magical treble this week?
There wasn’t a huge amount to catch my eye in the Championship but I’ve plucked out a bet where I believe the odds are just wrong, especially when you stand them up against the stats. I’ve taken the Charlton-Doncaster match to be level at half-time.
Charlton are a team I’m monitoring closely. Now Chris Powell is a very likeable guy but despite their flourishing end to last season where a play-off place almost became a reality, I can’t help but feel the financial constraints Powell is working under could have unhappy consequences.
Mark Gower was an interesting addition but Marvin Sordell and Simon Church should provide a much needed boost to keep their heads above water. However, the squad size is still a major worry and with skipper and last season’s joint-top goalscorer Johnnie Jackson out, the Addicks are finding the going tough.
One area which has remained a constant is Charlton’s penchant for being level at the interval, especially when playing at The Valley. Powell’s men drew 25 of 46 matches in the league last year at half-time – that’s over half. But at home, they recorded 17 HT draws from 23 matches; and now you can add their opening home game with Middlesbrough this season to that and you’ve 75% of their last 24 home fixtures being drawn at half-time.
Doncaster won promotion last year as champions and showed tremendous away form wining 15 of their 23 games on the road. They’re a team I’m happy to take on and oppose this season – the complete opposite to defender Bongani Khumalo who’s targeting promotion!
A 2-0 win at Blackburn was followed by a spirited 2-2 draw at Wigan but I still think they’ll do well to stay clear of the end-of-season relegation scrap without serious investment. And I’ve said all that without criticising the appointment of Paul Dickov (I’ll hold ontothat for another day).
Doncaster also possessed a fetish for HT draws last season. Rovers were level at half-time in 24/46 matches overall and in 14/23 games away from home. So marry both teams’ stats together and we’ve found a 6/5 shot which really should be odds-on, in my opinion.
Mark’s Best Bet
Charlton v Doncaster – half-time draw at 13/8 (BetVictor)
Peterborough have been everyone’s favourite second team in the past few years – Over 2.5 Goal specialists and then upsetting the odds regularly last season in the second tier and it’s that excellent form which brings me on to my best bet in League One.
Posh’s form from December onwards has been quite outstanding. 14 defeats from their opening 18 games essentially cost them their Championship status but from since 15th December they’ve Won 11 Drew 8 Lost 6.
Three wins from their first three fixtures this season has seen them at the top with the pacesetters and with Dwight Gayle sold, Darren Ferguson has invested wisely in Britt Asamoblonga who’s hit the ground running.
I’m not normally a fan of backing away teams in the Football League at prices shorter than evens so I was slightly surprised and encouraged to see Posh at 11/10. It’s a price I’m more than happy to take with Tranmere’s form going in the complete opposite direction to Peterborough’s.
Their results this season – lost 3-1 at Walsall, held Crawley 3-3 at home before being beaten 2-1 at Crewe – so that’s 8 goals against already – not ideal when Posh are your next opponents. Lets not forget Peterborough plundered more goals than promoted Hull City last season!
But the rot has set in around Ronnie Moore’s squad for quite a while now. It’s hard not to forget Tranmere topped the table until February when injuries and form saw them fall apart and finish 11th. From February onwards they Won 3 Drew 2 Lost 12 and failed to score in 9 of their last 11 last season.
So all in all I think 11/10 Posh is well worth taking.
Mark’s Best Bet
Peterborough to win at 11/10 (Coral)
Last season Northampton were beaten in the play-off final by Bradford but made it to Wembley after winning 21 regular season league matches. Seventeen of those 21 were won at Sixfields, seeing them win an astonishing 74% of home league fixtures.
That trend has continued this season as they’re 1/1 after beating Newport 3-1 at home just a fortnight ago. Yes, they were extremely fortunate and indebted to a MOTM display by summer signing from Bradford Matt Duke in goal but the b bigger picture is, that winning habit at home has continued…
Aidy Boothroyd’s came out and said, despite the few absentees he’s still got through injury, he’s actually happy with his squad and not in any rush to try and bring in any more additions – quite refreshing from a manager these days/ But he will be without Chris Hackett for this game through suspension.
Torquay are a team I’ve tipped for relegation this season and from December, they’ve been absolutely miserable. Manager Martin Ling was forced to step aside through illness and he was replaced by the dour Alan Knill.
And from December the Gulls have Won 5 Drew 7 Lost 14 and have started this season off with 1-1 draws against Morecambe and Wimbledon before being beaten 3-1 by Oxford at home.
On their travels last season they lost 11/23 but alarmingly Won 1 Drew 5 Lost 9 away to teams in 15th and above, failing to trouble the scoresheet in 7 of those 15.
I mentioned that home defeat to Oxford and rate the Cobblers Northampton around the same sort of level – a top-eight team in League Two – and so factor in Northampton’s home win % and you’ve a decent looking bet at even-money.
Mark’s Best Bet
Northampton to win at 1/1 (SkyBet)