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Mark O’Haire’s Weekend Football Tips: 31st August

posted by Mark O'Haire
Mark O’Haire’s Weekend Football Tips: 31st August

Wigan v Nottingham Forest, 15.00 Saturday

A game involving two Scottish managers – one I adore and one I just can’t stand and I’m siding with Billy Davies’ Nottingham Forest in the draw no bet market at 13/10.

I backed Forest ante-post for the Championship title and wee Billy Davies is a big reason behind that; you can just see the galvanising effect he’s having on the team.

Forest are top of the table with three wins and a draw, conceding just one goal and that came from a free-kick by old-boy Lewis McGuigan last Sunday at Watford – not bad when you consider the Hornets were easily last season’s top scoring side in the Championship.

The Tricky Trees will feel aggrieved they didn’t keep their 100% record intact – Ismael Miller wasted a great chance and they also hit a post at Vicarage Road and that positive result arrived on the back of a 1-0 away win at Blackburn too. Of course, like Davies’ sides always have been, their form has been built on solid foundations with Jack Hobbs & Kelvin Wilson impenetrable at centre-half.

So if Wigan persist in giving away sloppy goals, I just feel Forest can grab a goal and suck the life out of the Latics. Because Forest are grinding out good results on their travels. Since Davies has returned to the City Ground, Forest have won 5 drawn 2 and lost 2 of their 9 away days in the second tier, keeping 4 clean sheets.

Wigan have been very generous defensively and with Owen Coyle in charge, I’ll continue to look at ways to oppose them. Coyle’s a big reason why I swerved them ante-post and although I and everyone else stood up and took note of their 4-0 win away at Barnsley on the opening day, Barnsley’s results since make that result a little less significant…

Wigan have since been beaten in a fiery encounter at Boutnemouth, then were 2-0 down at home to Doncaster before a late fight back rescued them a point in stoppage-time before another late goal was required to save a point at home to Middlesbrough last Sunday.

There is quality in that Wigan team but Coyle just isn’t the right man to fill a very difficult void that Martinez has left with his quite complex systems and tactic. If Forest can take advantage of any slack defending, they‘ll strangle the life out of the game and are well capable of stealing maximum points.

Mark’s Best Bet

Nottingham Forest draw no bet 13/10 – Sportingbet

Shrewsbury v Coventry, 15.00 Saturday

I mentioned Coventry on this column a fortnight ago, putting up an Over 2.5 Goal bet and you’d have to be daft to ignore that market again seeing as the Sky Blues’ games are raining goals. All four Coventry matches have sailed  over the Over 2.5 Goals but just take a look at their results thus far -

They began with a 3-2 loss at Crawley, beat Bristol City 5-4, won 4-0 at Carlisle and then drew 4-4 with Under 2.5 specialists Preston – that’s 26 goals in four games!

Crazy results and there doesn’t appear any end to these scorelines so you’ve got to take advantage now whilst the prices are still backable. You can get 4/5 on Over 2.5 Goals at Sportingbet, mainly because Shrewsbury have been quite prudent at home – their two home league games have gone Under 2.5 with the Shrews earning clean sheets in a 0-0 draw with MK Dons and a 2-0 win over Swindon.

But Graham Turner’s outfit have managed four goals in their last two games which is promising seeing as I was concerned they’d lack fire power and struggle this term. But really this bet is all about Coventry – they’ve plenty of players capable of scoring going forward – Leon Clarke, Frank Moussa, John Fleck and youngster Callum Wilson but whilst we compliment their potent attack, I’ve just no confidence in them keeping clean sheets with a patched up and inexperienced defence.

Mark’s Best Bet

Over 2.5 Goals at 4/5 Sportingbet

Bristol Rovers v Northampton, 15.00 Saturday

With Charlton-Doncaster being abandoned last week and seeing my bet voided, Northampton were then to blame for a losing treble as they lost at home to Torquay – a big surprise but then it really shouldn’t have been as I mentioned a few tell-tale signs last week…

Northampton had lost 2 of their opening 3 League Two games before that match and their 1 win , which came at home, was fortunate – Matt Duke’s Man of the Match performance in goal helping guide the Cobblers to a 3-1 win over Newport. So it might sound odd but I’m happy to switch allegiance and find an angle to oppose them this week…

Aidy Bothroyd has bemoaned his lack of available defenders this week and asked his board him out in strengthening that backline. Clarke Carlisle retired in the summer and skipper Kelvin Langmead is still out and the Cobblers are yet to keep a clean sheet.

Away from home they’ve been as poor as ever – two losses to nil already – and in the three previous seasons they’ve lost 32 of their 69 away games.

Bristol Rovers have had their fair share of injuries and unavailabilities but they’ve still managed results at home – holding Scunthorpe 0-0 and then beating York 3-2 at the Memorial Ground to make it 8 wins from 12 home matches.

John Ward’s a manager who, despite the conditions his team are dealt, will always make sure his team are well prepared and organised no matter the restraints upon him. They’re always competitive and whilst the 13/10 on Rovers has a lot of appeal – in fact I’ve almost convinced myself to take it, I’m putting up Rovers to score the first goal at 4/5.

It’s something the Pirates have done in 14 of their last 20 home matches whilst Northampton have leaked first in 13 of their last 16 away games!

Mark’s Best Bet

Bristol Rovers to score first, 4/5 Sportingbet

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Meet the Author

A lifelong QPR supporter, Mark began his career as a sports reporter at his local newspaper the Bucks Free Press covering Wycombe Wanderers and London Wasps before moving into the online world of journalism with an independent lifestyle website. After a short stint at Ladbrokes, Mark joined the content team at Sportingbet in the summer of 2010 where he currently resides as Content and Social Media Manager. With a huge passion for stats and a thirst for Football League and European football knowledge, Mark relishes trawling the data to pick out his best value bets every week.

User Name: Mark O'Haire

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