After a week choc-full of European action the focus is back on domestic footy and our very own Football League expert, Mark O’Haire is back again with his best picks for the weekend.
Two teams really struggling at the base of the Championship table go head-to-head and although between them they’ve scored just 11 goals in 13 matches, I’m going against the grain and backing both teams to score.
Birmingham are a team to keep an eye on in the relegation stakes. They’re most talented players left in the summer and they’re on a real crusade to slash the wage bill. Unsurprisingly it’s had an impact on the team and squad leaving Lee Clark with a big challenge on his hands.
I’m not Clark’s biggest fan and if Saturday’s result goes against the Blues, the situation at St Andrew’s could start to look a little gloomy.
Birmingham haven’t troubled the scoresheet enough this season; only netting once in three home fixtures and failed to score in four of their seven Championship clashes already. But it’s worth pointing out that the Blues were out of luck when they visited Loftus Road last weekend – a penalty claim, the woodwork and two clear-cut chances went astray, so there’s positive signs going forward.
The second city club have been poor defensively too. Just one clean sheet to their name in seven league clashes but what should give Clark’s charges more faith is the fact that Sheffield Wednesday have conceded to both Millwall and Yeovil already this season and are yet to keep a clean sheet themselves.
In fact, this both teams to score bet has paid out in all six of Wednesday’s league games with the Owls taking the lead in five of their six matches, only to fail to close them out through Dave Jones’ tactical naivety and sloppy errors at the back.
I’ve said before that I think bad defences breed goals, more so than potent attack and the one clean sheet in 13 matches between the two teams is a much stronger trend than the 11 goals the two teams have accumulated this term.
Mark’s Best Bet
Both teams to score at 5/6 with Sportingbet
My second bet this week is almost a carbon copy of last week’s League One punt; I’m backing Coventry to score Over 1.5 Goals as they take the trip to Port Vale.
Coventry are already out of the relegation zone after beating Gillingham and the Sky Blues have already hit 20 goals in their opening seven league fixtures. So carrying on from last week’s trend, they’ve not scored (in order) two, five, four, four, one, two and two in their matches. That means this bet would have collected in six of their seven League One matches.
Steven Pressley ‘s side have struck seven in their three away days at Crawley, Shrewsbury and Carlisle and Saturday’s opponents Port Vale have managed just one clean sheet this term. The Valliants have also leaked three goals in games against Wolves, Leyton Orient and Oldham.
I don’ t need to bore readers with any more statistics but if you prefer an alternative, Over 2.5 Goals has banked in 12 of Coventry’s last 18 away whilst Over 3.5 Goals has collected in 10 of their last 18 away trips.
Mark’s Best Bet
Coventry to score Over 1.5 Goals at 10/11 with Sportingbet
We talked about Bury’s rebuilding a few weeks ago and since we mentioned them they lost back-to-back fixtures. But I can’t find any good reason not to like Over 2.5 Goals at even-money when Southend visit Gigg Lane.
Bury netted in defeat at Fleetwood last weekend meaning five of their seven matches in League Two have now seen Over 2.5 Goals and those seven fixtures have seen 21 goals overall. They’ve managed to score in five and with only kept 1 clean sheet to their name this season, there’s a few trends there to suggest we could see a few goals.
I was quite scathing about Southend in pre-season but after three successive wins to kick-off their season I was close to eating my words. But they’ve now lost four on the spin and three of those four have seen Over 2.5 Goals. They’ve actually leaked eight in those four matches, without a clean sheet.
The Shrimpers have managed to score in all but one game this season so when you tie that in with Bury’s shaky defence *excuse the pun* I think even-money for Over 2.5 Goals is more than fair.
Mark’s Best Bet
Over 2.5 Goals at evens with Sportingbet