Adrian Clarke is back with two EFL selections to fire this weekend.
League 1 is stacked with quality this season and at both ends of the table we’re in for a cracking climax.
That’s where I’m headed for this week’s EFL Insights selections…
BACKING THE MILLERS TO SHADE TIGHT CONTEST AT HOME TO THE SHREWS
Having fried the Shrimps 5-0 in midweek Shrewsbury Town face League 1’s toughest road trip this weekend, making the pilgrimage to leaders Rotherham United.
Steve Cotterill’s side played superbly when holding the table-toppers to a goalless draw at the start of this month, and it was a performance which should give them the belief they can compete at the New York Stadium.
I am sure they will make it competitive too, but the Millers are quite simply a machine in front of their own fans.
Picking up 42 points from 19 games they are officially the best home side, and in contests against opponents from outside the Top 8 they have been ruthlessly efficient.
Winning 11, drawing one and losing just once too, they will fully expect to turn over the 17th placed Shrews.
The Shropshire side don’t command too many column inches but in many ways they are enjoying a remarkable mid-table campaign.
During the entire season so far, Shrewsbury have conceded more than two goals just ONCE, a record that only promotion-chasing Rotherham United, Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic can match.
For a team that’s flirted with relegation throughout this season, that’s bonkers.
Despite this obdurate nature, they have only won two of 19 away matches, and on the road to top 13 clubs Cotterill’s boys have amassed just two points from a possible 30. Yet absolutely no one blows them away!
Defensively they certainly know what they are doing. However, despite last weekend’s goal-fest at Morecambe’s expense they are habitually powder puff inside the final third.
Netting only 12 goals away from home, Paul Warne’s men will confidently back themselves to keep another clean sheet.
Overall, I have to fancy Rotherham United here but understandably the price is short (1.64), so it makes sense to pair it with a strong goals angle.
In only 3 of 38 matches involving Shrewsbury Town have we witnessed more than three goals this term. For Rotherham United, that record reads 7 of 38.
My calculator tells me that’s a 13.1% ratio from their combined records.
Nine of the Yorkshire outfit’s home victories have also come in at Under 3.5 goals, so that’s where I am heading with this selection.
At a price of 2.3 with Matchbook, I am drawn towards Rotherham United & Under 3.5 goals.
In a way, going low feels safer than tipping a home triumph here, but it is hardly the gamble of the century to also back League 1’s strongest home team to claim another scalp.
The leaders should have too much. Just.
HIGHBURY TO HOST GOALS IN BIG BASEMENT BATTLE
A winless 12-game run has got Fleetwood Town sleepwalking their way towards the drop zone, but a clash at home to fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers represents an opportunity to turn the tide.
Scoring goals isn’t the problem. Stephen Crainey’s men have found the back of the net on 50 occasions this term, which is 22 more times than their opposition this weekend.
Their issue is an inability to keep clean sheets. They’ve had three of them at their Highbury home in 17 outings, and just five in total.
They are a young, often vibrant side but mistakes are not uncommon at the back, and this has been their undoing.
Fleetwood Town matches do entertain, they average 3.16 goals this season, but wins cannot be guaranteed.
Fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers are improving under Gary McSheffrey but they are clean sheet averse too, amassing just seven in 38 games. On their travels it’s two from 19.
They have also let in a minimum of two goals in 68.4% of their away matches, which has been a major issue.
I couldn’t tell you who will win this encounter but with neither defence sure-footed and plenty of incentive to grab three points at the expense of a rival, I do anticipate goals on the Fylde coast.
You could look at Both Teams To Score at 1.86 but Donny have drawn too many blanks (18) to go down that route in my opinion. Instead, I like Over 2.5 goals at 1.97.
This bet has landed in 65% of Fleetwood’s home games and 58% of Rovers’ matches on their travels.
These are a pair of leaky outfits, so tipping up the Overs feels like the percentage play.
- Rotherham United & Under 3.5 goals v Shrewsbury Town (2.3)
- Fleetwood Town v Doncaster Rovers Over 2.5 goals (1.97)