Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares four of his favourite fancies from Tuesday’s action across the UK.
Posh To Swipe Shrimpers Aside With Ease
Peterborough are right back in the congested frame for automatic League One promotion after securing five wins on the spin since mid-January. Posh picked up a solitary point in five encounters from Boxing Day to slide out of the reckoning, although the last of those miserable matches has proven to be the catalyst for renewed hope and vigour.
Darren Ferguson’s team were defeated 1-0 at Wimbledon despite dominating the second-half exchanges with a system switch in the final half-hour proving pretty significant. Posh changed to wing-backs as soon as they fell behind and created so many goalscoring chances that the Scottish boss opted to stick to the new-look 3-4-1-2 thereafter.
The transformation has been stark.
From struggling to keep possession and a near total-reliance on Ivan Toney for a goal threat, Peterborough suddenly look the part again.
Siriki Dembele has proven to be an excellent foil for Toney, whilst the loan capture of Sammie Szmodics in a fearsome front three has left little time to ponder Marcus Maddison’s future.
The January additions of Szmodics, Jack Taylor and Reece Brown have given Ferguson’s midfield mobility, pace, athleticism and a final-third threat in a system that suits. Taylor does the simple things with immaculate efficiency, Brown brings creativity while Szmodics is full of running next to dribbler Dembele in a better-balanced side since Maddison’s exit.
Posh delivered a stylish 4-0 thumping of a jaded Oxford outfit on Saturday and the League One top goalscorers now welcome the division’s worst defence in Southend on Tuesday. In fairness, Sol Campbell has steadied the ailing Shrimpers ship significantly over the past 10 weeks (W2-D5-L4), but the Essex boys were well beaten at Blackpool last time out.
Southend’s past three road trips have seen Campbell’s charges concede 6.30 Expected Goals (xG) and 28 shots in the box, an alarming return in preparation for a trip to a free-scoring Peterborough side that doesn’t lack invention, conviction or conversion qualities.
Take the hosts to overcome a -1.5 Asian Handicap hurdle at 1.88.
Addicks To Fall Short At Forest
Nottingham Forest are in the thick of the Championship promotion race with the Reds’ picking up an eye-catching and well-deserved 2-0 victory at home to outright favourites Leeds on Saturday. And the Tricky Trees should be well capable of following up that fine victory with a second successive City Ground success against struggling Charlton.
Sabri Lamouchi’s men have largely defied the data darlings to reside a solitary point off the top-two and Forest are now in with a realistic chance of securing Premier League football after a 21-year absence. The hosts have collected 13 points from their past five fixtures at the City Ground, as well as top honours in six of nine games here against clubs below 11th.
Recent visitors Leeds, Reading and Luton were forced to feed off scraps – generating just 1.39 Expected Goals (xG) in total, and since Lamouchi’s arrival, the Reds have suffered only seven overall league defeats (W15-D9-L6), collected the second-most clean sheets (11), leaked the third-fewest goals (30) and fired only four blanks in 31 league outings.
Charlton head north having W0-D3-L9 on their Championship travels since the start of September with the Addicks shipping two goals or more in 10 of those 12 tussles. Lee Bowyer’s boys have posted a paltry 25% xG from open play ratio on the road in their past seven outings, averaging just five attempts from inside the penalty area in that sample.
Back Forest with a -0.75 Asian Handicap start at 1.79.
Tired Tranmere Can Be Opposed
Tired Tranmere are back in action on Tuesday with the Wirral-based club taking to the field for their 15th fixture in just over seven weeks. Ten of Rovers’ previous 14 encounters came on their quagmire Prenton Park pitch, which is bound to be having an effect on the struggling Birkenhead boys in their battle against League One relegation.
In their current guise, toiling Tranmere are seemingly heading for an immediate League Two return and Micky Mellon’s been unable to stem a worrying tide.
It’s zero victories inside 90 minutes from their most recent 14 outings – including nine defeats – and over the course of the League One campaign, Rovers have registered 17 losses in 29 matches.
The Whites’ most recent matches saw Mellon’s charges suffer a convincing 3-0 defeat to Doncaster here last midweek, losing the shots on-target count 8-1 and giving up seven big chances. That reverse came hot on the heels of a disastrous 2-0 defeat at rock-bottom Bolton where Tranmere were out-scored 1.70 to 0.38 on Expected Goals (xG).
Last time out, Rovers battled hard but still went down 2-0 against in-form Portsmouth with their Achilles’ heel of defending set-pieces taking the decisive killer blow. Tranmere must now raise themselves for a seventh match in just 20 days as they look to end a wretched run of five successive losses without scoring against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.
The Gas are in the midst of their own worrying stretch, although boss Ben Garner has at least seen signs of promise. Of course, defensive performances against Wycombe on Saturday were clearly concerning but the Pirates’ switch to a more possession-based style could begin to bear fruit sooner rather than later.
Bristol Rovers won the shot count 14-6 in a 2-1 loss at home to Coventry at the start of the month and had 19 attempts at Adams Park on Saturday. The visitors have lacked attacking inspiration for large swathes of the season, although recent signs suggest Garner’s group aren’t far away from clicking into gear.
Take the Gas with a +0.25 start at 1.76.
Low-Quality Contest In Lanarkshire
The pressure is building on Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes following another dour display from the Dons on Saturday. A dreary 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup escalated criticism from supporters, who have been critical of McInnes’ perceived negative approach
Aberdeen will set a new goal-drought club record if they fail to score for the sixth game in a row on Tuesday evening – the first time that would have happened in their 117-year history – with the Dons firing a blank in their last 454 minutes. To make matters worse, the Reds haven’t scored from open play for a whopping 639 minutes since Boxing Day.
The high-profile troubles in front of goal have led to one Aberdeen bar offering a free pint of Tennents to punters if the Dons score from open play against Hamilton this midweek.
McInnes’ men will strike sometime soon but you can’t support the visitors at odds-on quotes against anyone at the moment and a low-quality showdown surely awaits.
Hamilton rested a host of regular starters for Saturday’s cup tie with Rangers as manager Brice Rice prioritises Premiership survival. The Lanarkshire hosts succumbed late on for the second week in a row against Old Firm opposition but should be refreshed and ready to go again as they continue their battle against the drop from Scotland’s top-tier.
There’s arguably value in supporting hosts Hamilton here on the handicap, however, Accies were beaten 1-0 in both previous meetings with Aberdeen this term and another narrow reverse wouldn’t be a huge surprise. So instead, oppose goals with Under 2.25 Goals paying 1.85 – it’s a proven a profitable formula in eight of Aberdeen’s last 10 tussles.
- Peterborough -1.50 – 3 units @ 1.88
- Nottingham Forest -0.75 – 2 units @ 1.79
- Bristol Rovers +0.25 – 2 units @ 1.76
- Under 2.25 Goals in Hamilton v Aberdeen 2 units @ 1.85