Mark O'Haire - Scunthorpe As Favs At Home To Cheltenham Town! Really??

7 min

Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares two of his favourite fancies from Saturday’s action with the Football League and Ligue 1 in focus.

Robust Robins To Keep Iron At Bay

Cheltenham appear undervalued for their trip to rudderless Scunthorpe on Saturday. The Robins weathered a bout of sickness in the camp to overcome Morecambe last weekend to keep their promotion push alive and kicking; boss Michael Duff wasn’t impressed with his side’s display but a full week off should allow Town an opportunity to rest and refresh.

The Gloucestershire group have suffered only five defeats in 29 League Two outings this term, including only three losses from 15 away days.

Cheltenham have been beaten just twice against teams in 10th and below, boast the division’s best defence and have shipped just nine goals on their travels, yet 1.82 is available on the Robins here with a +0.25 start.

All available data metrics make the visitors slight favourites at Glanford Park yet the layers have marked up Scunthorpe as the most likely victors, a sentiment I just can’t get onboard with.

Cheltenham manager Michael Duff wasn’t too enamoured with his side’s efforts in their win over Morecambe.

The Iron sacked Paul Hurst last week following disagreements with chairman Peter Swann over transfer business and were atrocious in a 3-1 reverse at Crawley last time out.

Russ Wilcox has taken caretaker charge of Scunny and was angered by the team’s display in Sussex as United slipped into a 3-0 half-time deficit with disastrous set-piece defending largely to blame. However, the Iron are short of fit and available bodies at the back to make widespread changes and that’s a concern coming up against such well-drilled opposition.

The hosts have shipped at least two goals in eight of their past nine league fixtures, leaked the third-highest goal tally, taken top honours just four times in 15 matches at Glanford Park, and also reside inside the bottom-six for all three major data points. With that in mind, a canny Cheltenham outfit look well capable of clinching at least a point from this fixture.

Rennes To Bounce Back Against Brest

Rennes suffered only their third defeat in 13 Ligue 1 outings on Tuesday night as Les Rouge et Noir went down 1-0 away Lille. Julien Stephan’s side fell behind to a goal inside the opening five minutes and the Brittany boys rarely threatened to bite back thereafter.

Les Rennais could be forgiven for their lack of spark having gone 120 minutes against Angers in the Coupe de France a week previous, before needing a 97th-minute winner to get past regional rivals Nantes last time out.

Nevertheless, Rennes remain buoyant having accrued the best-ever points tally at this stage of a season and deserve our backing on Saturday.

Sitting attractively in third, Stephen’s troops have a great chance to bounce back to winning ways when Brest arrive. The hosts have registered 10 triumphs from their past 13 Ligue 1 fixtures and produced maximum points in each of their six when welcoming sides outside the top-eight, scoring 14 goals in the process and generating 2.09 Expected Goals (xG).

The hosts, therefore, appear attractively priced at 1.85 to overcome a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle.

This selection would see our selection return a half-stakes profit should Rennes win by exactly one goal, with a full pay-out enjoyed if Les Rouge et Noir run out victorious by two goals or more at their Roazhon Park base.

Rennes boss Julien Stephan will expect a big bounce-back performance from his side this weekend.

Visitors Brest have defied pre-season predictions to sit on the cusp of mid-table thanks to their inspired home form. Brest burgled a point off Bordeaux at home in midweek but Olivier Dall’Oglio’s outfit now have 24 hours less preparation time for Saturday’s match and have been beaten in seven of their 11 away days – including all four trips to the top-half.

Brest were cut to ribbons in their most recent road trip at Dijon and if we exclude rock-bottom Toulouse, the visitors have scored just six goals in 10 away days. In those 10 games as guests, Brest have generated a paltry 0.56 xG from open play, whilst giving up 1.41 on average, allowing almost 19 shots on average and facing just shy of seven shots on-target.

Dall’Oglio’s charges are posting sub-38% ratio returns overall for both Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play, facing a divisional-high tally for attempts from inside the penalty area and are without suspended key centre-half Jean-Charles Castelletto for this clash, making them very easily opposed in this regional match-up.

Recommended Bets

  • Cheltenham +0.25 – 4 units @ 1.82
  • Rennes -0.75 – 3 units @ 1.85