Football betting analyst Mark O’Haire shares his thoughts on his favourite three fancies this weekend with a firm focus on action from the EFL and Scotland.
Rovers On A Roll
Defeat at Wycombe three weeks ago painted a bleak picture for Tranmere.
Eight points adrift of safety and winless in 11 games, Rovers were seemingly sleep-walking their way to relegation back to the fourth-tier.
However, three successive league victories have transformed Tranmere’s campaign, leaving the Wirral club just three points shy of survival. The Great Escape is most definitely on and Micky Mellon’s men can continue their upward trajectory with a positive performance against Lincoln at Prenton Park on Saturday.
The Whites rode their luck a little during a midweek triumph against Blackpool but the confidence, belief and resilience built up in such high-pressurised performances should stand Rovers in good stead for the final run-in.
For the first time in forever, Mellon has a fully fit squad available, as well as options across the park to rest and refresh.
A savage treatment table and fixture congestion wreaked havoc with Tranmere’s plight through the winter months, although savvy January business by Mellon to bolster the squad with experience has had a huge bearing in their revival. Veteran forward James Vaughan has provided goals with Peter Clarke and Mark Ellis providing leadership from the back.
Tranmere are now a confident outfit, well capable of collecting at least a point this weekend, so take the hosts at 2.03 with a +0 start on the Asian Handicap.
The Birkenhead boys have lost just six times in 19 against teams outside of the top-10 (W7-D6-L6) and are up against a Lincoln side with little left to play for, as well as a wretched road record.
The Imps have taken top honours just twice and been beaten in 13 of their 18 away days this term, shipping the opening goal in 14 of their most recent 17 games as guests, trailing at the interval on 12 occasions. Michael Appleton’s men have won once in eight since mid-January and are short on forwards through injuries and January departures.
Follow The Pilgrims
If League Two started in late September, Plymouth would be eight points clear.
The Pilgrims took time to adjust to life back in the fourth-tier having overhauled their squad and coaching team following the arrival of Ryan Lowe.
It took Lowe time to put his identity and ideas across to Argyle and naturally the Greens lost ground on the leading pack. Nevertheless, the Devon giants rarely strayed from the overall picture and a strong promotion challenge has since followed with Plymouth averaging 2.07 points-per-game from their last 27 league outings (W17-D5-L5).
The Pilgrims’ form at Home Park has been exceptional in that sample but Argyle can also boast a solid W6-D2-L2 return when travelling to teams outside the top-nine. And so the visitors appear slightly underrated for their trip to lowly Morecambe this weekend where Lowe’s charges can be backed with a -0.25 Asian Handicap start at 1.94.
Plymouth kicked March off with back-to-back 3-0 victories over Grimsby and Macclesfield at their Devon base and deserve to be worthy favourites at the Globe Arena considering they’ve already taken top honours in four of five unbeaten away days at the bottom-eight.
Morecambe – not yet out of the relegation shake-up in League Two – are winless in four and have tabled only three triumphs against the top-14 this term. The Shrimps have improved immeasurably under Derek Adams’ watch although they’re weakened this weekend with the absence of on-loan Burnley attacking midfield Adam Phillips through suspension.
Knowing only half our stake will be lost should the match end all-square – an outcome in four of Morecambe’s past six Globe Arena encounters – having Argyle onside at almost evens is too good to ignore.
The Green deserve to be 0.50 jollies on the Lancashire coast considering promotion rivals Crewe were when here just a fortnight ago.
Home Is Where The Heart Is For Livi
Finally, Livingston command maximum respect at their Almondvale Stadium on Sunday for the visit of rock-bottom Hearts. The Lions’ have earned 27 (69%) of their 39 Scottish Premiership points this season on their artificial surface, twice denying runaway league leaders Celtic maximum points here already.
The West Lothian outfit are rated third across both Expected Goals (xG) and xG from open play data this term and aren’t yet out of the running for European qualification.
Gary Holt’s group still have plenty to play for this season and should offer beleaguered Hearts serious resistance with no top-tier team boasting a better goals-against record at home.
Hearts have managed a paltry four league victories in 2019/20 and suffered a damaging defeat at relegation rivals St Mirren on Wednesday night. Daniel Stendel accused his players of lacking fight post-match after they were cut four points adrift.
The capital club will bring a vocal support across on the small away journey but it’s difficult to see Daniel Stendel’s troops putting in a winning performance despite a couple of encouraging displays in previous weeks. With Livi already winning eight times here since promotion, the hosts are well capable of adding to that tally on Sunday.
- Tranmere +0 – 3 units @ 2.03
- Plymouth -0.25 – 3 units @ 1.94
- Livingston -0.25 – 3 units @ 1.92