Barnsley vs Bolton Prediction: Trotters can kill Tykes in first leg

 | 2nd May | 

4 mins read


The best part of the Football League season has arrived as the play-offs take centre stage. First up on Friday night is Barnsley vs Bolton (19:30, Sky Sports Football) as this League 1 duo strive to make it back into the second tier. It’s been a rollercoaster year for both sides, with Ian Evatt’s men just missing out on automatic promotion, while Barnsley limped into the top six after failing to win their last six matches.

Here’s my Barnsley vs Bolton prediction, including how I think this first leg will pan out at Oakwell, with the return leg to come on Tuesday night. 

Barnsley vs Bolton Betting Tips

  • Bolton to win @ 6/5
  • #PickYourPunt - Bolton to win, BTTS, Collins and Charles to score @ 8/1

Team News

Both of these teams had something to play for on the final day, so we may see two unchanged line-ups heading into this one. Barnsley’s caretaker manager Martin Devaney chose a front three of John McAtee, Devante Cole and Adam Phillips for the final game against Northampton - and resisted calls to throw talented teenager Fabio Jalo into the starting XI. He could play a big part off the bench here however. 

Bolton missed Paris Maghoma in their draw with Peterborough through illness, but he should recover in time for this one. Ricardo Almeida Santos and Kyle Dempsey both started on the final day, and while Cameron Jerome has scored three from his last three, the experienced forward is expected to start on the bench - with Dion Charles and Aaron Collins set to continue their partnership up top. 

Match Odds

Barnsley are 15/8 to win this first leg, while Bolton are the favourites priced at 6/5. That gives the away side an implied win probability of 45%, while a draw can be backed at 23/10. BTTS is available at 8/15 and over 2.5 goals is 4/6.

Bolton to win @ 6/5

I’ve said this on camera, but I think this two-legged tie will be fairly one-sided. Bolton have been unlucky to miss out on automatic promotion, but they are a fantastic side at this level. Ian Evatt is a fine operator on the touchline, and his side are able to strangle the opposition with the way they keep the ball. 

They are also coming up against a Barnsley outfit who are in disarray. The decision to get rid of Neill Collins with one game to go was a bit of a shock, as the club limped towards the play-offs. They were within touching distance of the top two at one point during the season, but faded away badly and were fortunate that Lincoln lost on the final day, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the top six at all. This should be relatively straightforward for the away side, but I’m keeping things simple with my first pick. Away win. 


#PickYourPunt - Bolton to win, BTTS, Collins and Charles to score @ 8/1

Now for something a little more flamboyant. I’ve already explained the reason for Bolton to win at Oakwell, but I also believe both teams will find the net. Barnsley have one of the highest BTTS percentages in the EFL, with 72% of their matches ending with both teams on the scoresheet. Both teams have scored in their last seven games on the bounce, while Bolton had that 3-3 thriller with Posh on the final day. 

Both teams have also scored in three of Bolton’s last four games, so I’m happy to back that to come in. I’ll also pick out two Bolton goalscorers, given they should be able find the net at will with their quality. Charles has 17 goals to his name this term and is Bolton’s key forward, but his partnership with Collins - who arrived from Bristol Rovers in January - has flourished towards the end of the season. 

Collins, known for his remarkable goalscoring record at the Gas, has scored eight in 19, which is a decent start at a new club. I think they will both be able to tear into this Barnsley backline, in an exciting encounter. 


Check out our other Football Betting Tips here. 

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