Last week was not the greatest for this column, as we went two for five (with one postponement), so our 17/1 sixfold came up considerably short.
This Saturday, we go five-games deep with a heavy dose of EFL League 1 action for our BTTS Accumulator...
Leg 1 - Leeds United vs Plymouth Argyle @ 8/11
The only leg from the FA Cup Fourth Round comes from Elland Road where an all-Championship clash awaits.
Had you backed the BTTS in Leeds game with Preston live on the telly this past Sunday, then you’d have already been counting the winnings after six minutes.
I had naff all to do as I was lounging about the house with a cold, so I actually watched that one and it reminded me just how poor Illan Meslier is when it comes to dealing with crosses.
He’s a fine young shot-stopper but Preston gave him fits from set pieces all game-long and unsurprisingly, their goal came from a scramble in the box following a free-kick that wasn’t cleared properly. Any manager worth their salt will be telling his wide players to just cross the ball as much as possible.
The Pilgrims make the long-journey up to Yorkshire with only Swansea ahead of them when it comes to BTTS in league-play in the second-tier. 68% of their games have resulted in both teams finding the back of the net and every game under the new manager has seen this bet come in.
With this being a cup game and at some point, you’ve just got to go for it, this one gets my full-attention.
Leg 2 - Bristol Rovers vs Oxford United @ 8/13
We are going EFL League 1 heavy this weekend, with no fewer than 80% of our selections coming from this division. Last week I put in Bristol Rovers vs Blackpool, noting that in eight-straight games involving the home side, BTTS had been a winner and mid-way through the first-half, it had come good once again.
Now, Rovers did play in midweek and that nine-game streak ended after a 0-1 home defeat to Exeter City. Matt Taylor’s side did not record one shot on target in the 90 minutes despite having 15 attempts on-goal. That is a very poor ratio and one that I feel is unlikely to be repeated.
They are still head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to this bet being a winner, with 21 of their 27 league-games seeing the BTTS Yes coming out on top (78%). Oxford are also above-average at 56% and you need to go back to the middle of December to see them not be a winner for this.
I don’t see Oxford’s streak ending and Bristol Rovers could easily string a few games together again themselves.
Leg 3 - Carlisle United vs Bolton Wanderers @ 10/11
The longest price of the fivefold comes from Cumbria as lowly Carlisle United welcome in high-flying Bolton Wanderers.
On paper, this might feel like a bit of a punt but the home side have produced BTTS winners in four-straight games and have failed to score only the once at Brunton Park since the end of November. That is a fairly decent run for a side sitting in 23rd position in the league table. They have also conceded in every game during that run.
Only the red-hot Leyton Orient have stopped Bolton from scoring in league-play since they left Fratton Park pointless in what was then, a top-of-the-table clash in early December.
So you have to like the chances of Ian Evatt’s side in finding the back of the net and despite the good defensive record of the Trotters, Carlisle have every chance of grabbing one themselves.
Leg 4 - Port Vale vs Portsmouth @ 4/5
Next up we go back to the well that caused us an issue last week with my lot Portsmouth. John Mousinho changed up his preferred system and went three at the back last week on the road at Fleetwood.
You could look at it and say that it worked as they recorded a clean sheet but that doesn’t take into account just how poor the home side were going forward. Charlie Adam’s side didn’t just fail to provide a threat going forward, they didn’t even seem to try!
I expect Port Vale to provide a bit more offensively and Andy Crosby’s side have actually scored in every completed league game since the end of November. That is an eight-game streak of hitting the back of the net. Last time they went the full 90 minutes (the game at Reading was abandoned), they were part of a six-goal thriller with Charlton Athletic.
With the way Pompey look at the back, I can’t see them keeping another clean sheet but they should fancy themselves to score at least the once on the road.
Leg 5 - Reading vs Leyton Orient @ 4/6
Reading have been a BTTS winner in 16 of their past 18 matches. The two that they failed in? Both against Wigan Athletic.
Leyton Orient are playing about as well as anyone in the league despite sitting in tenth position in the table. They beat Portsmouth on the road comprehensively before backing that up with victory over Bolton Wanderers last time out. So back-to-back wins over two of the top sides in the division and they looked really good in doing it as well.
Defensively, they have really stepped it up. Five clean sheets in a row is not the statistic you want to see when looking at a potential BTTS bet. I can’t deny that but a team sitting in mid-table should not be expected to keep out the other team on so many occasions, that dam has to break at some point soon.
For me, there is no better place than at Reading with their impressive recent run when it comes to finding the back of the net. It is one of those games where polar-opposites are there in terms of recent stats but the O’s have to concede at some point soon, surely…?
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