Sky Bet Weekend Preview - 15th January
Cheltenham Town v Morecambe
Cheltenham take on Morecambe on Friday night looking for a second win in three that would keep them a comfortable distance above the Sky Bet League 2 bottom two. They’re 5/4 with the sponsors to get that victory, while mid-table Morecambe are 23/10 to pick up a sixth away win of the seaon. The draw is 21/10. Cheltenham’s 12 home games in the league this season have featured just 25 goals (11 for, 14 against), while Morecambe’s 12 away games have produced the same number (13 for, 12 against) so, on that basis, this could well be another tight encounter. Indeed, a bet on there being under 2.5 goals would’ve collected in seven of Cheltenham’s last eight and six of Morecambe’s last eight. The Shrimps’ last two games have ended goalless.
Top tip: Under 2.5 goals at 8/13.
AFC Wimbledon v Carlisle United
The Dons have matched victories with defeats in their last six League 2 games, with three of each. Two of those three defeats have come at home, but they’re 21/20 favourites for victory in this one against 5/2 shots Carlisle. Wimbledon haven’t drawn a game since November 22, while you have to go even further back to September 6 for Carlisle’s last league stalemate. It’s a 12/5 chance here. Five of Carlisle’s last eight have featured over 2.5 goals, with Wimbledon’s record similar. The home side’s most potent threat in front of goal is Adebayo Akinfenwa, a 20/1 chance to finish this season as the division’s top scorer, and the 5/1 favourite to net the first goal in this match.
Top tip: Over 2.5 goals at evens
Bury v Wycombe Wanderers
Victory for Bury in this one could lift them back into the play-off spots, and they’re 11/8 favourites for the three points here with division leaders Wycombe and the draw both 21/10 chances. The Chairboys are unbeaten in six, but three of those – including their last two on the road – have been drawn. They’ve edged out Hartlepool and York 1-0 in their last two games. Bury look to be returning to form after an eight-match winless streak with two wins in their last three and are now just 5/2 to claim promotion this season. All in all, a point wouldn’t be a bad outcome for either side and that may be where the best value lies.
Top tip: The draw at 21/10.
Cambridge United v Newport County
Cambridge have made a decent fist of things on their return to the Football League and currently sit comfortably in mid-table. And, of course, there’s the small matter of next week’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United to look forward to as well. Before that though, there’s a tough-to-call league encounter with Newport where the hosts are slight favourites at 13/8, County priced at 9/5 and the draw 21/10. Newport are in superb form themselves, with seven wins in their last eight and the sole defeat coming at high-flying Luton, so Cambridge will need to be focused. Newport have four clean sheets in their last six and can boast a well-structured rearguard which could see goals being at a premium.
Top tip: One or both teams not to score at 4/5.
Mansfield Town v Exeter City
Mansfield will be looking for a sixth home win out of 12 here to lift themselves further clear of the relegation zone, and they’re 7/5 favourites to see off Exeter. The visitors start the weekend only two points outside the play-off zone and are 19/10 to get three points here and boost their push for promotion, for which they are priced at 20/1 with Sky Bet. Exeter’s form has fallen away a little of late, with four defeats in the last five, while Mansfield have just one win to their name in the last six league games. This fixture ended goalless last season and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see another stalemate here – no goalscorer can be backed at 8/1.
Top tip: The draw at 9/4.
Northampton Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
There have been encouraging signs for Northampton in 2015. Having ended 2014 with five straight defeats, the Cobblers have taken four points from two games in the New Year and are odds-on at 17/20 to make that seven points from nine when they host Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend. A draw can be backed at 12/5 with the visitors 100/30 to depart with the points. Dagenham’s very recent form is also solid enough with a win and two draws in their last three games, but there has only been one goal across those matches and it may pay to expect goals to be in short supply in this clash.
Top tip: One or both teams not to score at 5/6.
Oxford United v Southend United
Southend hope to consolidate their position in the Sky Bet League 2 play-offs with victory at Oxford on Saturday. The Shrimpers are the 5/4 favourites for victory at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford can be backed at 11/5 and the draw is available at 23/10. Southend have drawn their last three games in a row but it’s only one defeat in their previous nine matches for Phil Brown’s men as they look to cut the gap to the automatic promotion slots. Oxford have been hit-and-miss lately with one win, one draw and one defeat from their last three contests. Their Danny Hylton is the 5/1 favourite to get the first goal of the game, with the visitors’ Barry Corr and Lee Barnard shortest in the same market at 6/1.
Top Tip: The draw at 21/10
Plymouth Argyle v Luton Town
This should be a cracking contest at Home Park as two of the sides in the Sky Bet League 2 play-off zone clash. Hosts Plymouth are the 6/4 favourites to claim the win, Luton can be supported at 2/1 and the draw is made available at the same price. The Pilgrims will be desperate to get back on track after four games without a three-point haul but their defence has been in form with the previous two matches finishing 0-0. Luton’s last outing at home to Shrewsbury also ended up goalless so it makes sense to have a look at 13/2 available for a 0-0 draw.
Top Tip: A 0-0 draw at 13/2.
Portsmouth v Burton Albion
Burton know that victory at Portsmouth, coupled with Wycombe failing to beat Bury, will see them move back to the top of Sky Bet League 2. The Brewers, though, are the 19/10 outsiders for the three points at Fratton Park. Portsmouth have been made the 6/4 favourites by League sponsors Sky Bet and the draw is priced up at 21/10. Burton have won four and drawn two of their last six matches so are very much a side in form. Meanwhile, Portsmouth are on an altogether different run with four defeats and two draws in their most recent six games. Look for Burton to make a quick start here - you can back the Brewers at 11/10 to score the first goal of the game.
Top Tip: Burton to score first at 11/10.
Shrewsbury Town v Hartlepool United
Shrewsbury are the big odds-on favourites at 2/5 to beat bottom-of-the-table Hartlepool on Saturday. The Shrews hope that three points will see them return to the automatic promotion places after slipping to fourth at the end of the last round of matches, however despite the slide they remain Sky Bet’s favourites to win the League 2 title at 9/4. Hartlepool enter this contest on the back of their first victory in 12 Sky Bet League 2 games and are 7/1 to make it back-to-back successes. The draw has been priced up at 100/30. Seven of Shrewsbury’s last eight games have seen under 1.5 goals scored so have a look at the 5/2 about that happening again.
Top Tip: Under 2.5 goals at 5/2.
Tranmere Rovers v Accrington Stanley
Tranmere are hoping that victory at home to Accrington will see them climb out of the Sky Bet League 2 relegation places. Rovers need favours from elsewhere to get out of the bottom two but they are the 6/5 favourites for three points on Saturday. Accrington have been made the outsiders for the win at 23/10 and the draw can be found at 9/4. Tranmere’s recent league form has been decent with two wins, two draws and one defeat in their last five. Accrington won 2-1 at Exeter last time out and that made it seven out of their last nine matches in which both teams had scored. You can get 5/6 for both Tranmere and Accrington to net at Prenton Park and that seems a fair bet.
Top Tip: Both teams to score at 5/6.
York City v Stevenage
Stevenage travel to York as one of Sky Bet League 2’s form sides with four wins and a draw claimed in their last five matches. Graham Westley’s men now sit only one point outside the play-off places behind Plymouth. Stevenage are though rated as the outsiders at 12/5 to take three points back with them on Saturday from their trip north. York have been made the 6/5 favourites for the win and the draw is available at 11/5. The Minstermen lost 1-0 at Wycombe in their previous match but did finally end their long wait for a home win this season when defeating Accrington on Boxing Day. Neither team have tended to come out of the blocks with all guns blazing this season so take a look at the 10/11 for the match to be a draw at half-time.
Top Tip: Draw at half-time at 10/11.
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