Leagues One and Two return to action after last weekend’s break for FA Cup action. Liverpool remain eight points clear of Leicester at the top of the Premier League while West Brom, Wycombe and Swindon all sit top of their respective divisions. The games are coming thick and fast between now and the New Year and it is a great opportunity for teams to pick up valuable points for their respective causes. Charlie Mullan analyses some of the games that might be worth considering when putting your accumulators together.
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Man City and Man Utd both to score and over 2.5 total goals
The first Manchester derby of the season has a lot to live up to coming three days after Liverpool and Everton combined for seven goals as the Reds romped to a comfortable 5-2 win at Anfield. What will this Manchester derby offer? Another seven goals would be nice, but that might be asking too much. There is certainly a good chance of three goals at least with the pool of talented forwards on the pitch and there is every possibility there will be goals for supporters of both teams to celebrate which has happened in three of the last four meetings between the Citizens and Red Devils.
City’s 4-1 win at Burnley on Tuesday night was their eighth successive game in all competitions in which there were goals for both them and their opponents. The following night, United made it an unhappy return to Old Trafford for former manager Jose Mourinho whose Tottenham team were beaten 2-1 to make it five United games in a row where BTTS has landed. City start as 4/13 favourites and are 6/4 to win with goals for both them and their neighbours who are 14/1 to win with at least one goal for the defending champions. SportPesa are offering odds of 21/20 for both City and United to score and the game finish with a minimum of three total goals scored.
BTTS: Newcastle v Southampton, Luton v Wigan, Blackpool v Fleetwood
It’s been a good week or so for Southampton who have managed to pull themselves out of the relegation zone after winning their last two games. Trying to stay out of the bottom three will be the ultimate test for Ralph Hassenhuttl and his squad of players who backed up their 2-1 come-from-behind win at home to Watford last Saturday with another 2-1 win at St Mary’s on Wednesday night against Norwich. The Saints have been involved in six league matches that have ended 2-1 and that includes four of their last five. Southampton are 37/4 to win this game 2-1 while the home side are 19/2 to win by that exact score.
In the corresponding fixture last season, Newcastle won 3-1 with Ayoze Perez, now at Leicester, scoring a hat-trick. Newcastle, boosted by their 2-0 win at Sheffield United on Thursday night to lift them to 11th, have seen BTTS land in their last three home league games and that includes their 2-2 draw with Manchester City last Saturday. Nine of Southampton’s last 10 games in league and cup games have seen both sides manage to find the back of the net and that includes their last five games on the road. Their last away game was an eventful one after taking the lead twice at Arsenal only to leave the Emirates with a point following a 2-2 draw.
Luton (7/5) and Wigan (19/10) meet at Kenilworth Road in a proverbial six-pointer. Wigan occupy the last relegation spot but they know a win will see Athletic climb out of the bottom three and see the Hatters drop into the dreaded drop zone. Luton have lost six of their last seven games in the Championship and none has been more embarrassing than their 7-0 drubbing last Saturday at Brentford who led 5-0 at the interval. Wigan’s form has been just as bad as their hosts’ with no wins in their last seven since beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 on October 20.
Five of Wigan’s last six games have seen BTTS land including their last three away games while Luton have featured in 13 league games this season where there has been goals for both them and their opponents and that includes their last three at home. Their last game in front of their own fans was a 2-1 win over Charlton when they came from a goal down to take the three points thanks to Izzy Brown’s winner. Wigan’s 3-1 defeat at home to Reading last Saturday was the fifth game in their last six in which BTTS has landed and that includes their last three games away from the DW Stadium.
Fleetwood (27/20) and Blackpool (19/10) meet in the first of this season’s derbies with both teams well placed in League One. Both sides have 29 points but it’s Fleetwood who have the slight advantage sitting seventh, one place above their neighbours who have played two games more than Joey Barton’s side. In the last three derbies, there has been goals for both teams including the Tangerines’ 2-1 win at Bloomfield Road in April. Neither side will want to lose to their neighbours so it’s fair to assume both teams will go for it in this fixture.
Four of Blackpool’s last five home games in League One have ended with goals for them and their opponents including their 4-3 win over Peterborough at the start of November. Fleetwood’s last two league games on the road have seen BTTS land including their 2-1 loss at Bolton the last time they played away in the league. Blackpool are 7/2 to claim the bragging rights with Fleetwood getting at least one goal while Town are 17/4 to claim the away win with BTTS landing. A score draw is trading at 3/1.
2.5 goals: Bournemouth v Liverpool, Fulham v Bristol City, Portsmouth v Peterborough
Questions marks were raised when Jurgen Klopp named his side to face Everton in Wednesday night’s Merseyside derby. There was no place for Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino but it didn’t stop Liverpool scoring five goals in the league for the first time since April when they beat Huddersfield 5-0. Divock Origi (2) and Xheridan Shaqiri made the most of rare starts to score the Reds’ opening three goals inside the first 31 minutes to make it another miserable derby for Everton. The seven goals scored including two by the Toffees meant that 12 of the 13 games played at Anfield this season have seen a minimum of three total goals scored.
If Liverpool (4/9) are in the mood, their trip to Bournemouth (11/2) could see three match goals scored before half-time for the second game running. After going four games with just two total goals scored, three of the Cherries’ last four games have seen over 2.5 total goals land. This fixture generally produces goals with the last five meetings seeing three or more total goals scored. In December 2016, the sides shared seven goals as Nathan Ake’s last minute winner sealed a dramatic 4-3 win for Bournemouth who trailed 3-1 with 14 minutes to play.
Fulham (2/3) have climbed to third in the Championship table after picking up maximum points in their last four games. And their last three games have seen exactly three goals scored in each of them. Last Friday night, Aleksandar Mitrovic was once again Fulham’s hero with both goals in a 2-1 win at Swansea. Mitrovic is the Championship’s leading scorer with 15 . Season ticket holders at Craven Cottage cannot say they are not getting value for money with their last five home games producing three or more total goals.
Bristol City (4/1) can go level with Fulham on 35 points if they come away from west London with a win. A total of 12 goals have been scored in City’s last two games thanks to their 5-2 win over Huddersfield last Saturday which followed a 4-1 defeat at West Brom three nights earlier. SportPesa are offering odds of 5/4 for Fulham to win this game with three or more total goals scored while the visitors are 6/1 to win with a minimum of three total goals scored.
In three of the last four meetings, Portsmouth (1/1) and Peterborough (49/20) have combined for three or more total goals and that includes this corresponding fixture at Fratton Park last season when the Posh won 3-2 with Ivan Toney finding the net twice. If recent games are an indicator, we could see the scoreboard updated three times or more in this fixture. Portsmouth’s 2-1 victory over Northampton in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday night was the sixth successive game in which Kenny Jackett’s side have featured in a game with a minimum of three goals scored.
After five consecutive home games, Peterborough are on the road looking for a win that will help keep the pressure on Wycombe and Ipswich who are the only two teams above them in the table. Three of Peterborough’s last four away league games have seen three of more goals scored and Peterborough are 4/1 to win this one with over 2.5 total goals scored. Portsmouth are 37/20 to win with a minimum of three total goals netted while both teams to score and three total goals scored is available at 1/1.
A £10 bet on the BTTS accumulator has potential returns of £55.23
A £10 bet on the over 2.5 accumulator has potential returns of £43.99