The Premier League is back from its first winter break with a full programme of fixtures. Elsewhere, the promotion picture in the EFL continues to change from one week to the next. Who will enhance their title or promotion hopes and who will be edged closer to relegation? Charlie Mullan has analysed all the domestic fixtures to bring you some of the bets worth considering this weekend.
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BTTS: Southampton v Aston Villa, Bristol City v West Brom, Leyton Orient v Oldham
Southampton (5/8) and Aston Villa (4/1) meet at St Mary’s in a game where, on paper, there should be goals for both sides. Aston Villa’s 3-2 defeat at home to Tottenham last Sunday was the ninth successive league and cup game involving the Villans that has seen goals for both them and their opponents. In a strange game, Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld opened the scoring with an own goal before scoring at the right end all within the first 27 minutes. In the second half, Bjorn Engels’ goal looked like giving Villa a point but his error allowed Heung-Min Son to score the winner with virtually the last kick of the game. It was revealed after the game that Son had fractured his arm during the game to add insult to injury for Villa.
Southampton came from a goal down to level matters in the 18th minute of their 2-1 home defeat to Burnley thanks to yet another goal from Danny Ings – his 18th of the season. Ings has scored 47 per cent of Saints’ 32 league goals and he will be keen to add to his impressive tally against a Villa defence that last kept a clean sheet on Boxing Day when they beat Norwich 1-0. BTTS has been a regular occurrence in past meetings with all nine of Villa’s visits to St Mary’s seeing at least one goal for them and one for Saints. SportPesa are offering odds of 2/3 for BTTS to land in this fixture. A score draw like the 1-1 draw the last time Villa went to Southampton is trading at 7/2. Southampton are 19/10 to win with at least one goal for Villa who are 27/4 to win with BTTS landing.
After a sticky spell that saw them pick up just four points from seven games over Christmas and throughout January, West Brom (10/11) look like they have got their push for automatic promotion back on track. A haul of 10 points from a possible 12 has seen the Baggies open up a four-point lead over Leeds at the top of the Championship and Slaven Bilic’s side are now seven points clear of third-placed Fulham. This weekend, Albion travel to Bristol City (59/20) in what promises to be a tricky fixture for the league leaders. City are seventh and have a play-off place in their sights between now and the end of the season. Analysing recent encounters between these two sides would suggest there could well be goals for both the Robins and the Baggies. The last nine league meetings have seen at least one goal for City and one for the Albion.
Goals for both teams has happened in West Brom’s last four visits to Ashton Gate including a five-goal thriller last season when City raced into a 3-0 lead after just 19 minutes. Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez pulled goals back for the visitors, but Albion were unable to complete what would have been a remarkable comeback. Recent form would suggest both goalkeepers will be picking the ball out of their respective nets with City’s last two home league games seeing BTTS land while West Brom’s 2-2 draw at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday was their second successive game in which there were goals for the Baggies and their opponents. SportPesa are offering odds of 5/7 for BTTS to land in this game. A score draw is available at 7/2 while City are 6/1 to win with BTTS landing. The visitors are 49/20 to win with the home side scoring at least one goal.
Leyton Orient (13/10) go into their home League Two game with Oldham (9/4) one place and one point better off than their visitors who have drawn five of their last seven games. That includes a 1-1 draw at home to Forest Green last Saturday. Gevaro Nepomuceno gave Oldham the lead early in the second half which looked like being enough to earn the Latics all three points. But there was a late sting in the tail when George Williams levelled two minutes from time. It was the third successive game involving Oldham in which BTTS had landed and the sixth time in their last seven games in which it has occurred. A trip to Leyton Orient will be a test of character for Noureddine Maamria’s side as the O’s are unbeaten in their last five home games with two wins and three draws.
In their last game in front of their home supporters, Orient beat Mansfield 2-1 in a midweek game with a Malvind Benning own goal deciding the game. That was their sixth successive league game since a goalless draw with Bradford on December 14 in which there have been goals for both the O’s and their visitors to the Matchroom Stadium. Both teams to score in this fixture is on the market at 4/5 while a score draw like the 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture earlier this season is available at 59/20. Orient are 33/10 to win with goals for both teams while Oldham are 21/4 to win with the home side scoring at least one goal.
Over 2.5 goals: Charlton v Luton, Preston v Hull, Ipswich v Oxford
For many weeks and indeed months, Luton (47/20) were good value to deliver in terms of being involved in games with over 2.5 goals scored. The Hatters went on a run where all but one of their 19 league and cup games from October 19 to February 1 saw at least three goals scored. Since then, their last four Championship games have seen under 2.5 goals scored. However, this trip to Charlton (5/4) promises to be an open game as both sides will be targeting all three points in their respective quests to stay in the Championship. Charlton have a bit of breathing space between them and the trap door to League One with a five-point gap separating them from Wigan in 22nd spot.
The last eight meetings between Charlton and Luton have seen both teams score with the last seven producing three or more goals including the last three at the Valley. This was a League One fixture last season with both games producing exactly four goals. In fact, prior to Luton’s 2-1 win at Kenilworth Road earlier this season, the total goals scored in the last six meetings have been four, four, four, four, four and eight. Of the last six home games Charlton have played, four have seen over 2.5 goals land including their 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Barnsley. SportPesa are offering odds of 4/5 for this game to have three or more match goals. Both teams to score and combine for at least three goals is trading at 11/10 while the Addicks are 21/10 to win with over 2.5 goals scored. Luton, who have won their last two games 1-0, are 4/1 to win this game with over 2.5 match goals landing.
The fear among Hull City (9/2) supporters when they saw Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen leave just before the end of the January transfer window, was where are the goals going to come from. The departed duo scored 22 of City’s 43 Championship goals this season but last week’s 4-4 draw at home to Swansea when they equalised in the closing stages after leading three times, showed there is life after Bowen and Grosicki. Before scoring those four goals against the Swans, the Tigers had only managed four goals in their previous seven league games. Defensively, it’s nine games and counting since Grant McCann’s Tigers kept a clean sheet and they will do well to keep Preston to nil.
The promotion chasers have scored in their last seven games and will be confident of scoring against a leaky City rearguard that has now conceded 51 league goals in 33 league games this season. City’s eight-goal thriller last Friday night was the fifth time in their last six in which three or more goals had been netted in their matches. And when they play Preston, the goals flow with five of the last six – including the last three at Deepdale – producing a minimum of three goals. In the reverse fixture at the KCOM Stadium, City won 4-0 with three of the goals coming from Bowen and Grosicki. SportPesa are offering odds of 20/27 for this game to have three or more goals scored while you can get 23/20 for both teams to score and over 2.5 goals. Preston are 27/20 to win with over 2.5 goals landing while the visitors are 29/4 to win with three or more goals scored.
The promotion hopes of Oxford (41/20) came off the rails just after Christmas when they picked up just one win from eight games before Tuesday’s emphatic 5-0 win at home to AFC Wimbledon. It may prove too little, too late, but Karl Robinson and his players will continue to fight for a place in the play-offs until the curtain comes down on their season. A five-point gap to overhaul is not beyond them, but the margin for error between now and the end of the season is very small and they will really need to beat Ipswich (13/10) if they are to keep their promotion hopes alive. The two sides played out a goalless draw in a midweek game last month but expect goals in this one. Oxford’s big win at the expense of AFC Wimbledon was the fifth time in their last six games in which over 2.5 goals would have paid out.
The last two league games Ipswich have played at home have ended 4-1. The first was a defeat to Peterborough at the start of the month while the second was last Saturday when they beat Burton with Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson both scoring twice. The last four meetings at Portman Road have seen three, seven, three and three goals scored so expect goals this weekend especially as eight of the last 12 encounters have produced a minimum of three goals. SportPesa are offering odds of 21/20 for this game to produce over 2.5 goals while BTTS and over 2.5 goals is available at 27/20. Ipswich are 53/20 to win this game with three or more total goals scored while Oxford are 17/4 to win with over 2.5 goals landing.
A £10 bet on the BTTS accumulator has potential returns of £52.40
A £10 bet on the over 2.5 goals accumulator has potential returns of £71.00