Official betting partner's take on Saturday's games
Northampton Town v Luton Town
Northampton have lost back-to-back games which leaves them five points from the play-off places but Sky Bet make them favourites here at 13/10. The Hatters remain in the thick of the hunt for a top-six berth, despite Tuesday’s home defeat to Wycombe, and can be backed here at 21/10 for a crucial three points with the draw on offer at the same price. The pair met back in October when Luton came out on top 1-0 at Kenilworth Road – a similar scoreline is a 13/2 chance while under 2.5 goals can be backed at 4/7. But there does not look to be a lot between the pair currently as they scramble to find their best form and a draw looks the way to go.
Top tip: The draw at 21/10
Accrington Stanley v Newport County
Accrington look to arrest a run of six Sky Bet League 2 games without victory when they face promotion hopefuls Newport at the Store First Stadium on Friday night. John Coleman’s Stanley side needed a 90th minute equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw against York City at home on Saturday and are 17/10 to pick up all three points this time out. The visitors, marginal favourites in Sky Bet’s match betting at 6/4, are unbeaten in their last three and occupy the final play-off place heading into the weekend’s round of games. The two sides played out a 1-1 draw earlier in the season and a repeat outcome is 9/2 favourite in the correct score market, while both teams to score can be backed at 4/5. Newport haven’t been too prolific on the road of late and, with a tight encounter anticipated, backing the away side to score exactly one goal at 6/4 looks a potential route to eke out a small profit.
Top Tip: Newport to score exactly one goal at 6/4
Bury v Southend United
A mouth-watering fixture is in prospect as fourth welcome fifth to the JD Stadium in Sky Bet League 2. Bury go into the game with Southend as the form team in the league having won five of their last six outings and Sky Bet make them favourites at 13/10 to pick up all three points, with United 21/10 and the draw chalked up at the same price. The Shakers, fourth in the table and 4/6 to be playing in the third tier of English football next season, are on a high heading into the final eight matches of the campaign after beating Northampton at the weekend, but the home fans shouldn’t be expecting fireworks as they’ve been grinding out the results of late. The game ended in a 1-1 draw when these two met in the league back in October and Southend will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet again as they have at Burton and Dagenham in their last two away trips. But the feel-good factor in the home set-up may just be enough and a Bury win by a one-goal margin is fairly priced at 11/4.
Top Tip: Bury to win by exactly one goal at 11/4
Cheltenham Town v Plymouth Argyle
Cheltenham’s scrap for Sky Bet League 2 survival took a dent when beaten at home by Exeter last Saturday but that came after a run of three creditable draws and they look to get back on the winning trail against Plymouth at the Abbey Stadium. The home side are 21/10 to do just that, with Plymouth 13/10 for all three points. Argyle, who have slipped outside of the play-off places following a run of just one win in their last six, won the corresponding fixture at home earlier in the season but look vulnerable favourites having been beaten to nil in each of their last three away games. Both teams to score rates a reasonable even-money chance, despite that record, but the draw looks the way to go with both sides desperate for points and 21/10 is worth snapping up.
Top Tip: The Draw at 21/10
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wycombe Wanderers
Dagenham have enjoyed a decent run of form since the turn of the year and are now more likely to be pitching for a late play-off charge than worrying about a potential end-of-season relegation dogfight. Jamie Cureton has scored 14 league goals for the Daggers, who are 9/4 for victory here, and he’ll be a menace to the Wycombe defence here. Wanderers were involved in a thrilling match with Luton Town on Tuesday night, ultimately seeing out a goalless second half after going into the break 3-2 to the good at Kenilworth Road. That win saw Wycombe move level on points with second-placed Shrewsbury and Gareth Ainsworth’s side are now 11/2 to lift the title and 1/6 for promotion. Providing they’re over those midweek exertions, 23/20 against the away win will tempt plenty of punters and you can get 7/4 for Wycombe to lead at half-time.
Top Tip: Wycombe to lead at half-time at 7/4
Exeter City v Morecambe
Exeter are unbeaten in their last five games and look to continue their push for a play-off place when they play host to Morecambe on Saturday. City are four points behind seventh-placed Newport heading into the weekend’s action but will be confident of picking up all three points at St James’ Park. The Sky Bet League 2 sponsors make Paul Tisdale’s side 6/5 favourites against a Morecambe side with just one win in their last six. The Shrimps have, however, lost just one of their last eight on the road and on that evidence there’s plenty to recommend Morecambe at 6/5 with the draw-no-bet concession. Jim Bentley’s side are 21/10 for the win, with Jack Redshaw and Kevin Ellison both worth considering in the anytime goalscorer market. At a bigger price, consider Paul Mullin to score last as the talented young striker has really caught the eye this season and is likely to be used as a second-half substitute.
Top Tip: Paul Mullin to score last at 8/1
Hartlepool United v Cambridge United
Marginally preferred by the punters, 8/5 favourites Hartlepool go into Saturday’s clash with Cambridge (9/5) as the League 2 basement-dwellers, but their form over the last six games alone is good enough to see them fifth in the form table. They’ve won seven of their 18 matches under manager Ronnie Moore, who took over in December, but remain 2/7 in the relegation market. Cambridge, in the relative safety of 18th place in the standings, have only won one in six, that victory coming at Morecambe at the end of last month, and they’ve drawn three of their last four. The draw looks a big player here at 2/1 on that evidence and must be considered closely, with under 2.5 goals another interesting angle at 8/15. There were three scored when United emerged 2-1 victors in the corresponding fixture earlier this season but Hartlepool’s last seven matched have all failed to break the 2.5 barrier and the visitors haven’t scored more than a single goal in their last five outings.
Top Tip: The draw at 2/1
Mansfield Town v York City
Two teams battling for three points towards the wrong end of the table clash at the One Call Stadium and the Sky Bet odds suggest a close tussle with the hosts trading at 8/5 with the Minstermen 7/4. The Stags arrive on the back of 1-0 defeat to bottom club Hartlepool on Saturday and both clubs are among the lowest scorers in the division so them not to score in the 90 minutes is a 4/5 chance. That said, York did manage two goals in their weekend draw at Accrington and if there is a flurry of action then over 2.5 in the match can be backed at 11/8. But with both teams looking evenly matched and perhaps keen not to be on the wrong side of the result, a stalemate could be the most tempting option from the coupon.
Top tip: The draw at 2/1
Oxford United v Carlisle United
Three points here would be very valuable for either team as they look to put some distance between themselves and the bottom two relegation places. Oxford have suffered back-to-back 2-0 defeats and a similar scoreline for them again is on offer with Sky Bet at 14/1. The U’s are favourites to get back on course now at 21/20 with Carlisle 5/2 and the draw at 23/10. The visitors are one place and two points below Oxford in the current standings. Carlisle have lost just one of their last five fixtures and I get the impression this will be a pretty cagey encounter – get on the 4/7 for under 2.5 goals in the match.
Top tip: Under 2.5 goals at 4/7
Portsmouth v Shrewsbury Town
Three wins from their last five starts mean the Shrews are still on course for an automatic promotion place and they are 5/4 favourites with Sky Bet to claim another three points. Pompey sit in mid-table but a late surge could still see them get into the play-off places despite just one win in their last six outings. They can be backed here at 21/10 – the draw is the same price. Shrewsbury won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in October and a similar scoreline can be backed at 17/2. Both look well capable of producing an entertaining encounter at Fratton Park and I would be tempted by over 2.5 goals with Sky Bet at 6/5.
Top tip: Over 2.5 goals at 6/5
Tranmere Rovers v AFC Wimbledon
Tranmere are teetering on the edge of the relegation places after a run of form that has seen them lose six and win just one of their last seven games. Sky Bet make Rovers 6/4 to secure three points and boost their survival hopes against a team in mid-table who are somewhat inconsistent themselves with two wins and two defeats from their last four fixtures. The Dons are 17/10 here with the draw 11/5 – the pair shared a 2-2 stalemate back in their first encounter in October. With that in mind, both teams to find the net at a fraction of odds-on makes some appeal.
Top tip: Both teams to score at 10/11
Burton Albion v Stevenage
League leaders Burton are the shortest-priced team on the League 2 coupon this weekend at 4/5 with Sky Bet as they try and make it five consecutive victories. They have conceded just twice during that golden spell and a win to nil here can be backed at 21/10. The visitors trade at 100/30 while the draw is 12/5 as ninth-placed Stevenage still have plenty on their plate with a play-off place well within their grasp. A recent 1-0 home loss to Dagenham & Redbridge ended a lengthy unbeaten spell and that should give them additional motivation to right the ship – they are 5/6 with Sky Bet with a one-goal start on the handicap and that should make them competitive.
Top tip: Stevenage (+1) at 5/6
Sky Bet are the Title Sponsor of The Football League. This season, a £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund will go to a Football League club to spend on players in the summer transfer window.
Fans who bet with Sky Bet generate Transfer Fund Tokens and go into a random draw to win a £5,000 prize – and the £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund for their Football League club.
To sign up, go to www.skybet.com/transferfund and select the Football League team you support.