We hit the two third mark of the Sky Bet League 1 season on Saturday and to mark the occasion all 24 teams are in action on another busy and important day as the pictures at both ends of the table begin to get a little clearer.
There is a very interesting race for promotion developing while at the other end of the table the battle to avoid promotion is gathering speed with a number of sides sliding towards the trap door so Saturday is a key day for many.
Saturday’s fixtures are as follows:
AFC Wimbledon v Burton Albion
Blackpool v Walsall
Bradford City v Fleetwood Town
Bristol Rovers v Shrewsbury Town
Charlton Athletic v Southend United
Doncaster Rovers v Peterborough United
Gillingham v Barnsley
Luton Town v Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United v Sunderland
Plymouth Argyle v Portsmouth
Rochdale v Coventry City
Scunthorpe United v Accrington Stanley
If results elsewhere go their way, leaders Luton Town could move a massive nine points clear at the top of the table if they can repeat their FA Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers from earlier in the season. Second placed Barnsley face a trip to Gillingham looking to keep pace with the free-flowing Hatters. Portsmouth in third will look to get their challenge back on track when they make the trip to Home Park to face a resurgent Plymouth Argyle side.
Best of the Rest
Sunderland are another side desperate for a win to keep up with the top two. They make the long trip to Oxford looking for three points while Charlton Athletic host Southend United. At the other end of the table there is a massive match at the Memorial Stadium as Bristol Rovers host Shrewsbury Town while two cup giantkillers meet elsewhere as AFC Wimbledon host Burton Albion. It is the Grant McCann and Darren Ferguson derby as Doncaster Rovers host Peterborough United.
I’ll go with three bets over the course of the afternoon on Saturday and add another outright bet to my portfolio to compliment a punt that is looking in good order. My first bet on Saturday is for Luton Town to cover a goal on the Asian lines when they take on Wycombe Wanderers. Their style of football is absolutely horrific, but credit must go to Wycombe for sitting in ninth spot in their first season back at this level but Luton are a class above them. They are actually showing they are a class above most in this league. The football they displayed here against Portsmouth would beat this entire division and most of the one above it and it will certainly be too good for Wycombe if repeated. Luton have a deep squad and if Wycombe are frustrating them somehow, then the likes of George Moncur, Danny Hylton, Jason Cummings et al can all be unleashed from the bench. I expect Luton to have too much here.
Scunthorpe United boss Stuart McCall made a number of additions to his Scunthorpe United squad in January, but he didn’t throw them straight in, instead choosing to give those already in place at Glanford Park a last chance to impress. He will need to throw some in against Accrington Stanley on Saturday as he has a number of injuries but it could be a good time to freshen up against a Stanley side who’ve fallen off a cliff since then they went to Luton in October. They have won just two of their last 13 while Scunthorpe have won five of their last seven with the two they didn’t win being against Barnsley and Sunderland. It is pointless judging them here based on those matches. I like the Iron in this one. In fact, Accrington’s form has nose-dived so much I think there is plenty of mileage in the 20/1 on Accrington to be relegated. They are only four points above the drop and with a small squad and a good four or five sides either currently improving or likely to when January signings bed in I can easily see a situation in which Stanley get sucked deeper into trouble. They still have to play Sunderland twice and go to Barnsley and Portsmouth. That 20/1 could look real big at some point.
I expected Sunderland to spend big to try and get out of this division in January and they did not let me down. To be fair the additions of Grant Leadbitter, Lewis Morgan and Will Grigg all caught the eye and if they are going to go up then they need to go to places like Oxford and come away with the points. Oxford isn’t the easiest place in the world to go, as Barnsley saw a couple of weeks ago, but there are no excuses for Sunderland now and I’m amazed they are the outsiders here. Sure Oxford are improving but they’ve still only won one of their last eight matches. Sunderland have only lost twice all season and one of those was with 10 men against then leaders Portsmouth. The odds are all wrong here. I’m with the Mackems.
WON – Back Luton Town (-1AH) to beat Wycombe Wanderers for a 4/10 stake at 2.05 with BetVictor
WON – Back Scunthorpe United (0AH) to beat Accrington Stanley for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
PUSH – Back Sunderland (0AH) to beat Oxford United for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
Back Accrington Stanley to be relegated for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 with 888sport