Well done to readers who have followed our advice in the short time since we launched – 45 tips on Lower League Football, 23 winners for a massive 39.08 units profit – Now is a good time to remind ourselves that we play the value game and, as such, a long game. Well, the game comes to an end this week and so the game is changed. Firstly, this is essentially a one-off round of games, and therefore doesn’t fit with a long game plan. Then there is the unknown nature of the beasts in their unique situations when compared with the rest of the season – it’s quite another thing to fathom the psychological factors that come into play as some throw their last dice for promotion and survival, others have known they’re neither up nor down for weeks, and some fell at the last or got over the line this week. For example, will those freshly relegated have a last defiant stab at showing they’re not that bad (Stevenage at Brentford in League One spring to mind), liberated from pressure etc etc, or will they be checking their watches throughout the match? No idea. So, modest flutters only are recommended this week, folks.
Reading v Burnley
The huge $3.75 for a Burnley win is purely because they have already reached the promised land of the Premier league, while Reading need this one to make the half-landing that is the last play-off place. Reasonable enough, but the Clarets could well pull the ladder up behind them here, so good is their 2013-14 vintage. Certainly, Reading have turned their form around in their last couple, and in Nigel Adkins they have the right type to see them mentally fit ahead of this crucial game. But it’s possible that Burnley will just be too good for them despite all that. They have been for most, and are a bet at $3.75 with LADBROKES.COM.AU
Watford v Huddersfield
Both of these teams are decent, but Watford have finished all of their last few games weakly, and look like their heads have gone. It’s true that both sets of players will have one eye on a far away beach, and “have nothing to play for” so it’s reasonable to ask why the away side is so big. They’re not bad, Huddersfield. Have a tickle at $3.80 with LUXBET.COM or SPORTSBET.COM.AU
Crawley v Bristol City
The Bristoleans at bigger than $3.1 are a good bet. They’ve been excellent against good sides in the division in the last couple of months, notably away from Ashton Gate, while Crawley finish the season following a ridiculous concentration of games due to all their earlier home postponements in the winter. With no obvious reason to soldier on, this might well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Despite good enough results, the Blades haven’t convinced at home since their amazing cup run came to an end and, like Crawley, this could be one game they don’t need after quite a slog of games. Coventry are better away than at home, (which isn’t theirs anyway and will never feel like it). They might fancy this one more than United, and $4.5 with BET365.COM.AUfor them to do so looks good.
Walsall v Colchester
What’s the opposite of riding the crest of a wave of good fortune? Sucking a ditch of despair? Anyway, whatever it is, Colchester did it for a good few weeks prior to their trouncing of runners-up Brentford last week. They had that one in them and I’m kicking myself for not having them. But I will this time against a good Walsall team, but one which hasn’t defended very well at home of late, and Col U can attack. A worthy wager at $4.50 with BET365.COM.AU
Hartlepool v Exeter
Exeter at $3.2 or bigger look more than fair. The reasoning here is that they secured safety last week, they have looked like a side with a collective mental block for much of the season, occasionally released from it away from home, but all too rarely. Plus they beat unbeatable Scunthorpe last week. Hartlepool have been ropey at home in recent times. Take the Devon boys to take the three points with them on the long ride home.
More amateur psychology at work here – don’t say you weren’t warned – Scunny’s awesome 28 game unbeaten run came to an end last week, and that could have punctured the hitherto iron resolve required to sustain it. They’re promoted anyway. However, York have been the team of the last three months in that period. Did you know that since February they’ve won 11 and drawn five without losing any, compared to Scunthorpe’s seven wins and nine draws? Course you did. They’re two very good sides, and York should be something like $3.2, not $4.2, which they are with SPORTINGBET.COM.AUorCENTREBET.COM.AU