Alan Alger from Blue Square Bet looks ahead to Saturday’s matches.
I put a list of important statistics in my Non-League Paper column on Sunday which focus on a number of things Blue Square Bet Premier teams must achieve (or in some cases avoid) by their tenth game if they want to be champions of this very competitive division. The ‘ESSENTIALS’ after game 10 are as follows: Must have won at least 4 games, must not have lost more than 3 games, must have scored at least 15 goals, must have a positive goal difference, must have shown the ability to win back-to-back matches. All of those ‘essential’ stats have been achieved by the last 12 champions of the division.
With the eighth game of the season approaching this weekend some clubs will already have been ‘eliminated’ by the figures. Others have three matches to get up to speed. Teams towards the top of the early table are obviously in a prime position and second placed Luton Town remain our strong favourites for the title at 13/8 with new leaders Forest Green Rovers offered at a best price of 6/1 for title success.
Luton are one of three teams to feature as odds-on away favourites in Saturday’s matches in the BSBP. Paul Buckle’s team are 8/13 to win at Alfreton and maintain their 100% record on the road. The hosts are yet to win at home, but achieved a 2-1 victory at Lincoln City in midweek. Nicky Law’s team are 18/5 to win the game but will have to improve defensively having conceded 17 goals already and now taking on a side with extreme firepower. Forest Green are now the only unbeaten team in the division and sit proudly at the top of the table. Dave Hockaday’s side have conceded just five goals in their seven matches and travel to Grimsby Town off the back of four straight wins. Our prices have taken a view that the Gloucestershire outfit have not been tested fully yet and could be in a false position. We make them a best price of 2/1 to win at Blundell Park. Grimsby have only lost one game so far, but a number of draws see them just off their likely minimum target of a ‘top 5′ spot. Their last home game was a 4-1 win over Mansfield Town and I expect them to give their home crowd something to cheer about again with a win priced at 6/5.
Newport County are 8/11 favourites to get back to winning ways with a home victory over Stockport County. Justin Edinburgh’s team have experienced successive defeats away from home as they were toppled from the summit of the table. Stockport failed to build on a double-victory in the first week of the season and arrive at Rodney Parade winless in their last 5 matches. They are 7/2 outsiders to win away from home for a second time in the campaign after a decent win at Grimsby Town in August. Macclesfield Town are the shortest priced home favourites of the day at 8/13 to beat visitors Braintree Town. The Essex side arrive at Moss Rose in good form, unbeaten in three matches with new signing Dan Holman scoring in each of them. Alan Devonshire’s team are 18/5 outsiders to win their third away game of the season. Wrexham continued their run of clean-sheets with a professional 2-0 win over Hyde at The Racecourse in midweek. Andy Morrell’s team moved up to fifth spot in the table but now face a tricky journey to Cambridge United. The U’s have been in poor form of late though and the away side might fancy their chances at a price of 6/4. A home win is offered at the same price, as Jez George’s side look to end a four match winless run.
Hereford United got back to winning ways with victory over Woking at Edgar Street in midweek. Martin Foyle’s side are sixth in the table and go to bottom club Hyde as the 10/11 favourites. Hyde are still looking for their first win at a price of 5/2. Scott McNiven’s side have only found the net four times in their opening seven games and that will need addressing if they are to climb out of the relegation zone anytime soon. Gateshead lost their unbeaten record at Southport on Tuesday, when they were fancied to extend it and confirm their promotion credentials. They now host a Dartford side who have put together an incredible run of four victories. Tony Burman’s team have shown no fear in wins over play-off contenders Cambridge and Newport in recent weeks and Gateshead will have to be on their game fully to justify odds of 4/6. The visitors from Kent are 18/5 to make it an outstanding five from five! Mansfield Town have won four of their last five matches to overcome a poor start to the season. The Stags will still have to maintain that form to catch up with their likely promotion rivals. Paul Cox takes his team to Ebbsfleet as the 10/11 favourites to gain another valuable three points. The Fleet haven’t won since the opening day and have shipped 18 goals already this season. Liam Daish’s men are 5/2 to get their first home win.
AFC Telford United failed to justify their unusual position as favourites in an away game in midweek. The 3-1 defeat at Nuneaton included the first away goals they’d conceded this season. Andy Sinton’s side now host struggling Lincoln City at the New Bucks Head. The Imps have not won since the opening day and that could mean that Telford are worthy favourites to bounce back at 10/11. Tamworth have slipped to three straight defeats, dropping them from 3rd in the table to 13th. Boss Marcus Law has a few selection headaches for this weekend’s match at home to Barrow. The Bluebirds are yet to win this season but could sense an away success at a price of 14/5 due to the home side’s injury and suspension woes. A home win is priced at 5/6, but anybody wishing to back it may be advised to wait for the line-ups. Blue Square Bet North play-off winners Nuneaton Town travel to another newly promoted side Woking. The visitors are unbeaten in their last two away games and have settled nicely just below mid-table. They are 5/2 to win at Kingfield, a Woking victory is priced at 10/11. Kidderminster Harriers are another club looking for their first win of the season. They have two points on the board from successive draws and their fans (and promotion backers) will see that as a glimmer of hope. Their home game with Southport sees them offered as Evens favourites. Southport have won two of their last three games and can be backed at 12/5 to win at Aggborough.
Alan’s Best Weekend Treble:
AFC TELFORD UNITED to beat Lincoln City
WREXHAM to win at Cambridge United
GRIMSBY TOWN to beat Forest Green Rovers
Remember you can earn money for your club when you register and place bets with Blue Square Bet – visit www.bluesq.com/fans for more details.