A full programme of League One action has had Alan Dudman looking around for the best bets. Recently improved Scunthorpe and Bournemouth fit the bill...
"The Cherries are flying and secured yet another three points on Saturday with a 4-1 dismantling of Oldham, taking their magical run under Eddie Howe to six wins from seven games."
Preston are unbeaten in November and have yet to taste defeat in their last six games. And according to boss Graham Westley - they are evolving. On Saturday they showed their physical side against Brentford during the 1-1 at Deepdale, and they put the Bees under a lot of pressure.
Their home record is fairly solid, but perhaps just short of a promotion contender side, having collected 13 points from their seven games, with the one criticism perhaps they have drawn too many (four).
A major plus this season was the recent 4-1 win at Stevenage, a destructive performance which was their best display of the season. Westley used a 4-4-2, with young winger Jeffrey Monakana once again impressing. I liked the 18-year-old when I watched him against the MK Dons, he has lots of pace and a trick or two, and can cut in from the flanks.
Never one to miss a chance for some headlines, Westley described Notts County's formation as a 4-6-0, saying they play on the counter-attack and park the bus. Which now means Magpies boss Keith Curle has his pre-match team talk sorted.
In fact, the Midlanders use a really good 4-3-3 with lots of pace in the team. Midfielder Alan Judge is the threat from wide with his delivery, but also his runs from deep are often hard to pick up. They'll play on the counter attack here, but will once again be a major danger to the hosts.
County were involved in a thrilling 2-2 on Saturday at Scunthorpe and I felt Curle sacrificed some of his natural width. However, they score goals on their travels, and remain unbeaten away from home this season. I think they will probe away at Preston and perhaps are slightly overpriced.
The Cherries are flying and secured yet another three points on Saturday with a 4-1 dismantling of Oldham, taking their magical run under Eddie Howe to six wins from seven games. Lewis Grabban hit a second-half hat-trick and highlights how players are finding their form under the new boss, having been rather underwhelming under previous manager Paul Groves.
I am fascinated with the width for this game, as Stevenage are struggling at the moment. Normally the Hertfordshire side are excellent at the back, with a great shape and very hard to break down. However, Gary Smith's men have suffered three defeats in four matches, including two heavy 4-1 losses. Their last six games have all been over 2.5 goals.
The Borough were torn apart by Sheffield United at the weekend, but it was their defending from crosses that was the major worry. Balls whipped in from behind the full-backs caused them all manner of problems, which is where Bournemouth are best.
Howe will probably have to face a 4-5-1 from Stevenage, but I adore the way his full-backs push on, and the one thing the Cherries are good at, is the ability to deliver crosses to their front men. They were excellent in the second half against Oldham with much more aggression going forward, in particular out wide.
The hosts have hit 19 goals during this amazing seven match unbeaten run, whilst Stevenage have too many players under-performing at the moment and are lacking their usual fluidity.
Bury are certainly harder to beat under new boss Kevin Blackwell, and the players have responded to his description that some of the signings were 'garbage' when taking over the job. Although the Shakers are struggling away from Gigg Lane (one win all season), Blackwell has changed the mentality of the team in the past seven weeks.
They were beaten fair and square on Saturday by a good Colchester side, with Bury using a three-man midfield. Prior they had beaten Portsmouth 2-0 on home soil, but their squad is a bit patched up at the moment and they were missing three key players at the weekend.
Scunthorpe are the upgraded version of Bury. They couldn't buy a point under Alan Knill, but new boss Brian Laws has immediately had an impact, gaining two wins and a draw from his three games in charge. The Laws method was to make them more compact, more organised and have a better shape - but they have scored eight goals in those matches and have Leon Clarke who is an expert poacher (who has hit double figures this term).
Scunthorpe used a 4-3-3 in the recent 2-2 draw with Notts County and had some good spells of play. It was pretty much end-to-end and produced some fine build-up work. And that performance showed they have enough momentum and confidence at the moment to be a decent bet this Tuesday.
Back Scunthorpe to win @ 2.265/4