The League One betting bonanza continues this Saturday, with the first of two live Sky TV games over the weekend. Alan Dudman thinks Brentford are the ones to side with in the early kick-off at Sheffield United, in a match where goals might be few and far between...
Live on Sky Sports 2, Saturday 12:45
The Sky cameras have chosen the right game this Saturday, with Brentford chasing Doncaster for the position at the top of the table. Sheffield United are only two points behind with a game in hand, and a chance to bounce back from a surprising 4-0 defeat to Stevenage last weekend.
These two teams met earlier in the season in November, in which the Londoners prevailed 2-0. Brentford boss Uwe Rosler described the Blades as the best team in the league after that victory, but key to the performance was an early goal, which allowed Rosler's side to sit back and defend. Sheffield United couldn't break them down at all.
Sheffield United have wobbled a few times at home this season, notably the amazing loss to basement club Hartlepool over Christmas, so I wouldn't be in a rush to snap up the 2.407/5 on offer. The Blades have been better on their travels too, collecting 10 wins compared to seven at Bramall Lane. Tactically games on the road suit them better, as they can soak up pressure and hit opponents on the counter attack, whereas home pressure and fans dictate a more attacking and commanding display - and that has not always happened.
Brentford appeal at the 3.309/4 odds, and have a fairly decent record away from Griffin Park this season. They have lost only five times, and have conceded only 19 goals on the road from 18 games. Their overall form is two defeats from their last six outings.
Regular readers of this column will know my previous with Rosler's side - in particular with late goals. This was advertised once again last weekend with their 1-0 win against Preston. The winner came in the 96th minute, the umpteenth time this seems to have happened. So remember, backing in-running, get the fingers hovering over the back or lay buttons to cash out.
Uwe Rosler's side have not netted in the first-half of any of their last five league games. Therefore I would be keen on using the half-time draw market to back at around 2.1411/10. This of course brings into play trading opportunities to get involved in the 0-0 correct scoreline, which if proved right to around 60 minutes - will start to tumble dramatically.
The three clashes between Brentford and Sheffield United since the start of last season, which are the only league clashes since the 1988/89 campaign, have all finished 2-0 (with two in favour of the Blades).
Brentford are usually a keen exponent of the passing game, and are very patient in their build-up play. They were slightly different tactically last weekend in beating Preston, as Rosler had them a bit more direct, playing the ball forward quicker than anticipated. Here I think they might sit deeper again, and revert to soaking up the expected home pressure.
The feature of Sheffield United's run of one win at Bramall Lane in 2013 has been their inability to break teams down. Which sets up a perfect bet at the braver under 1.5 goals @ 3.2011/5. United have also kept an astonishing six clean sheets in their last seven matches. I would normally recommend under 2.5 goals, but at 1.654/6 it's too short, and would only get involved in that bet if there was an early goal (to enable backing at a higher price in running).