League One Betting: Cheltenham can continue to surprise with goals at the DW this weekend

Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley
Alan is backing goals at the DW and is also siding with Danny Cowley's Portsmouth this weekend

Alan Dudman looks ahead to the latest round of League One fixtures and is siding with a surprise for Cheltenham, and Pompey to gain a result at Charlton...

"Their first three games were typical Danny Cowley; grinding out 1-0 wins (twice) and a 2-0. Indeed they had only conceded one goal in their five opening fixtures."

Robins can test league leaders

Wigan Athletic v Cheltenham Town
Saturday 25th September, kick-off 15:00

Wigan are looking to win five consecutive league games for the first time since December 2017, so the 1.845/6 price for a home win is to be expected for Saturday. Manager Leam Richardson has steered them to the top of the table, and the Latics have beaten some of the more fancied teams so far, recording clean sheet victories against Rotherham (1-0) and Portsmouth (1-0).

The Pompey success was back in August, and at that point, Richardson's team had looked as though they hadn't gelled following a bit of a squad overhaul and one of very much in their infancy means they can only get better. Jordan Jones joined from Rangers, Charlie Wyke from Sunderland and James McClean were also added from big clubs, so Wigan are not short of ambition and wage power. Indeed, John Coleman, Accrington manager, mentioned money following their heavy home defeat to Wigan, suggesting three of their opponents players earn more than the entire first time, staff and Under-23s.

Cheltenham would be nowhere near getting those types in. Harsh perhaps, but that's reality. McClean had come from Stoke . Wyke finally got his first and second goals of the season in Saturday's 1-4 win at Accrington, a result that has pushed them into 6.86/1 in the League One Winner market. Richardson had a good front two with Wyke leading the line, taking the hits and winning headers, and the technically excellent Will Keane is able to play off and ghost behind.

Least season's League Two champions have adjusted to life in the third tier well; claiming some decent scalps on the way with victories against Oxford and Charlton most recently.

Michael Duff's troops were even applauded off at the Valley and were full value for their 1-2 win and playing in front of the bigger crowds has given them extra motivation. Thirteen thousand turned up in SE7, while a gameplan switch by Duff to play one up front against Oxford worked, as they sat deeper and negated their press.

They've collected 12 points now and sit comfortably in the top half of the table, and there could be some value in playing on the Draw No Bet here with the visitors at 3.613/5, as they've only lost once on their travels and have scored in every game. The hosts have also netted in all seven of their fixtures.

A cover bet to use is the Both Teams To Score at near-evens.

KEY OPTA STATS: Cheltenham have scored in all eight of their League One matches so far this season, though their 1-0 victory against Oxford last time out was their first clean sheet this season.

DW Stadium 1280 .jpg

Why are Charlton favourites again?

Charlton Athletic v Portsmouth
Saturday 25th September, kick-off 15:00

From Charlton's four games at home so far, they have lost two and scored just three. They are in negative equity too with more goals conceded but they have slid towards the relegation places already. It's early days, but I wonder if Nigel Adkins will last out the season at the Valley?

Adkins experimented with a 3-4-3 against Wycombe, a formation that backfired in search of more attacking intent, but it worked to some extent reverting back to the 4-2-3-1 against Gillingham in midweek, as Charlton earned a point to address a mini-slump of results. Josh Davison's inclusion certainly had a hand in that with more passing on the floor, rather than the team humping it long to Jayden Stockley.

Whether they've got their identity back after one performance is doubtful, but I don't agree with them being favourites for Saturday at 2.68/5. It's perhaps a touch bigger than normal, but it's not a ploy at the moment to be successful in backing the hosts.

Portsmouth have won three of their last four away league games against Charlton, having won just one of their previous 13 (D2 L10), and they are the bigger of the two at 2.8415/8. Pushing out to 2.9015/8 makes them interesting, even though they have dipped a bit since a solid start.

Their first three games were typical Danny Cowley; grinding out 1-0 wins (twice) and a 2-0. Indeed they had only conceded one goal in their five opening fixtures.

Losing a couple of their left-footers forced Pompey into playing a new formation in Tuesday's 2-2 with Plymouth at Fratton Park in what essentially was a crazy game. Portsmouth got done on the counter-attack and their front-press of a four became a three. Cowley likes a bit more control in games, and I suspect this will be more of a low-scoring affair.

The Under 2.5 Goals is 1.715/7, which is a little too short. So I would rather back Pompey on the Draw No Bet at 2.0421/20, as Charlton haven't played well at the Valley at all this term.

KEY OPTA STAT: Only three of the last 33 Football League meetings between Charlton and Portsmouth have ended as draws and none of the last 12 have (eight Charlton wins, four Portsmouth).

Goal-shy Shrews to lose out to Wombles

Shrewsbury Town v AFC Wimbledon
Saturday 25th September, kick-off 15:00

A tricky game to assess with a side that have surprisingly scored a lot of goals with Wimbledon, who are averaging nearly two goals per game against a Shrewsbury side have managed just one at home and three on the road.

The Under 2.5 is favoured by the initial layers treading carefully with this at 1.774/5, and it seems the theme continues as the match odds are exactly the same with the pair at 2.6813/8.

The hosts got what was probably the point of the season against big-spending Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. They didn't stand a chance on the prices and form, and Steve Cotterill aired his frustration at giving a away a cheap goal, as his teams are well-drilled in defending set-pieces. Wednesday incidentally slipped down to 12th and have taken just one point from their last available nine.

Wimbledon were beaten by Plymouth last Saturday, a team in good form, but they suffered with a very sluggish first 45 minutes. They did improve in the second-half but Mark Robinson rued the fact they weren't direct enough in search of an equaliser. Robinson has tried to change their football, so it was interesting to read he wanted a bit more in terms of crosses into the box and direct play.

However, Shrewsbury are yet to keep a clean sheet in League One this season (11 goals conceded), with the Shrews also failing to score in five of their eight games so far, and that stat is enough to tempt me backing the visitors.

KEY OPTA STAT: Despite losing their last league game, only once have AFC Wimbledon had more points eight games into a Football League campaign than the 12 they have this season (16 in 2013-14).

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Alan's P and L

2021/22: +0.22
2017/18 to 2020/21: +34.17pts

*League One bets to a 0.5pt stake

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