A frustrating Easter Monday for Alan Dudman, as a 0-0 correct score bet was scuppered on 85 minutes. With Saturday's matches looming, our man thinks Oldham are a big price for this weekend, and also sides with Sheffield United...
"Oldham's recent home form however under John Sheridan makes them the bet here, and I suspect their price is more to do with league positions as Dale need the win to push for the playoffs, whilst Oldham are six points clear of Port Vale."
The visitors are the right favourites here, and I have no question mark about how the market looks considering the league positions of the two. However, Southend are wobbling a bit in their quest to seal a playoff place - and following four wins on the spin, they have lost three of their last four. It's not a great time to start faltering.
Shrewsbury are not exactly flying themselves. With just one victory in their last nine league games, they are still towards the foot of the table and remain just three points above Port Vale (who currently occupy a relegation spot in 21st position).
Neither are screaming out to back them, although Opta give a positive regarding Southend, revealing they have failed to score in only two of their last 13 league matches against the Shrews. They are capable of scoring goals away from home - and have hit Chesterfield with four and Oldham with three - although they were poor against Bristol Rovers last month.
I've mentioned Shrewsbury's home form before in this column, and it might just be enough to side with them here. In their last 11 matches, they have lost just two, and they were against Millwall and Bolton. It's a fairly even split in terms of the Under 2.5 Goals, as six of the 11 crossed that particular line.
Paul Hurst has done a good job at Greenhous since taking over as manager, and with back-to-back Bank Holiday draws, it might be worth using the Draw No Bet on the home team with the extra insurance.
Back Shrewsbury Town to win 0.5pt @ [3.45]
If you like unpredictability in life, then you might have enjoyed Rochdale's topsy-turvy season. One moment they look like playoff candidates, the next they are lacking winning mentality and losing games they should win.
An example of their up-and-down nature comes courtesy of results in March and April. Last month; all seven of their games hit Over 2.5 Goals with some really entertaining affairs. Indeed, a couple were 3-3 scorelines. You would be forgiven for latching on to a team expecting loads of goals.
Au contraire. Step forward April, with four of their five Under 2.5 Goals, keeping three clean sheets against Port Vale, Coventry and Bury. Although if you were aiming for a clean sheet you would probably pray to have all three of those in opposition.
Unreliability is their middle name. I am not sure I want to back them at such a short price.
Oldham's recent home form however under John Sheridan makes them the bet here, and I suspect their price is more to do with league positions as Dale need the win to push for the playoffs, whilst Oldham are six points clear of Port Vale. According to Opta, the Latics have the most clean sheets at home than any other team in the division (13), and since January they have kept eight.
The run under Sheridan has seen them beat Bolton, Fleetwood and Oxford. They've even drawn with runaway winners Sheffield United.
Rochdale have picked up the win on just two of their last nine away trips to Oldham in the league (D2 L5) according to Opta, and that's enough for me to stick with Sheridan's men.
Back Oldham Athletic to win 0.5pt @ [3.40]
I made the mistake of opposing Sheffield United against Bradford on Easter Monday. The thinking behind the bet was that Chris Wilder's men might have eased off in celebration mode and not been on their game fully for the Yorskhire clash. I got it badly wrong, and was rather disappointed with the effort of the Bantams considering they still had an outside shot at a top-two place.
Therefore admitting the punting error by not taking the [1.96] on offer for Sheffield United last week, do I perform a swift about-turn and go in with Wilder's men at the same price against a weaker team? The answer is yes, and hopefully the celebrations can wait.
United are unbeaten in 15 matches and have won all five of their previous matches. A victory for the Blades here would see them set a new club record for points won in a season.
They could also record six successive wins for the second time this season (something they did between December and January). The argument is that United at least have that record to play for, whilst the MK Dons are safe - but the gulf in points is massive at 36 between the two.
The Buckinghamshire club have started to pick up a few wins at home recently, going LWWDWL in a sequence of six games, but hopefully I can go out on a high with Sheffield United for the final time.
Back Sheffield United to win 0.5pt @ [2.06]
Alan Dudman's P&L 2016/17
League One: -2.77pts
FA Cup: +8.05pts
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