League One Betting: Wanderers to continue their title challenge

Bolton centre-back David Wheater (right) has seven goals this season
Bolton centre-back David Wheater (right) has seven goals this season

With just five games to go in League One, Alan Dudman previews three key games this weekend, and is banking on Bolton to keep their away run going....

"Bolton are epic away from home, and the addition of winger Filipe Morais was a masterstroke from Phil Parkinson, as his delivery is world-class. His assist ability has been a big factor in the Wanderers picking up their form."

Back Bolton Wanderers to win @ 2.608/5

Oldham Athletic 3.02/1 v Fleetwood Town 2.588/5, the draw 3.259/4

Perhaps the most redundant market for this match is the Over 5.5 Goals. Oldham don't score many at home, in fact with just 15 at Boundary Park all season, they have the worst attack in League One by some distance.

That's not to say they are a bad side at the moment, and new boss John Sheridan has got a tune out of the players to take them up to 18th in the table. For a team that struggle so badly in front of goal, that rates a job well done for 'Shez' so far. He called on his men to be more attacking a couple of weeks ago, but their pitch is not built for the beautiful passing game. Over 2.5 Sandcastles maybe.

Sheffield United were held 1-1 recently at Oldham, and Blades' boss Chris Wilder shunned any sort of tactical post-match talk by simply summing up the game as "who booted the ball the best". I'm not sure this will be pretty, and with all the sand on the pitch, I am half expecting Greg Rutherford to turn up and jump off the long run.

Fleetwood annoyed me on Wednesday, so did Rochdale actually. As a punter there is nothing worse than tipping and backing a side to win, who fail when backed, and bounce back immediately with a win just a few days later. It shows if you fancy a team at this level, they cannot do it every game.

The Cod Army set up in a different formation for the 3-1 victory at Oxford - arguably a tougher game on paper than the home match against Swindon in which I backed and tipped them. Town boss Uwe Rosler used a 4-1-4-1 instead of the customary wing-backs in a 3-5-2. Amari'i Bell was outstanding used further up the pitch, and West Ham are reportedly linked to him.

Oldham's home form warrants an interest here, but their games against the big boys recently have been low-scoring affairs. 1-1 with Sheffield United, 0-0 with Millwall and 0-1 versus Charlton means we should look that way again. Correct Score backers should note that the Latics have collected five 0-0 draws at home this term.

Recommended Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals 0.5pt @ 1.855/6

Charlton Athletic 2.962/1 v Southend United 2.608/5, the draw 3.3512/5

I mentioned in a recent column that Charlton were not a good side, and things are clearly not working for Karl Robinson there. I thought he would have been a good appointment as a manager that knows the division inside out, but his damning words in midweek in saying "we're far, far from a good team" means that the Londoners are in for a nervy end of season.

There was £31 to take at 32.031/1 in the Relegation Market at the time of writing, but they are only four points above the drop zone and Port Vale have a game in hand. It would be unthinkable to see the Addicks play in the division below, although Leyton Orient's demise is just as sad in League Two. These are worrying times for London football fans.

Charlton lost three on the spin with a 0-2 defeat against the MK Dons in midweek. Robinson went with a diamond, but he said players were lacking bravery in not wanting the ball and turning their backs. Whatever level you have played, you will know that is an extremely worrying sign. Reports saying no fight, no energy and no effort are just as damning.

Robinson's team are just one victory in 14, so they must be opposed, especially as the nerves will be more apparent at home.

If the hosts lost to MK Dons, they should fear Southend who are a better team. They are currently in the playoff places and are fairly good at the back with a defensive record of conceding just 23 on their travels. They might have suffered a 1-0 loss to Bolton on Tuesday, but they won three successive matches prior to that, and are worth going with again on the Draw No Bet market.

Recommended Bet
Back Southend United Draw No Bet 0.5pt @ 1.9010/11

Scunthorpe United 2.9015/8 v Bolton Wanderers 2.608/5, the draw 3.4012/5

I watched the live Sky game involving Scunthorpe United and Bradford recently, and I couldn't believe how open the 90 minutes were. Having tipped the draw it took me a while to get over the 3-2 scoreline as the Bantams hit the bar in the dying embers of the game. But the defence of Scunthorpe worried me.

Things are not looking good for the Iron either for Saturday, as manager Graham Alexander has recently lost eight first-time regulars in a short space of time, and the latest expected to miss this weekend is full-back Harry Toffolo. Young players could get their chance, and Alexander is most certainly down to "bare bones".

Whilst United are in danger of dropping out of the top six for the first time this season, Bolton are chugging along nicely. As my antepost tip to win the title, we are still in there with a fighting chance. After Burton last season, another second will be a further kick in the teeth.

Bolton are epic away from home, and the addition of winger Filipe Morais was a masterstroke from Phil Parkinson, as his delivery is world-class. His assist ability has been a big factor in the Wanderers picking up their form. In March alone they beat Oxford, Shrewsbury, Gillingham and Fleetwood on their travels - scoring four times on two occasions. They now have 11 away victories this season - so their price of 2.588/5 is a good one.

The hosts concede too many, and plenty of their matches have been entertaining (not just the Bradford one). Seven of their previous eight games have hit the Over 2.5 Goals, whilst nine of their last ten have helped the BTTS backers collect.

The visitors don't need a lot of possession to win a game, as they demonstrated by hitting Oxford 2-4 recently with around 40% of the ball. They also have two big centre-backs who score plenty in David Wheater and Mark Beevers.

Recommended Bet
Back Bolton Wanderers to win 0.5pt @ 2.608/5

Alan Dudman's P&L 2016/17

League One: +0.40
FA Cup: +8.05

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