EFL League One & League Two

League One Tips: Go for another correct score winner in Derby v Bolton

Ian Evatt Bolton manager
Ex-Derby player Ian Evatt takes Bolton to Pride Park on Saturday

Alan Dudman landed a 10/1 Correct Score bet last weekend with Plymouth's 1-1 at Ipswich,and he has another low-scoring draw prediction this Saturday...


Expect close one between promotion contenders

Derby County v Bolton Wanderers
Saturday 21st January, kick-off 15:00

Derby continue to churn out the results and, with two games in hand on leaders Plymouth and a gap of 14 points, the Rams still have an outside shot at automatic promotion.

In the ante-post League One Winner Market, they are at a huge 28.027/1. A few more wins, and that could be a nice trade with a lay back. The Promotion Market looks more realistic at 3.259/4. Less scope obviously there for the back-to-lay.

The hosts tend to go off far too short in the betting and often there's little value in backing Derby at home. But the 2.1011/10 is a fair price, although it probably reflects more that Bolton are a danger. With the teams on the same number of points, it could be a close game.

Defences are both strong as the Rams have only conceded 10 at home all season, while Bolton have conceded just eight at home and 12 away. They don't score many either.

In the big games, Paul Warne doesn't like to give anything away and his team will be as hard to beat as possible. It's why Rotherham were such a good punting vehicle at times for Under 2.5 Goals bets and clean sheets. Not a lot has changed at Derby since his arrival, apart from a shift from 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2, but they still press aggressively, like width and often go man-for-man. Not many do that in this league.

PauL warne pre season 2 1280 .jpg

In terms of team news, the hosts have certainly got one issue surrounding a player's fitness, although the man in question remains a secret, while James Chester has been ruled out until March.

Bolton earned a point at Pride Park in December when the two met in a 0-0, and it was a point that was deserved as both failed to make the breakthrough in an extremely tight game. The pair had just two shots on target each in the 90 minutes and a split in possession that was fairly even.

"If you can't win, you don't lose, especially these big games because it would have been a six-point swing," said Bolton boss Ian Evatt following that Christmas stalemate.

I think we can go for something similar here. I like the 0-0 and 1-1 on Correct Scores, and as ever, they are worth trading to get out in the first-half if you'd rather not let them run.

Evatt's quote does give an indication how these games will go. Only Sheffield Wednesday (15) have recorded more clean sheets in League One this season than Bolton (13), with the Trotters doing so in five of their last six league fixtures. It's no surprise the Under 2.5 is 1.75/7.

In terms of a Sportsbook Bet Builder, the draw outright and Both Teams To Score 'No' can be backed at around 9/1.

Key Opta Stat: Derby are unbeaten in their last 14 home Football League games against Bolton (W10 D4), including wins on each of the last four occasions.

Wednesday can churn out another home win

Sheffield Wednesday v Fleetwood Town
Saturday 21st January, kick-off 15:00

Sheffield Wednesday are a no-go these days at home in terms of an outright win back, and at 1.4740/85 for another, the price has been squeezed tighter and tighter this season.

The Owls have won four successive league games for the first time since February 2022. They last enjoyed a longer such run in April 2017 as a Championship side (run of six). They fully deserve to be twos-on shots.

Fleetwood have lost three of their last four league games. Six of the last eight league goals they've conceded have come from corners, with no side in League One conceding more such goals in 2022-23 than the Cod Army (9 - level with Bristol Rovers).

Wednesday have a game in hand on leaders Plymouth and are just three points behind, so it's shaping up to be a decent title race. They are still favourites at 2.3211/8 in the League One Winner market and their progress and efficiency has been fairly relentless.

This was the match on Boxing Day, at Fleetwood, in which Shaun Rooney completely lost his head for Fleetwood when red-carded in the second-half, but in the first-half he scored a terrific goal to put the Cod Army 1-0 up. It might be feisty again.

It might also be low-scoring. Wednesday have impressive xG numbers this term at Hillsborough with for 1.98 and against 1.15. And with the hosts 14 unbeaten, I prefer to go with the BTTS 'No' for this one at 4/5 on the Sportsbook as the visitors have an xG away from home at just 1.29.

With Town losing just three of their 13 away games this season - none of which were by more than one goal, we could be primed for an Under 1.5 bet which is priced at a generous 4.1. Or you can lay the 1.282/7 for Over 1.5, which is a very cheap lay even if it loses.

Key Opta Stat: Only against Walsall and Wigan have Fleetwood lost each of their first four Football League encounters against a side. They could do so again should they lose to Sheffield Wednesday here.

Has Fergie got formation right finally?

Peterborough United v Charlton Athletic
Saturday 21st January, kick-off 15:00

The return of Darren Ferguson to Peterborough was a complete triumph on Monday night in front of the Sky TV cameras. I opposed them due to their away form, but got it wrong and Port Vale were pretty poor in truth. The clean sheet at Port Vale was a first of the season away from home for Posh who are back in play-off contention and all seems well at the Posh.

"That clean sheet was important for us. We need more clean sheets full stop which is not a sign of me being defensive. The whole team were very compact at Vale as they found it very difficult to play through us," said Fergie afterwards.

He picked a back four with Dan Butler playing on the left and the Peterborough Telegraph thinks he'll go 4-2-3-1 again on Saturday.

Darren Ferguson 2 pre season 1280 .jpg

It seems folly to go against Peterborough one week and stick with them the next, but I thought they were too short at 2.26/5 on Monday considering their wretched away form. At London Road, it's been a different story with F24 and A9 and an impressive eight home wins. And remember, they were awful towards the end of Grant McCann's spell.

Charlton are quite maddening although credit to Dean Holden, who has gained three successive victories since replacing Ben Garner. But they have a poor record against Saturday's opponents and have lost three of their last four Football League away games versus Peterborough (D1), having gone unbeaten in their first five such trips beforehand (W2 D3).

Holden, a former Posh man, said on the eve of this game: "They have got some quality and that's without touching on [Ephron] Mason-Clark, who got their two goals. It's going to be a tough game for us but we go there with confidence, and rightly so."

They are too inconsistent for me and conceded three on the road at Oxford fairly recently. It could be a game for Jonson Clarke-Harris to come good. He wasn't involved much in Monday's game, but he does have 15 goals in 31 games, and while Ephron Mason-Clark bagged both against Vale, JCH is a most unselfish player who tends to get his goals at home. The 4-2-3-1 suits him.

Ferguson has wasted little time using his Manchester connections fresh from Monday's win, and Nathanael Ogbeta from Manchester City could be in line for a game.

KEY OPTA STAT: Since a run of five successive defeats in the Football League between 1993 and 2012, Peterborough are unbeaten in each of their last 10 such games against Charlton (W6 D4).

Recommended bets

Alan Dudman's League One P & L

2022-23: -1.04pts

*advised to a 0.5pt stake

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