League Two Betting: Back goals as Colchester chase top seven spot

Bayo Akinfenwa is still going strong for Wycombe - who could do with him scoring as they chase a play-off place
Bayo Akinfenwa is still going strong for Wycombe - who could do with him scoring as they chase a play-off place

Ian Lamont settles on the matches that matter in a tight race to reach the League Two play-offs and foresees wins for Wycombe and Exeter, goals at Colchester and - in the relegation battle - a victory for Newport...

"Surely Bayo Akinfenwa can’t have a second fairytale ending for a second season running by making it to the League Two play-off final? Last year, he scored a late penalty to give AFC Wimbledon a 2-0 win over Plymouth, because he knew he was leaving, before urging managers to “tap me up on WhatsApp”, on live TV."

*Please note, all matches kick-off at 17:30 on Saturday

Exeter 2.89/5 v Carlisle 2.68/5; the draw 3.814/5

There's an interesting piece of fantasy on a media outlet's website that Exeter might actually prefer to lose at home to Carlisle on Saturday, because then they would play them over two legs in the play-off semi-finals.

The theory continues that Carlisle are one of League Two's worst four form teams since Christmas - and you would rather face a side that limps into the top seven than one in fine fettle.

One wonders whether Paul Tisdale, or Exeter's players, would be as cynical as to think that way. You'd hope not - and the FA will surely have spotted the scenario and be keeping a watchful eye on lineups. Does the idea of a long trip for the first leg affect their thinking? If they do beat Carlisle, it would be most likely a trip to Blackpool anyway - unless Luton miraculously slipped up at home to Morecambe and Pools somehow fail to beat Leyton Orient.

Given that they defeated Doncaster last weekend, Exeter's form is fine enough to see off Carlisle - and quite possibly all comers in the end of season shoot-out.

David Wheeler and Liam McAlinden have both scored in their most recent two games - both 3-1 wins, while Ollie Watkins will want to keep up the momentum of his career by proving himself against anyone.

Carlisle's last visit to the West Country - to Yeovil on April 1 - was a successful one, but they ought to find this a much stiffer test. Draws against out-of-form Stevenage and strugglers Crawley and Hartlepool, plus the narrow home win over Newport which has them hanging onto sixth place, show you the struggle they have had.

At least Jabo Ibehre has scored in five consecutive matches, but it would be optimistic of their supporters to cling to the notion that 10 away draws gives them a decent chance of another.

Keith Curle must be cursing his luck in losing top striker Charlie Wyke to Bradford at the turn of the year, even if it was for £250,000. Doubtless he has one eye on shutting the door on the season and being able to rebuild. He'd love to win here of course and extend the campaign, but logic suggests otherwise.

Recommended Bet
Back Exeter @ 2.89/5

Newport 2.021/1 v Notts County 4.216/5; the draw 3.814/5

Newport are going to find it tough to get those extra three points that will guarantee them League Two football next season. But then they've had an extremely tough season.

The Exiles are looking to win both league games against Notts County in a season for the first time in their history, say Opta, who add that the Magpies have drawn nine of their last 13 final day games, but lost their last two.

A draw guarantees nothing for Michael Flynn's team, because their goal difference is already worse than Hartlepool's, who are second bottom.

For Notts County, Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi should make a formidable strikeforce. But Saturday isn't about them, whether they will be retained or what they could achieve with a refreshed squad. It is all about whether Newport can turn their renowned horrible pitch to their advantage for a final time.

A record crowd, more than the 6,615 who witnessed Newport defeat Grimsby in the Conference National play-off semi-final in 2013, is expected to pile in to Rodney Parade, most of them hoping the dream of overturning an 11-point deficit to safety when Flynn took over can be fulfilled.

Six wins and a draw from 11 games would please quite a few managers. Victory, says Flynn, would spark the biggest party Newport has seen for a long time. If only they had a potential player of the month. Mickey Demetriou, their goalscoring defender, fits the bill nicely! It would be even better if a forward such as Ryan Bird or attacker Sean Rigg could help too.

The last five of those six wins have all been 1-0, so don't expect too many goals. If they are going to win, that makes the 4.03/1 on under 1.5 goals the value. Newport should have enough fire in their bellies to take the pressure and a vital victory.

Recommended Bets
Back Newport @ 2.021/1
Back under 1.5 goals @ 4.03/1

Wycombe 2.68/5 v Cambridge 3.052/1; the draw 3.55/2

In a bid to go for all the hardest to call fixtures this week, I'm going for one that is entirely bonkers to try to fathom. Either of these two could take advantage if Carlisle - or indeed Blackpool - slip up, but a draw does neither any good.

Surely, for example, Bayo Akinfenwa can't have a second fairytale ending for a second season running by making it to the League Two play-off final? Last year, he muscled a colleague off the ball so he could take a late penalty to give AFC Wimbledon a 2-0 win over Plymouth, because he knew he was leaving, before urging managers to "tap me up on WhatsApp", on live TV.

The fact he is top scorer for the Chairboys with 12 underlines their problem - they don't score enough goals to be fully fledged promotion candidates.

Jamal Blackman, on loan from Chelsea, is highly thought of and has marshalled a mean defence at Adams Park, where Wycombe have conceded just 21 times - joint second lowest in the division, with Mansfield. A draw at Morecambe would have left manager Gareth Ainsworth hugely frustrated, but the bunched nature of the remaining play-off contenders gives them incentive enough to win, even without Scott Kashket if his groin injury means he will miss this final game.

The hosts proved they are good enough to beat most teams when defeating Doncaster, but have they got enough to see off Cambridge, who have won three times in five games? Their problem is consistency. Luke Berry has five goals in the last six games and has been named in the League Two team of the year, but insists he would prefer team glory to individual honours.

Opta offer that if Cambridge do win, they will equal their most away wins in a Football League season - 11, but Wycombe have won 10 at home, where they have a +7 goal difference and the key statistic could be that the visitors have lost their last two away games.

Recommended Bet
Back Wycombe @ 2.68/5

Colchester 1.75/7 v Yeovil 5.85/1; the draw 4.216/5

There's only one way to bet on this match because of the short price on Colchester, who Opta point out have won a league high 65% of their points at home this season.

The U's, who are also one of only four sides to have scored more than 40 goals at home, should win - and there should be some goals in it.

Give Chris Porter, Ben Dickenson or Curtis Guthrie (if returning from injury) half a chance and they will finish - possibly even finish the job of leaping into the top seven if they can keep their goal difference above their rivals in the tightest League Two play-off race in years.

The rest of a bet on over 3.55/2 goals relies on Yeovil's ability to at least score in defeat. In their last 10 games, they have drawn a blank just twice. Colchester's tight defence will have to hold at bay Francois Zoko has four in those 10 games and John-Louis Akpa Akpro has netted twice in three games in a belated end-of-season flourish.

So, are the Glovers capable of scoring once, as they have done against decent sides such as Portsmouth and Exeter away (and Accrington at home) recently, to make a grand total of four goals in this game? I'm prepared to run with the gamble.

Recommended Bet
Back over 3.5 goals @ 3.02/1

P/L 2016-17


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