League One Betting: Decent odds for Barnsley to continue promotion charge
Saturday's live TV game will offer the first chance to see Daniel Stendel's Barnsley this season, and our third tier man Alan Dudman thinks they can take care of Luton...
"I cannot grumble with the [2.06] on offer for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off. I was expecting shorter, especially after their 0-4 thumping of title-chasing Peterborough last weekend."
Stendel's high-pressing Tykes a good price for TV clash
Barnsley v Luton Town
12:00, live on Sky Sports Football
Before any markets had any money in them to form any sort of opinion, I wasn't particularly excited about the prospect of another Barnsley game in which they were priced up as a 'far too short' favourite. In truth, we've had some silly prices about the Tykes this term, but I cannot grumble with the [2.06] on offer for Saturday's lunchtime kick-off. I was expecting shorter, especially after their 0-4 thumping of title-chasing Peterborough last weekend.
Come Saturday evening we could all be asking ourselves how were they that price?
League One football isn't as simple as that, but Barnsley have enjoyed their best-ever start to a season since 1978 and are now up to fourth in the division.
Head coach Daniel Stendel adopts a high-pressing style and a counter-press, and the challenge will be keeping the consistency with that style. It worked against Posh, but it didn't against Plymouth the week before.
I championed Luton's cause recently saying they were a bit better than their league position suggested, but their away form is not exactly sparkling. A recent 1-2 victory at Oxford was their first three points on the road this season. Prior to that, they had collected just one victory from their previous 13 matches.
They don't score many either on the road - with just five in six games. They face a Barnsley team with the best defensive home record in the league. Backing Barnsley 'Yes' in the Clean Sheet market might get a few drawn in.
My big problem with Luton is their unwanted knack of conceding a first half goal. In their opening four matches on the road they let in goals on 16, 17, 19, 15 and six minutes. That was stymied in the 0-0 at Blackpool, but one swallow doesn't make a summer.
We should consider the Luton Clean Sheet market by backing the 'No', if it's too short for you, the idea of the Barnsley -1 price at [3.60] is very tempting in the Luton +1 market.
Time to start siding with the Pilgrims?
Oxford United v Plymouth
The price of Barnsley at [2.06] really looks a good one in comparison to Oxford's [2.02] this weekend. This is the same Oxford that have won just once at home and lost five, and if you like laying teams at around evens and having two running for you, that seems quite a sensible play.
This is 23rd against 24th, the two bottom teams in the division. It's a match neither dare not lose in truth. Don't expect a classic.
That's not to say we shouldn't be excited about a bet here. In fact, these sort of games are the ones I like. The Pilgrims earned a typical sort of Derek Adams' win on Saturday with a 1-0 against AFC Wimbledon. Previously they earned a 1-1 draw at Barnsley - a performance labelled as the best of the season by Adams.
Remember, Argyle got off to a shocking start last season and started to win a few games in October. Their big run came last December, so maybe there is something similar brewing here.
I think the Pilgrims will be pretty tough to beat in their 4-1-4-1 for this match. Oxford don't have too many goal threats, and Plymouth use Yann Sango'o well in a deep holding midfield position to protect the two centre-backs.
In fact, with Graham Carey and Ruben Lameiras, you have two players who pop up in pockets and look more of a threat than the hosts. It could be a tight one, although I was hugely surprised at the Under 2.5 price of [2.06]. I was expecting around [1.85] for that, so we'll use a dart at that and another at the Draw No Bet.
Don't expect goals with Gas
Burton Albion v Bristol Rovers
Following back-to-back 2-1 defeats for Burton, this represents a chance to get back on track. I fancied them to beat Southend at home recently in this column and was disappointed they couldn't kill the Shrimpers off after an excellent first half. That has been Burton's problem - they cannot settle matches despite plenty of the ball. Brewers' boss Nigel Clough has said his team need to win ugly and play the league better.
A poser here could be if Clough uses the 4-4-2 that he switched to from the familiar 4-3-3 during the recent Wycombe game. They certainly carried more of a goal threat using the former set-up, but Burton will be missing the influential Liam Boyce - who is away on international duty. David Templeton is also a doubt for the hosts, although Clough will need his creativity down the left-hand side.
The hosts to back for a home win at [2.18] is probably a fair price. They have seen off Doncaster, Wimbledon and Sunderland after all.
Meanwhile Bristol Rovers continue to struggle to score on the road. With just four netted in six games - all the pointers here are towards the Under bets. The punt on the 2.5 is [1.85], whilst the Under 1.5 is very attractive at [3.60]. But it's a bet I often struggle with as there absolutely no margin for error with it.
Burton will have plenty of the ball but they miss chances. They could well nick this one, but I am happy to go Under 2.5.
Alan Dudman's P&L, 2018/19
League One: -3.29
League One regular season 2017/18: +18.48
Back Barnsley -1 v Luton Town 0.5pt @ [3.60]
Back Under 2.5 Goals 0.5pt @ [2.06] Oxford United v Plymouth Argyle
Back Plymouth 0.5pt @ [3.0] Draw No Bet v Oxford
Back Under 2.5 Goals 0.5pt @ [1.85] Burton Albion v Bristol Rovers