The League One Playoffs continue on Saturday, and Alan Dudman is expecting a very close game at Glanford Park as Scunthorpe lock horns with Rotherham...
"However, the most telling stat here is that backers of the Under 2.5 Goals have collected in every one of the eight Iron matches since Daws took charge."
Scunthorpe United v Rotherham United
Saturday 12th May, 12:30
Live On Sky Sports
Millers have history on their side
With fourth playing fifth for this fixture; these two were far closer in terms of points than the Charlton and Shrewsbury margin. Rotherham were the ones who finished fourth with 79, and the team that finished in that position has gone on to reach the playoff final in six of the last seven seasons.
The Millers have previously appeared once in the playoffs - and that was their third tier win against Leyton Orient in 2014.
History doesn't favour Scunthorpe as much; as the team that finished fifth haven't won promotion via the playoffs since Barnsley in 2006. The Iron ended up with 74 points and picked up strongly after surprisingly sacking Graham Alexander as manager in March.
In the Promotion market, Rotherham are favourites at [3.30], Scunthorpe are around a point bigger.
Iron unbeaten under Daws
Caretaker Nick Daws took over from Alexander two months ago and has delivered on the brief - to get Scunthorpe into the playoffs. Whether he will get the job on a permanent basis I have no idea, as Simon Grayson has recently been linked following his decision not to stay at Bradford.
Daws has conjured up an eight-game unbeaten run following his appointment, with four victories included in that sequence (the other four were draws). They were certainly drawing too many games earlier in the season, and with that 50/50 split, you could say they still are. The Draw klaxon is sounding as we speak.
The Iron finished their campaign with a 1-1 stalemate against Bradford, with Daws resting five of his key players. That point means that Scunthorpe have lost just once since February.
Millers having a good time under Warne
Club stalwart Paul Warne has certainly changed the mentality in his 13 month spell as manager. With strict rules of no baseball caps and phones, the players have bought into Warne's ways.
Despite losing loan forward Kieffer Moore in the transfer window; the Millers hit a winning spree of seven successive victories from the start of 2018. In fact, they enjoyed a run of 11 successes in 14 games at one stage (with three draws), and they ended with positive results. They lost just once in their last six.
Warne's team at times are capable of some brilliant displays, especially at home. They hit 45 goals at the New York during the regular season - and that was the second-best record in the league behind Blackburn.
Rotherham were 2-0 winners at the New York back in October - and that was their fifth victory on the spin at that stage. Warne set up with a 4-4-1-1 and one of their goals was an excellent bit of work from a set-piece that exposed the Iron's knack of leaving a man free on the outside of the box. Will Vaulks scored that day, and goals from him were a rare commodity up until that point, although he has since added five. The game was a real end-to-end affair.
The Yorkshire club achieved the double with a 1-2 success at Glanford Park in February. Scunthorpe played a 4-4-2 in that game under Alexander, but since then, Daws has consistently used just one up front ahead of a five-man midfield. They do play with wingers, but they tuck inside to allow the wing-backs to kick on.
Hosts to shade low-scoring game
The visitors are the favourites in the Promotion market, which is why these two are more closely matched in the betting than the other playoff game. Compare the odds to the Charlton price at home from Thursday - with the Addicks at [2.12].
For me, Rotherham are the better side of the two here, but that is perhaps skewed by their home form. The figures don't lie either (the figures never lie), as Rotherham won a massive 15 games on their own patch during the season - which is near-enough promotion winning home form. They couldn't quite match that on their travels with nine wins, though more goals were conceded (30) than scored (28) on their travels. The time to back Rotherham will be in the return leg if we can get anywhere near that Charlton price.
Scunthorpe will know that, and they will have to get something from this game. An obvious statement of course, but it could be their best chance over the two legs considering Rotherham's prowess at the New York.
With the Iron's eight-game unbeaten run coming into this game, it would make sense to side with the Draw No Bet on the hosts. Their form overall of losing just once since February is impressive, and it's a fairly even split with their record at Glanford Park compared to their road results. If we can get anywhere near the [1.90] on the DNB, that might do. However, I fear something a bit shorter.
Likewise, the 1-0 Correct Score could be the way to go if you are looking to trade in that area. Although we also should consider the 1-1, especially with Scunthorpe's knack of that particular scoreline. They are now on 11 of them - which is Walsall territory from last term.
Is the Under 2.5 price too short?
Despite the pair playing out a 1-2 in Lincolnshire earlier in the season, the market is very much expecting a low-scoring match here. A couple of days before kick-off, the price of [1.70] didn't appeal that much. It still doesn't. I wouldn't want to be laying it, although there's an argument to say it's a layers' price.
Scunthorpe have collected eight clean sheets at home this term, compared to Rotherham's seven on the road. However, the most telling stat here is that backers of the Under 2.5 Goals have collected in every one of the eight Iron matches since Daws took charge. Four of those were 1-1s, and four were Scunthorpe clean sheets.
The Under 1.5 can backed at [3.05].
Toney to add to his tally?
My thinking here is the home team can win 1-0 and the hosts have scored in 24 of their last 25 matches, so the Scunthorpe players to concentrate on are Ivan Toney and Josh Morris. The former is an exciting if sometimes frustrating young forward, but his 14 goals this term represents an excellent return. Morris hasn't quite matched the stellar return of 20 goals a year ago, but the 12 this time around tells us that he is still dangerous.
Hakeeb Adelakum is the provider for those two, and he has 11 assists for the campaign.
Expect odds of around [7.0] for Toney and [8.0] for Morris. Those two can produce real moments of quality.
The visitors will be dangerous on the counter-attack. I like David Ball when utilised in a more forward position, and he can also tuck in behind the man up front. Rotherham's Michael Smith has scored six goals since January - and that is more than any other player at the club since January. He will be priced at around [6.20].
Back 1-0 Correct Score @ [7.40]
Back Under 1.5 Goals @ [3.05]