League One strugglers Oldham Athletic face Lincoln City in Monday night's live televised FA Cup second round clash - and Alan Dudman believes the hosts are worth a bet...
"The Imps are impressive at home (but even better away), and their record at Sincil Bank reads W7 D3 L2. Last month was very kind too in terms of results - winning five out of six (with four games Over 2.5 Goals)."
Back Lincoln City to win @ 2.608/5
Lincoln City v Oldham Athletic
Monday 5 December, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1
This week's previous FA Cup second round matches were somewhat lopsided involving League One teams against non-league opposition - as the markets for Curzon v Wimbledon, and Macclesfield v Oxford both had the third tier sides as odds-on pokes.
Monday night will be different as both Lincoln and Oldham are available to back at 2.608/5. The hosts are flying in the National League and hold the top position in the table. They haven't tasted defeat since September, and produced a brave defensive display against Wrexham on Tuesday night - winning 1-0 with 10 men.
There could be a shift before the game to make Lincoln favourites.
Oldham rarely would be 2.608/5 away from home in League One - which is why I won't entertain backing them. With 17 points in the third tier, Stephen Robinson's side have scored just 11 goals this season from 19 games. Goals are the problem, and they are second-from-bottom.
With reduced ticket prices and a crowd of 5,000 expected, this will be a proper cup tie; and a game that Lincoln should really fancy their chances of winning. Their impressive young manager Danny Cowley forged his reputation with the staggering over-achievement at Braintree last term - so it was no surprise a big club at this level snapped him up.
Cowley (along with his assistant brother Nicky) are disciples of the high-pressing approach to football, and they often make the pitch as small as possible in their games. Midfielder Alex Woodyard was one of Cowley's first signings from his former club, and his relentless driving from the middle of the park is one of the features of their play. They can go 'back-to-front' on occasions, and they do use long-throws smartly.
The Imps are impressive at home (but even better away), and their record at Sincil Bank reads W7 D3 L2. Last month was very kind too in terms of results - winning five out of six (with four games Over 2.5 Goals).
Sean Raggett is unavailable through suspension, whilst Callum Howe and Elliott Whitehouse are both cup-tied.
The gap between League One teams to the National League is minimal these days (aside from the likes of Bolton and Sheffield United), and Oldham have been struggling to find a winning sequence in the division. In fact, they've only won twice on the road this season; winning at two poor teams in Bury and Gillingham.
However, there have been one or two bright spots. The Latics cancelled out AFC Wimbledon recently with a 0-0 draw, and performances at Scunthorpe and Port Vale were encouraging.
They could be in a false position, although it was a surprise to hear Peterborough manager Grant McCann describe them as a 'one of the best footballing teams in the league'.
Robinson should have Paul Green fit again, although Mark Klock is rated a doubt.
With Oldham failing to score six times in 10 of their away fixtures this term; it might be wiser to side with a couple of Lincoln players. Forward Matt Rhead has found the back of the net 11 times this term, and he's been a revitalised man since a u-turn on his future in the summer.
Theo Robinson teams up well with Rhead, and his work-rate up front (in a two) is why Cowley's high-press works so well.
Nathan Arnold has also scored eight times this season, and they can trouble the Oldham defence.
Back Lincoln City to win @ 2.608/5