Mike Holden on the EFL: Iron can show their mettle at Posh

Scunthorpe can return to winning ways with victory at Peterborough
Scunthorpe can return to winning ways with victory at Peterborough
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Scunthorpe's promotion bid has stalled in recent weeks but they can get back to winning ways at one of their favourite League One venues against Peterborough on Tuesday night...

"There’s not a lot to choose between these two in terms of performance data and expected goals but whereas the visitors consistently outperform their numbers with shrewd game-management, that is too often the crucial element that Peterborough lack."

Iron can emphasise bridge in class

Peterborough v Scunthorpe
League One, Tuesday 19:45

There's a marked difference between the top five and the rest of League One, and it's a point that Scunthorpe could underline once and for all with victory at London Road for the fourth season running.

The Iron have hit a sticky patch in recent weeks, winning just one of their last six outings since taking the conscious decision to reduce the wage bill by offloading Paddy Madden, Simon Church and Kevin van Veen in the January window.

Nonetheless, they remain a serious player in the play-off reckoning and can maintain a fine record against teams outside of that top echelon having tasted defeat just three times out of 26 matches against opposition from sixth downwards. On the road, that record that reads W8 D3 L2.

There's not a lot to choose between these two in terms of performance data and expected goals but whereas the visitors consistently outperform their numbers with shrewd game-management, that is too often the crucial element that Peterborough lack.

Posh were sensational for nine days towards the back end of 2017, when key players sensed big-money moves elsewhere, and that little flourish against Fleetwood (3-2), Bury (3-0) and Bradford (3-1) has skewed the underlying numbers in their favour. They approach this game on the back of just one win in six attempts.

Recommended Bet:
1pt Scunthorpe to beat Peterborough at [3.60]


Saddlers can make sense of blanket theory

Walsall v Doncaster
League One, Tuesday 19:45

Expected goals disciples might disagree, but you'll struggle to find two teams more evenly-matched than those who currently sit 16th and 15th in League One after 30-odd matches. Indeed, on any given day, you could probably throw a blanket over half the division.

So when a home team starts a midweek game as outsiders, despite the fact they trail the opposition by just two points and have two games in hand, there's a case to say a speculative mindset can be more profitable than any depth of analysis.

There's no doubt that Doncaster are more deliberate in what they do and therefore more fashionable. They play with more variety than Walsall and control games to a greater extent, which explains why the market has been sweet on them for much of the campaign.

But they've also let a lot of punters down because nine wins of 32 is scant return for a team that goes off as jollies most weeks. The Saddlers, by contrast, are less expansive or imaginative but they consistently get the basics right, which by League One standards, makes them pretty dogged and reliable.

You'd struggle to envisage Jon Whitney's men ever breaking into the top half, whereas plenty expect that of any Darren Ferguson team, but Walsall's home record is fairly solid - W6 D6 L3 - and they've also won their last six meetings with Doncaster, which includes a comprehensive 3-0 win at the Keepmoat last October.

Recommended Bet:
1pt Walsall to beat Doncaster at [2.80]


Streetwise Boro to dig in at the New Lawn

Forest Green v Stevenage
League Two, Tuesday 19:45

Forest Green climbed out of the League Two drop zone with a 2-1 victory over Coventry last time out, which was their third successive home win in 2018, but there's not enough in their recent resurgence to believe they warrant favouritism at home to streetwise Stevenage.

Performance data shows that Mark Cooper's men are extremely hit and miss, and when they aren't given licence to express themselves by complacent opposition, they tend to offer next to nothing. In three of their four defeats since the turn of the year, they've registered less than 0.2 expected goals.

And for all their shortcomings this season, Stevenage are seldom complacent. Darren Sarll's men have been largely underwhelming in relation to their progressive standards last term but it's worth remembering that they didn't even get going until late January, when they suddenly conjured up a monster run of eight wins and a draw from nine matches.

And recent performances, although masked by the quality of opposition, would suggest that an upturn in fortunes might be on the cards. According to many reports, Boro were the better side in their local derby with runaway leaders Luton on Saturday, prior to which they provided a stiff test for in-form Swindon and second-placed Accrington.

A shot ratio of 53 per cent over the past eight matches is big business to a team that can happily operate in the realm of fine margins and there's value in the unfashionable visitors doing a number at the New Lawn.

Recommended Bet:
1pt Stevenage to beat Forest Green at [2.80]


Mike Holden Profit/Loss 2017-18

Staked: 94 pts
Returned: 49.28 pts
P/L: -44.72 pts

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