League One Betting: Blackpool price looks a Boxing Day gift

Blackpool host Oldham on Boxing Day - bidding for a fourth successive win
Blackpool host Oldham on Boxing Day - bidding for a fourth successive win

With some terrific Boxing Day games to look forward to in League One, Alan Dudman previews a mouth-watering Essex derby between Colchester and Southend, and eyes a bet for in-form Blackpool...

"The hosts are bidding for their fourth successive win, and I do think they should be shorter in the market. This makes them a bet. Especially with their ability to keep a clean sheet lately, and they are now posing more of an attacking threat in their last three matches."

Back Blackpool in draw no bet @ 2.01/1 (half point)

Swindon Town 2.809/5 v Gillingham 2.506/4, the draw 3.4012/5

The County Ground revival continues under Martin Ling, with Swindon now in the throes of a four game winning streak - their best of the season. Ling himself admits Boxing Day will pose a good test of their credentials and how far they have come as they prepare to meet Gillingham - one of the surprises of the campaign.

My initial hunch was to look for goals. And delving into both of their respective records on this front reveals that Swindon have netted 12 from their last six matches, with Gillingham only failing to score in a game twice all season. The Kent club are handy on their travels too - with only one opponent keeping a clean sheet against them so far.

The key stat is the away side though, because Swindon as the hosts will be expected to score. Gillingham employ a high press, which has come unstuck against the better teams in the division, with Walsall, Burton and Coventry all gaining three points. But they succeeded with the tactic against Millwall last Saturday, where they never allowed the Londoners to settle and went on to win 3-0.

Town are certainly a good team with the ball, but Ling will be pleased about his centre-back pairing of Adam Al-Ebd and Raphael Rossi Branco; who have now helped the defence keep two clean sheets from their last three. They'll have to be on their guard too, as the Gills can start well in games - scoring six times in the first-half of away games.

The Robins in the draw no bet at around 1.9520/21 would appeal, but my preference is for the 'both to score' bet, given Gillingham do score on their travels.

KEY OPTA STAT: Swindon are winless in five games against Gillingham, conceding at least twice in each match.

Recommended Bet
Back 'both teams to score' @ 1.758/11 (half point)

Colchester United 2.767/4 v Southend United 2.608/5, the draw 3.7511/4

Sometimes little things can make a difference. Southend United manager Phil Brown will be allowing his players Christmas day off - unlike many sides who are in for training. And the team spirit was also evident for the players' Xmas bash out in Dublin. Forward David Mooney went as He-Man, saying it was the best he'd ever been on. The striker was at Orient last term and only six people turned up (they got relegated). 30 turned up for Southend's, and a victory could send them into the play-off places.

It's another angle, and a million miles away from high presses and 4-2-3-1. But I played at a low level, and there's something to be said for the morale of the group and how a team gets on. Whilst it's unlikely to make a column feature - it's worth pointing out!

A crowd of 9,500 could be expected at the Weston Homes Community Stadium for this Essex derby, and considering Southend are seventh in the table, they look a good bet to take something from this game.

Especially given Colchester have the worst defence in the league. The U's have conceded an astonishing 55 goals this term, and a horror run of 37 in their last 11. Considering that's nearly three goals per game - new manager Kevin Keen has a mighty task to shore up a ropey back line.

The appointment of Keen looks good for the club, whose philosophy is to bring through Academy players. But this is a big re-build, with Colchester now bottom of League One.

The Shrimpers are unbeaten in seven and hammered Bury 4-1 at Roots Hall last Friday. Striker Noel Hunt bagged a brace, and he faces a late fitness test for Boxing Day.

Manager Phil Brown is doing a fine job with a team that have lost only twice away from home this season, and they look good on the 'draw no bet market'.

KEY OPTA STATS: Southend have won four of their last six visits to Colchester. This will also be the U's fifth consecutive Boxing Day game at home, in which they have won only one of the previous four (conceding 11).

Recommended Bet
Back Southend in draw no bet @ 2.0521/20 (half point)

Blackpool 2.8415/8 v Oldham Athletic 2.767/4, the draw 3.55

At the prices, there is absolutely no way I would want to be backing Oldham as the away side at slight favourites. The team have struggled under David Dunn, and with one sole victory in seven games, do they deserve to be that price? No.

Whereas Blackpool look a more intriguing bet.

A few columns back I highlighted the Tangerines' prowess in the 'under 2.5 goals' market. Since then it has continued, with a 1-0 victory against Wigan, and an epic 2-0 success against the in-form Peterbrough (who were seven unbeaten) last weekend. Blackpool's games have recorded an astonishing 75% under 2.5 goals, and that can continue on Boxing Day.

But I cannot omit their success over Posh last weekend, a match in which their two centre-halves were magnificent. Manager Neil McDonald's 4-1-3-2 is negating the threat of dangerous opponents - especially with Will Aimson playing in the deep holding midfielder role. A screener if you like.

The hosts are bidding for their fourth successive win, and I do think they should be shorter in the market. This makes them a bet. Especially with their ability to keep a clean sheet lately, and they are now posing more of an attacking threat in their last three matches.

If you are playing in-running, Blackpool can certainly cling on to a lead. Trading 1-0 correct score after scoring might offer the chance to yield a green book, but taking the price of 9.208/1 beforehand looks the way to go.

KEY OPTA STATS: The Latics haven't won on Boxing Day since 2008. Oldham are winless in their last six visits to Blackpool.

Recommended Bet
Back Blackpool in draw no bet @ 2.01/1 (half point)

*You can read more League One tips as well as Ian Lamont's thoughts on the week's League Two action by visiting our dedicated English Football League section here on Betting.Betfair.

2015 P/L

League One + 1.03

FA Cup +3.03

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