'Stattobets Dave' Football (up until 30th Nov 2019)
FA Cup - Sunday 1st December
FA Cup – Sunday
Northampton Town are only a smidgen of odds-on when Keith Curle’s side host National League side Notts County on Sunday, and I’m not sure that’s short enough about a side who have now won six of their last seven, and drawn the other. They are absolutely flying along right now, with four consecutive home wins (2-0 vs Grimsby, 4-1 vs Crewe, 2-0 vs Cambridge and 2-0 vs Salford). They fielded a decent side in their 3-0 win at Chippenham in the 1st round earlier this month, so we should be able to count on them doing the same – the prospect of “only” needing to beat a non-league side to give them a chance of drawing one of the big boys will surely be appealing to Curle.
The shot-data from League Two suggests Northampton are punching a little above their weight this season, but they are at least a decent mid-table outfit whichever way you appraise them.
I’d rate Notts County as an above average National League side – play-off contenders come the end of the season in all likelihood. They started the season very poorly, but stuck with Neal Ardley and he’s begun to turn things around to leave the Magpies in 9th place at last count. Without a win in their last three though will be a slight concern, and prior to that they snuck past a poor Ebbsfleet site 3-2 in the FA Cup earlier in the month.
County will have benefitted from a week off after their fixture last weekend was postponed at Fylde, but that surely won’t be enough to justify Northampton being so close to even money in this one. My card had them nearer 4/6 than the 10/11 available with a few firms.
I’ve got my eye on another game for Sunday but want to firm up some team news – we’ll be along later with details if the cards fall out as expected.
22pts Northampton to beat Notts County at 10/11 with Marathon, UniBet, Betway, BlackType, 1.88 with William Hill
Scottish League One - Saturday 30th November
Forfar v Peterhead
Peterhead were real slow starters this season, as the Blue Toon won just once in thier opening eight matches - crashing out of the League Cup, the League Challenge Cup and beginning their league season poorly. Things have improved though, and most recently they have claimed seven points from their last three in the league, and look more likely survivors than either of Forfar or Stranraer - they play both over the next two weeks so it's a bit time for them.
The bookies can't split Peterhead and Forfar this weekend, and that's a mistake in my eyes - Forfar have lost seven of their last eight now, failing to score in half of those, and longer term are now 1-2-12 in all competitions since mid-August. Relegation is slowly sucking them in.
Looking at the recent shot data, Peterhead have improved greatly, achieving a 63% ratio over their last six league fixtures, while the same metric for Forfar is just 39%. This one is a confident pick and I cannot see far past Peterhead dominating this match.
30pts Peterhead to beat Forfar at 13/8 (William Hill, Marathon, Boyles)
FA Cup - Saturday 30th November
Forest Green Rovers (FGR) were not our friend on Tuesday night as they conspired to let down our evening NAP despite not conceding a single shot on target in the whole match. Their lack of punch on the night ultimately cost us unfortunately. We're prepared to trust them again on Saturday though as they take on a much easier task in the shape of Carlisle.
Mark Cooper has already shown how seriously he takes the FA Cup, fielding a strong team against Billericay in the 1st Round, he he knows victory over Carlisle would open up the possibility of a big money tie against a big Premier League side. We should expect him to continue in the same vein as a result. Since the start of September FGR are now 9-5-3, and I'd be tempted to remove one of the "L"s given Cooper fielded an entirely youth team in the EFL Trophy defet to Walsall.
Over the same time frame, Carlisle are 5-3-9, and have kept just a solitary clean sheet in their last 11 matches now. Having drawn 0-0 to Cambridge and lost to Port Vale and Morecambe recently, they look very beatable right now.
25pts Forest Green to beat Carlisle at evens (Bet365, Betway, Coral, Ladbrokes, Betfred)
National League - Tuesday 26th November
We'll start today's round up down at my local team - Harrogate Town. I'm a regular attendee at the CNG Stadium an it's been an enteraining ground to visit this year, with plenty of games being played out in an open manner on their artificial pitch. Tonight's match between Harrogate and Halifax is currently the fixture in the division which produces the highest expected goals of any based on the shot-data from this season, and a look at Harrogate's results recenty certainly confirms that with seven of thair last eight matches going over 2.5 goals, including a 3-3 draw against Bromley last week.
Town have been flying along, winning eight of their last 12, although the truth of the matter is they don't look good enough for that sort of run to continue indefinitely. They won't be complaining though - sitting nicely placed for a run at the play-offs.
This week's visitors will be pleased they got off to a strong start to the season as reults have been harder to come by, but nevertheless remain 4th in the division. This game may well be about the goals, and I'm a fan of the 19/20 on offer with Bet365 and Red Zone Sports here.
15pts Over 2.5 Goals in Harrogate v Halifax at 19/20 (Bet365, Red Zone Sports)
Bromley look one of the best sides in the division, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they ended the season top of the table. They travel to Woking this week, a side who banked a lot of points early doors without really deserving them based on the shot data, and whom have now regressed towards a run of more expected results.
They opened the season with seven wins from their opening eight matches, and splitting their season in two they collected 24 poiints from their first 11 games, and have now banked just 11 from 11 since then and have won just twice since October.
Bromley by contrast have marched to 2nd in the table, and despite a mini-run of just one win in six, we can easily forgive that given that two of those were a tight 1-1 and 0-1 against Bristol Rovers of League One.
15pts Bromley to beat Woking at 8/5 or 13/8 (Sky Bet, Betway, BoyleSports and Red Zone Sports)
My final pick is a little bit of a wild card, as I think Stockport are somewhat overpriced to beat a decent Solihull Moors side. It's never easy making a case in a game like this when the side you are opposing are in such good form, but sometimes the price is just too big so I'll do my best to make the case!
Stockport are not a bad side at all - 10th place in the National League under the experienced eye of Jim Gannon. With four wins (and two draws) in their last eight matches they are in decent enough form, and at home they have already won six times at Edgley Park.
Now Solihill come to visit this week and I'm not going to try to convince you they are anything other than a handy side. I think they've probably overachieved a little so far this season to be 3rd in the division, but they are likely to be in the play-off picture come the end of the season. I just can't make Stockport as long as the 21/10 they have reached in the market now.
10pts Stockport to beat Solihull Moors at 21/10 (Bet365, Will Hill, Betway)
Portsmouth v Rotherham - League One - Tuesday 26th November
An attractive set of fixtures in League One on Tuesday, with a top of the table clash between Ipswich and Wycombe – a match which is increasingly looking like a title deciding fixture.
Elsewhere, Portsmouth are now mounting the long slog back up the table after a disappointing start to the season. They won just once in their opening seven fixtures this season, and splitting their league season so far in half showed a 2-3-3 run through August and September, but a 4-3-1 run through October and November. Throughout they have been posting decent data underneath, and I’m still convinced they won’t fall too far short of the pre-season expectations when everything has played out.
At home they are also really decent, and that’s probably been Kenny Jackett’s saviour at times when the fans have been disappointed with the league results. In all comps they have returned 7-4-1 at Fratton Park this season, with only Southampton defeating them in the EFL Cup – a match where they both fielded significantly weakened teams.
Rotherham are this week’s opponent’s – a team whose form could easily fool us into thinking they are world beaters. They have now gone 8-0-4 in their last 12, winning five of their last six road trips. The data underneath suggests they have been ruthlessly efficient and their form is unlikely to be sustainable as a result. They have taken 220 shots this season (Portsmouth 238) and conceded 172 shots (Portsmouth 159).
xG data (Expected Goals) puts Pompey on around 29 goals (they have actually scored 23), with around 15 “expected” against – they have conceded 16. For Rotherham, they have netter 28, but the xG data suggests they have deserved somewhat fewer at around 24, while at the back they have conceded 15, but might have “expected” to leak nearer 20.
Portsmouth’s numbers have been heading north recently so we should trust their home prowess to continue, and back Jackett’s men at 2.15 in this one.
13pts Portsmouth to beat Rotherham at 15/13 (RedZoneZports), 23/20 (UniBet / Marathon)