29.3.2008. -5.01 units
Tamworth Vauxhall 1 (1.73 @StanJames) 6 units
Tamworth are currently 14th, they have 9-3-6 at home this season, but they won five out of their last six home matches in the league (they lost only to 6th Southport who played a couple of matches less than all the other play-off candidates) and their fans were quite pleased with the team performance this Monday when they managed to beat 3rd Stalybridge 2:0. They will finish mid-table, no doubt about it, but Tamworth had not one, but a couple of great cup runs this season and if they decide to focus more on the league and less on the cups next season, they will definitely finish higher on the table. Burton Albion (3rd in Conference National, league above Conf North) kicked them out of both FA Cup (in the last qualifying round) and Setanta Shield and it took Conference National high-flyers and future champions Aldershot to kick them out of FA Trophy (in the quarter-finals). Before that, they managed to beat another Conference National outfit, Stafford, at home in the 3rd round. So yeah, I'd say that they have a much better squad than most of the mid-table teams in Conference North. They can't get into play-offs, that's true, but with a bit of bad luck, they could slip down the table and find themselves ina relegation battle they have only nine points more than 19th Hinckley. Away from home they're pretty lousy, but that has nothing to do with this bet. After all, they managed to beat Vauxhall at their place 3:1 in February and they have no suspensions to worry about.
Vauxhall are going down, it gets more obvious every week. They're 21st (five points more than bottom-of-the-table Leigh RMI, but they played two matches more), they're absolutely terrible away from home (2-2-15, 14:48) and once again they will be without their star striker Taylor, their best player by far, due to his suspension. That's not all standard defender Hitchen is also out suspended and they have some serious injury doubts (''...The Motormen lost Lee Owens prior to kick-off with an injury and further injuries during the game to Lee Dames and Keith Smith, leaves manager Carl Macauley with a major headache...''). Vauxhall have seven defeats and a lucky 1:0 home win over unmotivated Boston in the last eight matches and their goal-difference in May is 1:15. Anything but a strong home win would be a major shock and those kinds of shocks don't happen every day. Incredible odds that should really be 1.50 max only a couple of bookies have put out their odds at the moment, but I took this bet at StanJames as soon as yesterday evening. I can't see any other bookie going above 1.73 later on, that would be just stupid...
(1.73 also at BetDirect and Better, 1.61 at Skybet, 1.57 at Stanleybet, Blue Square, Bet365...)
UNIBOND/RYMAN DOUBLE: Gateshead Matlock 1 @1.45 & Leyton Carshaton 2 @1.55 (2.2475 @Bet-at-home) 4 units
Gateshead are currently 3rd (63 points), but their play-off spot is anything but won 4th Buxton (60), 5th Guiseley (59) and 6th Eastwood (58) are all very close and Gateshead simply have to win matches like these. They're one of the best home teams in the league (11-2-4), they have nine wins, a draw against 6th Eastwood and a defeat to league leaders Witton in the last 11 home matches and they had a great Easter won 3:0 both at home against 15th Kendal and away at 11th Ossett (''...Well done to Gateshead, a very good footballing side, totally outplayed us ''), both mid-table teams that are in the similar position as Matlock. Their great home form (only Witton conceded less at home) and individual quality should prove to be crucial here. Matlock are the worst away outfit in the Unibond Premier (3-3-11, 19:38), they have five defeats and a goalless draw at second to bottom Leek in the last six away matches, their last away win happened at bottom of the table Lincoln in November and anything but a strong Gateshead win would be a major surprise here. They're doing alright at home (they're currently 12th, can't get into play-offs, can't get relegated), but away from home they're terrible. Why? ''...Perhaps it's just a mental thing but we have quite a few young players in the squad this season and experience does count for a lot away from home...'', said Matlock's manager a few days ago. A couple of players could return for Matlock, but they've been out injured for some time and they're probably not 100% fit. Midfielder Frost got injured badly last Friday so he's definitely out and two back-up players left Matlock to join struggling Lincoln recently. Matlock are playing away at 17th Ashton on Monday and that's a much better chance for a point or three. Gateshead should prove to be a much better team at the moment.
As far as bottom of the table Leyton are concerned, these are the best odds we'll get betting against them from now untill the end of the season, I'm pretty sure about that. You probably know all about them already, they've been relegated a long time ago, their goal-difference in the last 16 matches (15 defeats and a lucky draw) is 9:66 and they lost 0:9 at Hornchurch this Monday. Last season it was Slough, this season it's Leyton. They're an extremely young and unexperienced squad and I can't see them doing much untill the end of this season. Carshalton, on the other hand, are second to bottom, 21st, but they have as much as 24 points more than Leyton and only 4 points less than 18th Folkestone (outside the relegation zone). So yeah, this is the match they have to win if they want to try and stay in the Ryman Premier (and they do want to stay, no doubt about that). They're not very good away from home (5-0-12), but they should have enough against poor Leyton. If we look at their away matches in 2008, we can see a couple of nice results they did lose five matches, but away at Margate, Harlow, Hornchuch, Chelmsford and Billericay, all very good home teams and, except Harlow, all promotion candidates. But, they also managed to win their away matches at 8th Hendon (5:0), 18th Folkestone (3:0), 7th Tonbridge (3:1) and 5th Ramsgate (2:0) again, except Folkestone, all promotion candidates. I doubt that Carshalton can beat Leyton as comfortable as Hornchurch (9:0), but I wouldn't be surprised with a 4:0 away win or something like that. Very nice odds for this good looking double...
(2.27 at Stanleybet, 2.17 at Digibet, 2.16 at Gamebookers and PartyBets, 2.13 at Bwin...)
FT 2:0 / 1:4
Basingstoke Hayes & Yeading OVER 3.5 (2.62 @Blue Square) 4 units
Practically managerless Basingstoke slipped from the play-off zone down to the 15th spot, they haven't won in the last 10 matches and their goal-difference in these 10 matches is 9:31. If we look at their home matches in 2008, we'll see a lot of goals 3:4 vs Eastleigh, 3:2 vs Bognor, 1:5 vs Fisher, 2:3 vs Havant, 1:1 vs Bromley, 2:2 vs Braintree and, this Monday, 0:4 vs Bath. So yeah, out of seven matches, one produced only two goals and six matches produced between four and seven goals. Okay, they didn't score against Bath, but Bath's defence is the best in the league (Basingstoke did score 12 goals in these 7 home matches though with all their problems, that's a solid number of goals Bognor, Havant and Braintree, for instance, have a much better defence than Hayes, and Basingstoke still managed to score two or even three goals in those matches) and Bromley were awful upfront in their 1:1 draw the pitch was really wet too and Bromley have been an on/off outfit for the whole season anyhow. I wrote a lot about Basingstoke's problems in the last month or so, they lost a manager and now are stuck with a temporary manager who's basically waiting for the proper one to be announced, they had a budget cut, standard players Tardiff (their no1 goalkeeper), Whisken and Warner have been released earlier this month, Laidler and Surey are out injured... Their new goalkeeper conceded 11 goals in his first 4 matches for Basingstoke and I'm sure he'll concede this time too the question is how many goals.
I just saw all the recent Hayes highlights their 2:2 draw with Bishop's Stortford last Saturday was a typical Hayes vs Anyone match (Hayes had their usual 20 shots, but we can see a lot of bad defending too) and their 0:2 defeat at improved St Albans was a rare bore, but this was Easter Monday. They could've conceded a lot more than just two goals and had only a couple of shots in the whole match, but St Albans are really doing great lately and I believe they will stay in the league. The pitch was in a very bad shape too. I believe Hayes will have their usual 20 shots in this match and I'm pretty confident they will score at least two or three goals. Scott should be back in the starting eleven Palmer haven't scored in three matches so I suppose he'll end up on the bench, but when he's fit, Scott is Hayes' best player and he could have a nice comeback here. He started a match only 13 times this season due to injuries, but he scored just as many goals 13. But, like I said recently, I think Palmer is a very good striker too, maybe just as good, and Ledgister, Knight and Saroya could all score goals too. If we look at Hayes' last seven away matches in 2008, we can once again see a lot of goals 1:3 at Weston, 4:1 at Cambridge, 2:4 at Fisher, 0:2 at Thurrock, 4:1 at Eastleigh, 1:3 at Eastbourne and 0:2 at St Albans. Those two 0:2 defeats were both poor, boring matches played under bad weather, but that doesn't happen very often to Hayes, that was their only two matches without scoring a goal in the last 18! Before that Monday match at St Albans, Hayes had four matches in a row that produced four goals. Hayes score one and a half goal per match away from home, only the biggest promotion candidates score more, but Hayes also concede a lot in fact, only Basingstoke conceded more away from home...
(2.62 also at 888sports, 2.69 at Stanleybet, 1.80 for OVER 2.75 at Pinnacle...)