League One Betting Tips: Our Top 3 bets for this weekend
Our Football League expert Peter Taylor takes us through his top three betting tips for January 23, including an expected goal-fest at the Kassam Stadium.
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The Gills have suffered five defeats from their last seven outings in the third tier, but two of the scant silver linings during their current poor run of form was the 4-1 victory at Spotland in the reverse fixture with Rochdale, and the individual performances of Kyle Dempsey.
The 25-year-old is one of the few midfielders below the top two divisions who can truly claim to be able to operate anywhere between the two boxes without it affecting his output. Whilst not prolific in his career, he has a great strike rate in 2020/2021, and should have space to roam forwards if he can shake off his knock in time for Saturday, especially given the visitors’ propensity to play a conventional 4-4-2.
The postponement of Tuesday’s clash with Lincoln City will have aided his recovery, and Steve Evans lets both members of the double pivot run beyond the ball when mounting attacks.
The Cobblers won’t have kicked a ball in anger in the league for three whole weeks by the time they make the journey to Sincil Bank, and that spells danger for Keith Curle’s charges, even putting aside the daunting prospect of travelling to one of the sides in the automatic promotion places.
The men in claret frequently struggle to trouble the scoresheet, too, and currently rank as the worst in the third tier on that metric. Allied to conceding almost double what they’ve put in at the right end with a real weakness at defending from set pieces, and you’d be forgiven for really fearing for them against a side that will relentlessly take advantage of any such deficiencies.
Jorge Grant is normally reliable from both free kicks and penalties for the Imps, and Michael Appleton likes to work the ball methodically into the danger zone. This will mean Northampton spend most of the time chasing possession. Neither Benny Ashley-Seal nor Danny Rose are focal points up top in the conventional sense, although the latter is better aerially than his stature would suggest.
The hosts have as many as four games in hand on other teams in League One, and this has coincided with an uptick in form to power the Us well away from relegation danger whilst admirably sticking by Karl Robinson in more fallow times.
More impressive still is the number of goals they’ve plundered during their resurgence, and they’ll be pitting their wits against opponents who seem to love nothing more than poorly deploying the offside trap and allowing their adversaries the lion’s share of territory. £Like Northampton, Oxford haven’t been able to compete in a league match for three weeks either, but will be facing a leaky Bristol Rovers outfit badly in need of a reversal of fortunes.
That ought to be a recipe for open game, and Robinson will be hoping for more of the same dynamism both his full-backs displayed last time out at Burton Albion. Between them, Sam Long and Josh Ruffels had a direct hand in all five goals, and the latter bagged two for himself. Paul Tisdale’s unusual 3-5-1-1 ought to mean that the pair again have licence to get forward to whip in crosses to a predatory attacking trio.