League One Betting Tips: Our Top 3 Tips for Saturday
Our Football League expert Peter Taylor takes us through his top three betting tips for February 2o, including yet more frustration for supporters of drifting Ipswich Town.
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The Tractor Boys’ season continues to peter out in much the same style as the previous curtailed campaign did; indeed, Paul Lambert’s men are in precisely the same position of 11th as they ended up in 2019/2020, going into Saturday’s clash with a steadily improving Oxford United. The visitors have grabbed five wins from the last six, and recently leapfrogged their opponents for the weekend in the process. The U’s now sit just two points below Accrington Stanley, who currently the last spot in the play-offs.
Tuesday’s stalemate at Portman Road at home to lowly Northampton Town was bitterly disappointing, a result compounded by the needless injury time dismissal of defensive midfielder Flynn Downes. In front of goal, they have been woeful this term, and have only been saved from an even more mediocre standing in the third tier by a competent backline. They rarely score twice in a game, and October was the last time they managed to better that number in a single game.
Michael Appleton’s charges didn’t have a Tuesday night game, and their previous Saturday fixture at home to Wigan Athletic was pushed back by 24 hours. The Yellows had to mount a late second half comeback to take all three points from the Latics, which was sealed by a first league goal by the once prolific Sam Winnall in his current team’s colours. This match has all the complexion of one where if Oxford can net at least once, it’s difficult to foresee how their adversaries can respond on the evidence to date.
The aforementioned goalless draw gleaned by Northampton, coupled with Rochdale’s narrow away loss at fellow Lancashire outfit Blackpool, cut the gap to the relegation zone for Brian Barry-Murphy to just two points. The blue and black club have only won once this calendar year, and have been tilting towards the bottom four despite possessing some very promising young players within their ranks.
On Saturday, they will face off against a side under the auspices of a familiar face in the opposing dugout – Ryan Lowe has hauled Plymouth Argyle out of adversity to now have an outside chance of making a timely surge into the top six, and the Pilgrims have won five and drawn the other three of their League One fixtures in 2021 whilst looking much more assured (albeit from a low base) in defence.
Despite the hosts’ poor form, striker Matty Lund and future Manchester City winger Kwadwo Baah won Player and Young Player of the Month for January respectively, and Dale will be heavily reliant on those two to produce something to trouble the Green Army. Second highest scorer in the division Luke Jephcott drew a rare blank in his last outing, but he and his teammates will be up against the most generous backline in the division on Saturday.
Lincoln City suffered EFL Trophy semi-final disappointment against Sunderland, having their Wembley dreams dashed by the penalty shootout lottery. Their deep run into England’s tertiary cup competition has not affected their league form, however, and they will travel westwards to take on a Wigan Athletic side deep in the relegation mire, and one licking their wounds after being roasted 5-0 on their own turf by Hull City in midweek.
Brave performances haven’t earned the points they deserved, whilst the insipid ones have been punished severely. In striker Callum Lang though, Leam Richardson at least has someone who is capable of pouncing on the rare opportunities created for him and finishing them off.
Meanwhile, the Imps have two games in hand on second-place Hull City, but Peterborough United are also hot on their heels. Michael Appleton will likely be unfazed by that prospect, preferring instead to concentrate solely on his side. Last Sunday, together with Accrington Stanley, they put out a great advert for third tier football, drawing 2-2. Few sides manage to lay a glove on Lincoln, and once more, expect them to make full use of the lack of confidence in an opponents’ defence.