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Weekend Preview - 486/1 for a Happy New Year...

Thursday 31st December 2020

In Across the Leagues today:

  • Rangers v Celtic…
  • Goal-scoring defenders…
  • Win & Both Teams to Score contenders… 

Weekend Preview – 486/1 for a Happy New Year…

It had to happen sometime. It took them 21 league games, but Oldham have finally kept their first Clean Sheet of the season…

Oldham’s 0-0 draw at Grimsby on Tuesday night was about as far away from a Win & Both Teams to Score result as you can get. Likewise, for my other highlighted match in that department, Bradford 0 Port Vale 0.

And Newport v Exeter was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. Just one of several games that have been postponed recently…

Heavy traffic, bumpy roads…

The Christmas fixture list is always a busy bridge between the end of one calendar year and the start of another. This year, it’s creaking under the sheer weight of traffic. With plenty of roadworks making it even harder to navigate than usual…

Snow and ice, flooding… and of course, the ongoing pandemic. Two of the 10 midweek Premier League fixtures were called off at short notice due to coronavirus outbreaks. And more could follow in the weeks ahead.

In the English Football League (EFL), League One has been hardest hit. They’re into double figures for postponed games there. Peterborough haven’t played since 15th December. As it stands, Doncaster Rovers don’t play their next league match until 16th January.

Next weekend, 8th – 11th Jan, is the FA Cup 3rd Round. With all 64 clubs set to be tested for the virus, taking in teams from the Premier League & EFL, down to non-league representatives Chorley, Marine, Stockport County, and Boreham Wood. It would be a pleasant surprise to see all of those ties played on the scheduled dates.

Stay alert…

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Far from it. We just need to be alert to the impact that all these hazards are having on results. And pump the brakes on our betting activity, if necessary.

Things of note so far in the Premier League this festive season:

  • 50% of the Premier League games played since Boxing Day have ended in draws (9 out of 18 games). With 4 x 1-1 score-lines, 3 x 0-0 draws, and 2 x 2-2 scores
  • 13 of those last 18 games have paid out on Under 2.5 Goals (72%)
  • In the latest round of fixtures, 7 of the 8 matches played went Under 2.5 Goals. With scores of 0-0 x 2, 1-1 x 2, and 1-0 x 3. (The one anomaly was Leeds Utd’s 5-0 win at West Brom)

If that pattern continues – with squads stretched, and players struggling to produce their best football under the conditions. Then we should look out for more low-scoring affairs in the Premier League this New Year’s weekend.

In this week’s Across the Leagues EXTRA Premier League Predictions email, I’ve gone for 7 of the 10 scheduled matches go Under 2.5 Goals. With 3 x 1-0 score-lines on my list.

Steady at the wheel…

Despite all that’s going on in the world, December has actually been a really good month for us.

Across the Leagues member Gabriel wrote in to say that he found himself a 25/1 winning double in the Win & Both Teams to Score (BTTS) markets this week. Great to hear.

And in that department, my own nominated selections have been holding their own, too. The new Win & Both Teams to Score (BTTS) feature has made a strong start:

My three-pronged approach to playing the highlighted Win/ BTTS matches has turned up five winning payouts across nine targeted rounds of games. From a total of 27 selections in that area, consisting of a variety and trebles & combinations, payouts at 9/2 (x 2), 8/1, 13/1, and 15/1 have contributed to an overall ROI of 107%.

Elsewhere, Man Utd’s 3-1 come-from-behind victory at West Ham was a big December highlight. Providing a 25/1 payout in the Half Time/ Full Time (HT/ FT) market.

Our recent HT/ FT analysis in the Premier League has already proved worthwhile in that respect. So far, with 155 games completed, just 2 have produced a HT/ FT comeback (1.29%). Over the last 10 years in the Premier League, the average per season is 4.16% (15.8 games).

So far in 2020/21, Man Utd have accounted for both of those Half Time/ Full Time turnarounds.

When the goals start flowing again in the Premier League, we should keep a keen eye out for more big-odds opportunities in the HT/ FT markets.

We’ll continue to look forward. Here’s my take on the New Year’s weekend fixtures…

Rangers v Celtic

Scottish Premiership, Saturday 12.30pm (Sky Sports)

Match odds: Rangers Evens (2.0), Draw 13/5 (3.6), Celtic 5/2 (3.5)

The latest instalment of the Old Firm derby carries as much significance as ever, despite the lack of fans in the stadium…

Rangers are 16 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, and on course to stop their Glasgow rivals Celtic from reaching the magic number of 10 league titles in a row.

That 16-pt deficit isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, as Celtic have three games in hand over Steven Gerrard’s league leaders.

As ever, a derby day means we should take note of the historical disciplinary record. And these two city rivals have plenty of form in the book:

  • 4 of the last 6 Old Firm derbies have seen Red Cards

Bet365 and William Hill go 7/4 (2.75) for a Sending Off in Saturday’s game.

  • Alfredo Morelos has been carded in 5 of his last 7 starts v Celtic (sent off twice)
  • Celtic’s Scott Brown has been booked in 6 of the last 11 Old Firm derbies, including in 4 of the last 7

No surprise, then, that those two men are the favourites in Bet365’s Player to be Booked market. Rangers striker Morelos is slight odds-on to go in the referee’s book, at 10/11 (1.91). And it’s the same 10/11 price for Celtic midfielder Brown.

Last time out, in Ranger’s 2-0 win at Celtic in October, both of those players received yellow cards – having both been priced at no better than Evens (2.0) on that occasion.

Goal-scoring defenders at tasty prices…

In the ever-entertaining quest for a big-odds payout, I’m drawn to two defenders in the Old Firm match. Both with more than noteworthy records when it comes to popping up with goals for their team…

First up, James Tavernier, who needs little introduction here. The Rangers right-back, club captain, and current Scottish Premiership top scorer has been a regular in Across the Leagues this season.

I’ve put Tavernier up as an Anytime Scorer selection in a total of 7 different games. With 3 payouts, at odds of 2/1 (3.0), 11/5 (3.2), and 5/2 (3.5). Generating an overall 35.5% ROI on the 29-year-old.

Tavernier is currently on a 5-game run without scoring. The penalty-taking wing-back hasn’t gone that long without a goal since the opening handful of 2021/21 fixtures. I certainly wouldn’t rule out him getting the chance from the penalty spot in this Old Firm clash.

  • Tavernier has landed Anytime Scorer bets in 15 out of 32 appearances this season. At this weekend’s 10/3 (4.33) top price, if you’d backed him to level stakes in every game, you’d be in profit with a 103% ROI

Another name on the radar, and at big prices, too, is Connor Goldson. The 6’3” Rangers centre-back is a danger from set pieces. And at the top of the park, he’s enjoying his most prolific season since joining the Scottish club from Brighton…

After 4 goals last season, and 4 in 2018/19, too. Already in 2020/21, Goldson has found the net 7 times.

From a total of 32 appearances in all competitions this season, he’s rewarded Anytime Scorer backers on 6 separate occasions:

  • Taking this weekend’s 17/2 (9.5) top price as a guide, if you’d backed Goldson to level stakes in every game, you’d be in profit with a 78% ROI

In Rangers’ 2-0 win at Celtic Park in October, Goldson scored both goals…

This weekend, Goldson is available at 17/2 (9.5) and 8/1 (9.0) to score Anytime, and 20/1 (21.0) to be First Goalscorer.

Tavernier is a top-price 10/3 (4.33) Anytime, and 15/2 (8.5) to score First.

Win & Both Teams to Score contenders…

We’re about to hit the 23-game, halfway stage in the EFL season. That means we have a great body of match stats and form to work with. Including some hefty Both Teams to Score streaks and strike-rates.

All the stats can be viewed on our website.

Here are my Win & BTTS selections for this weekend (all Saturday 3pm kick-offs)…

Norwich v Barnsley (Championship)

  • Barnsley are one of the form teams in the Championship right now, winning 5 of their last 6. Since 1st December, they’ve won a total of 6 league games – with all 6 paying out on Win & BTTS, and all by the 2-1 Correct Score. Norwich are top of the league, but winless in their 2 games over Christmas. Barnsley have Scored In 73% of away games; Norwich in 82% at home

Barnsley to Win & Both Teams to Score is 13/2 (7.5).

Brentford v Bristol City (Championship)

  • Brentford have won 4 of their last 5, and 7 of their last 10. The Bees are unbeaten in 15, and 2nd in the table. Each of their last 4 victories have delivered in the Win & BTTS market. Bristol City have Scored In 72% of their away games. Brentford have Scored In 82% at home, and are joint-1st in the division for Both Team to Score results 

Brentford to Win & Both Teams to Score is 14/5 (3.8) and 11/4 (3.75).

Burton Albion v Oxford United (League One)

  • Oxford are on a 3-game winning run, and are joint-2nd in our League One standings for Win & BTTS – with 5 of their 7 victories going that way this season. Burton have Scored In 90% of home games. Albion are on a 9-game streak overall for Both Teams to Score, ranked 1st in the division for that bet

Oxford to Win & Both Teams to Score is 14/5 (3.8) and 11/4 (3.75).

Barrow v Exeter (League Two)

  • Exeter are 7th in the table, and ranked joint-3rd in League Two for Win & BTTS payouts, with 5 of their 8 wins ticking the box. Barrow are in 20th place in the league. They’ve Scored In 91% of home games, but only managed 2 out of 11 Clean Sheets at their own ground. Barrow have a 73% home strike-rate for Both Teams to Score. Exeter are No.1 for Both Teams to Score, with an 89% away record

Exeter to Win & Both Teams to Score is 7/2 (4.5) and 10/3 (4.33).

Take your pick…

As ever, my advice with these selections is to pick & choose, however you prefer – Singles, Doubles, Trebles, and any manner of combinations…

I’m staying with the three-markets approach that has served me well so far.

Barnsley, Brentford, Oxford & Exeter:

Match Win acca pays 30/1, 28/1 and 27/1.

Both Teams to Score acca pays 17/2 (9.5) and 8/1 (9.0).

Win & BTTS acca pays 486/1, 473/1 and 455/1.

Today’s picks

From the analysis above, here are my picks for this weekend…

Rangers v Celtic

  • Anytime Scorer: James Tavernier @ 10/3 (4.33) with Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 14/5 (3.8) Betway, 13/6 (3.6) Skybet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral
  • Anytime Scorer: Connor Goldson @ 17/2 (9.5) with Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 8/1 (9.0) William Hill, Betfred, Skybet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral

EFL: 4 games listed above

  • ACCA. Match Result: Barnsley, Brentford, Oxford & Exeter to Win @ 30/1 with William Hill, Betfred, 28/1 & 27/1 in general 
  • ACCA. Both Teams to Score: in the 4 games listed above @ 17/2 (9.5) with Bet365, William Hill, Betway, 8/1 (9.0) Boylesports, Betfred
  • ACCA. Win & Both Teams to Score: Barnsley, Brentford, Oxford & Exeter @ 486/1 with BetVictor, 473/1 Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betfred, 455/1 Bet365, Skybet

I’ll be back on Tuesday with my next email update for you. And remember…

All the games & latest stats are automatically updated on your members-only Across the Leagues website, every day. In total, the site covers 17 different leagues, and over 300 teams.

You can access all our League Stats, Team Stats, and Head-2-Head home v away stats comparisons, by logging-in at:

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues