BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER LIVE MATCH & MIDWEEK BETTING PREVIEW
Sunday Mar 4, 2012
BY ALAN ALGER FROM BLUE SQUARE
Wrexham could be a full eight points behind leaders Fleetwood Town when they kick-off Wednesday's live Blue Square Bet Premier match on Premier Sports.
Luton Town are the visitors to the Racecourse Ground in a match that could have a huge say in the destiny of the title.
The Hatters could as good as hand the title to Micky Mellon's men with an away victory and possibly have the form to do so. Gary Brabin's team have only lost two games on the road all season, the most recent of which was a 1-0 defeat at Barrow a couple of weeks ago.
Luton came out of the weekend fixtures with a seven-point cushion in the play-off zone, but wins for the two teams above them reduced their title hopes to a price of 33/1.
A concern for Brabin will be the form of three previous matches this season against fellow teams in the top four. Three played, three lost, six conceded and just one goal scored.
That includes a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of their next opponents. Wrexham's home form is the best in the division, although their two defeats on their own patch were heavy ones against teams near Luton in the table.
A 3-0 reverse against York and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Mansfield.
A harsh look at Luton's form shows that the only matches they have won at near odds-against prices were the victories at Grimsby and Kidderminster. The Hatters are struggling when up against the real tests as illustrated from a points record of just 27 out of 81 available to them against sides in the top six since their time in the division.
None of that will matter if they can secure promotion, most likely through the play-offs, this season. A point from this game would be classed as a bonus no doubt.
A Luton win is priced at 2/1 with a draw offered at 9/4. Wrexham will, of course, be popular as the 6/5 favourites, but there may be better bets to be had on the other markets in the game. Both sides have a good defensive record and the game could be low on goals. ‘Under 2.5 goals' looks a value bet at 8/11. For correct-score purposes I'd plump for a 1-1 draw at 6/1.
On Tuesday, leaders Fleetwood Town are given the opportunity to put pressure on Wednesday's teams with a win at home to Grimsby Town.
The Mariners wobbled on Saturday as their play-off hopes took a hit in a 1-1 home draw with Braintree Town, a real accumulator buster for punters at 4/7. Nevertheless it extended their unbeaten league run to 15 matches with Fleetwood's own unbeaten run going back 20 games.
Both sides have scored in every game they've played in the division in 2012 and it's fair to assume that there will be plenty in this fixture. ‘Over 2.5 goals' is understandably a very short price at 4/7. Fleetwood are also, as expected, favourites with home advantage at 8/11. Grimsby can be backed at 100/30, with a draw offered at 5/2.
The title favourites have looked vulnerable at home, especially in defence and for that reason Grimsby look a good bet on the ‘match handicap' receiving a goal start. That's a bet that will pay out on any draw or Grimsby victory at Evens.
There are six other Blue Square Bet Premier matches on Tuesday night. York City can consolidate their play-off position with a home victory over Tamworth. They are a short price to do so at 8/15, but punters may be wary of their record when odds-on at home. Failing in seven out of 16 home games when their price has been 10/11 or shorter. Tamworth's 2-2 draw away at Fleetwood could inspire confidence in a bet at a big price on them nicking something from Bootham Crescent. An away win is 9/2 and a draw 11/4.
Mansfield Town have quietly moved into play-off contention with six wins in their last eight matches and I feel they can make that seven from nine with a midweek success at Cambridge United.
The Stags make plenty of appeal at 7/4 against a Cambridge team that have been stuttering since mid-November. Barrow have the second best home record in the division, but also proved they could win away with an impressive victory at Kidderminster on Saturday. Bottom club Bath City are the visitors to the fortress that is Holker Street and I can't see past a home win at 4/9. Gateshead dropped to 10th place on Saturday with their fourth defeat in five matches.
The harder thing to read in that sequence of form was that their sole win came in arguably their hardest game of the five - away at York. The Heed Army are just 8/15 to win at home to relegation threatened Hayes & Yeading United. With just two wins in nine home games against clubs in the bottom half I can't recommend them at such a short price. With one defeat in their last seven games Newport County have eased away from the relegation zone.
They welcome Braintree Town to south Wales on Tuesday and are priced at 21/20 to gain another three points in their safety quest. Braintree secured their safety early on in the season and are also on a good run, they won't be without support at 9/4 after Saturday's draw at Grimsby. Stockport are another team that have improved their form to ease relegation fears.
They travel to Alfreton Town for a real six-pointer and look a value price at 8/5 to pile the pressure on Nicky Law's side.
County starting the game with just one defeat in their last seven matches and recording back-to-back league wins for the first time in over three years at the weekend. The last time they won three on the bounce was April 2008!
Alan's Best Bets for Wrexham v Luton Town:
DRAW - Wrexham v Luton Town
1-1 - Correct Score
UNDER 2.5 GOALS - Total Goals
Alan's Best Midweek Treble:
STOCKPORT COUNTY - to win at Alfreton Town
MANSFIELD TOWN - to win at Cambridge United
BARROW - to beat Bath City
Wrexham v Luton Town is live on Premier Sports TV - Wednesday, March 7th, 7pm (7.30pm kick-off) - visit www.premiersports.tv for subscription details.
You can play your part in the commentary for this game! Contact commentators Steve Bower and Ian Snodin during the action to give your thoughts - email: email@example.com OR Twitter: @steveandsnods.
You can follow me on Twitter - @AlanBlueSquare