BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER LIVE MATCH & WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW
Friday Feb 17, 2012
Blue Square Bet Premier - Live Match & Weekend Betting Preview - by Alan Alger from Blue Square
Southport climbed up to fourth in the Blue Square Bet Premier table with a home win over Darlington on Tuesday and the Sandgrounders are back at Haig Avenue just three night's later to host Grimsby Town in a live Premier Sports match.
Liam Watson has guided his side back into the play-off positions but they face a real test from the visitors, who will start the match with an unbeaten league run stretching back over 13 games.
That run of form makes Grimsby the slight favourites for this game at 7/5, although none of the games in that sequence came against a team residing in the top eight in the table.
On paper this is Grimsby's toughest test in a while and it will go a long way to answering whether they are play-off contenders or flat-track bullies. A home win for Southport is offered at 9/5 and anyone backing that price needs to take on trust that there are no ill effects from playing twice in 72 hours.
The form of the home side also has plenty of question marks when you break the table down into three sections. Watson's side have also struggled against their fellow top eight teams. Ten matches have produced just one win (away at Gateshead) and an alarming 26 goals conceded, that's an average of over three per game.
On Friday night they face one of the most potent attacks in the division and that's enough to convince me that an away win is good value. The Mariners have added Louis Soares to their attacking options in a transfer window move from Hayes & Yeading United, where despite their lowly position he was finding the net with ease.
He will compliment the deadly duo of Anthony Elding and Liam Hearn. The latter is the rightful 9/2 favourite to break the deadlock in our 'first goalscorer' market. A more attractive price is on offer for the former Alfreton man to score in any Grimsby victory at 11/4.
It's no surprise that Southport have been desperate to get defensive midfielder Godfrey Poku back on loan from Luton Town as he was key in breaking up the opposition's play before they got into the final third.
His absence could mean that Grimsby's fine attack exploit the space and win comfortably. They are 10/1 to score 4 or more goals and that has to be considered at such a big price. Poku's importance is illustrated in the following set of statisitcs. Southport's win rate with him is 59 per cent, without him it drops to just 27 per cent. They've also lost 45 per cent of the games he hasn't started for them, compared to just 23 per cent when he has been in their line-up.
The remaining 11 fixtures in this round of matches will take place on Saturday afternoon and it's pleasing to see that none are threatened by the winter weather which has decimated the programme recently.
Leaders Fleetwood Town host Cambridge United and are priced as the 8/13 favourites to keep their position at the summit with a home win. One look at the table based on home matches can suggest that a price that short is far from value. The Cod Army have failed when odds-on at their Highbury home in seven of 15 league matches played there. Cambridge will provide a stern test and they are fully rested having not had competitive action for a while. They are struggling for consistency but it is not beyond the realms of possibility to see them snatch a point here at 12/5 or a seemingly unlikely victory at 22/5.
Second-placed Wrexham host Hayes & Yeading United and are the shortest price of the weekend at 1/4 to win at The Racecourse. An away win is as big as 9/1, Nas Bashir's visitors with just two wins in their last 16 league matches and only two victories on the road all season.
Third-placed Luton Town host Tamworth and we're offering a best price of 2/5 on a home win. Gary Brabin's team are another that have failed when odds-on at an alarming rate, which always suggests they are value to take on. Of course they look the most likely winners of this match but there are better bets elsewhere.
Tamworth have been capable of the odd shock as their recent 2-2 draw at Fleetwood illustrated. York City are another odds-on home team on the coupon as they welcome Stockport County to Bootham Crescent. The Minstermen are 1/2 favourites to keep their play-off hopes on track.
County have just one away win to their name, at bottom club Bath City, but do carry their best unbeaten run of recent months into this fixture. There's yet another odds-on home favourite on the list at Aggborough where Kidderminster Harriers are 8/13 shots to beat Lincoln City. Steve Burr's team have faltered of late with just two wins in their last six matches, but a midweek run out for some of his first team in a local cup competition should have them spot on for this game.
Gateshead are likely to be missing top-scorer Jon Shaw for their trip to take on Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn. The striker has been an almost ever-present for Ian Bogie's side, the only league game he missed out on resulted in a 3-1 defeat at Fleetwood Town.
Forest Green's home record has left a little to be desired, but a recent win over Wrexham shows they are moving in the right direction. A home win is priced at 5/4 and that looks like good value considering the line-ups and the fact that Gateshead had a difficult FA Trophy game in midweek.
Mansfield Town travel to Newport County looking to extend their current unbeaten run to seven matches. The Stags have also played 17 games against teams outside the top ten and not lost a single one. That stat coupled with their recent defensive stability (four clean sheets in their last eight) makes them a very good bet at 8/5 to beat Justin Edinburgh's side. Barrow will be odds-on for their home match with Kettering Town.
AFC Telford United had a midweek run out against Mansfield in a friendly and will be match-fit for their home game with mid-table Braintree Town. It's an important time for the home side as they look to climb away from the relegation zone and they are outsiders at 8/5 for a vital three points. Braintree are the narrow 6/4 favourites.
Ebbsfleet United had a fruitless midweek FA Trophy trip to York City and are on the road again with an away match at bottom club Bath City. The Romans made it an unwanted sequence of four straight defeats with a midweek loss at Newport, it was also their fourth game without scoring a goal. Ebbsfleet have only been beaten in three of their last nine league matches and rate a good bet as slight 8/5 outsiders to win at Twerton Park.
Third from bottom Alfreton will be odds-on favourites for their home game with Darlington as they look to climb out of the relegation zone.
Alan's Best Bets for Southport v Grimsby Town:
GRIMSBY TOWN to win at Southport
LIAM HEARN to SCORE in a GRIMSBY TOWN win
GRIMSBY TOWN to SCORE '4 or more' GOALS
Alan's Best Weekend Treble:
EBBSFLEET UNITED to win at Bath City
FOREST GREEN ROVERS to beat Gateshead
MANSFIELD TOWN to win at Newport County
Southport v Grimsby Town is live on Premier Sports TV - Friday 17th February 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: firstname.lastname@example.org OR Twitter: @steveandsnods