BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER LIVE MATCH & WEEKEND BETTING PREVIEW
Friday Apr 27, 2012
BY ALAN ALGER FROM BLUE SQUARE
BLUE Square Bet Premier champions Fleetwood Town host Luton Town in the final live game of the regular season on Saturday.
The Cod Army will be looking forward to lifting the trophy after the match but still have the incentive of gaining three points to set a new Conference record of 106 points in a season. The incentive for Luton is even bigger.
A disrupted and inconsistent campaign has left them needing just one point to enter the end of season promotion play-offs.
A midweek goalless draw at Gateshead extended the unbeaten start to Paul Buckle's reign in the Kenilworth Road hot-seat but defeat here coupled with a win for Kidderminster Harriers, in their game at home to Mansfield Town, will result in a fourth season at this level for The Hatters.
That Fleetwood and Kidderminster double is priced at 7/2 with Blue Square, which effectively means that any other combination of results is priced at 1/6. In percentage terms (taking out our profit) if Saturday's games were played out 100 times we'd expect Luton to remain in the top five 81 times out of 100 and Kidderminster to break into the top five 19 per cent of the time.
Those rational equations will surely mean nothing to the fans and personnel involved on the day in what is likely to be a high pressure atmosphere at both grounds.
The individual prices for the game at Highbury pitch Fleetwood as the 11/8 favourites, a Luton win is offered at 7/4 and a draw, which Luton could try to engineer with a defensive display, is priced at 11/5. It's encouraging for Buckle's men that Fleetwood have failed to win 9 of their 22 home games in the league already this season.
Luton's away form has been poor overall but under Buckle they have two goalless draws to show for trips to Gateshead and Alfreton.
That result would be fine here - at a price of 10/1 - but it would be unlikely for free-scoring Fleetwood to draw consecutive blanks after their lacklustre 2-0 reverse at Cambridge last week.
I expect Fleetwood to play their standard attacking game, but they could also leave themselves vulnerable at the back. A high-scoring draw won't do much for the nerves in the away end but I think that angle represents the best value on the game.
A combined bet on 2-2 and 3-3 may pay dividends. Hatters' defender Janos Kovacs could be involved at the other end of the pitch if Luton need to push for goals late on and he looks a very tempting 11/1 chance on our ‘Anytime Goalscorer' market.
The result at Kidderminster will be irrelevant to the play-off picture if Luton can avoid defeat in their game.
Mansfield Town are the visitors at Aggborough and it will be interesting to see if their boss Paul Cox will rest players. The Stags cannot finish anywhere other than third place in the final table and will surely have one eye on the first leg of their semi-final against the fourth-placed team on Wednesday at 7.30pm.
The quick turnaround may force his hand to keep some star names fresh for that all important game as opposed to, what is for them, a dead-rubber. Mansfield are priced at 5/2 to win this game and continue their good form. Kidderminster are the odds-on favourites at 10/11 to get the points they need, whilst obviously hoping Fleetwood do them a favour.
Team news will be key to Mansfield's chances and prices could fluctuate heavily once Cox reveals his line-up. Elsewhere we have a number of matches for which pride and sending the fans off for the summer happy could be the only rewards.
Selections that appeal to me in order to make up the final weekend treble of the season are: Forest Green Rovers who will be playing for their futures at the New Lawn amid exciting plans for the next campaign. They visit York City who not only have the play-offs to look forward to but also an FA Trophy final.
League runners-up Wrexham may also rest players ahead of next week's play-offs and Braintree Town may take advantage at The Racecourse Ground at a tempting 4/1. Gateshead may be welcoming striker Jon Shaw back into their line-up for their home game with AFC Telford United.
The Heed Army will be slightly disappointed to have missed out on the play-offs but overall must be delighted with such a good finish in the table. They can consolidate that with a win at 8/11.
Alan's Best Bets for Fleetwood Town v Luton Town:
DRAW - Fleetwood Town v Luton Town
2-2 AND 3-3 DRAW - Correct-Score (Combined)
JANOS KOVACS - Anytime Goalscorer
Alan's Best Weekend Treble:
FOREST GREEN ROVERS to win at York City
BRAINTREE TOWN to win at Wrexham
GATESHEAD to beat AFC Telford United
Fleetwood Town v Luton Town and the presentation of the Blue Square Bet Premier title trophy is live on Premier Sports TV - Saturday 28th April 12.30pm (1pm kick-off) - visit http://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.
You can follow me on Twitter - @AlanBlueSquare