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Football Form Labs weekend preview

Elite club football goes into a brief hiatus this week - the perfect opportunity to dig deep into the lower leagues backed by the expertise of Football Form Labs.

Football Form Labs provide the most effective football betting software on the market with the ability to analyse games both pre-match and in-play across 50 different leagues. You can also generate your own models and see the statistical impact players have when they are missing. Sign up today for a free 14 day trial, and follow them on Twitter @FootballFormLab


Since 1992/93 just four teams have picked up as many as 36 points after 15 games. Incredibly, both Leyton Orient (38) and Wolves (36) have managed this feat in the current campaign. Surprisingly just one of those four teams went on to win the league, with two missing out on promotion entirely.

The title should go to one of the top five though. All of the last 21 winners had at last 25 points by now, and they were also all in the top five at this stage. Preston are the bookies outsiders of the group and their 14th finish last season does count against them. Of the winners in the past 21 seasons that had been in the league the previous term none had finished lower than 13th. Furthermore, their form has been on the slide in recent weeks.

Of the top five, Brentford have played just two of the current top eight and have tough games against Wolves and Peterborough in the next two weeks. However, they are in good form and have the experience from last season. Posh, meanwhile, are in poor form having lost their last two games and we’ve previewed their tricky trip to Walsall this weekend below. With tough games against Wolves and Brentford coming up their challenge could look much weaker in a few weeks time.

Wolves and Orient certainly look to be the strongest contenders and dutching the two works out as a 1.38 shot. Six of the 11 teams to be at least six points clear of fourth at this stage finished as champions, including in the only previous time there were two teams in that position in the same season. Only two relegated teams have had as many points as Wolves at this stage, with Swindon winning the league by nine points in 95/96 and Leeds capitulating in 06/07 to finish fifth. While the 1.38 shot looks a very good price it’s hard to ignore that Wolves have the stronger squad and have done a great job in backing up their pre-season tag as favourites. At 1.91 we certainly wouldn’t put anyone off from backing them.


League Two: Scunthorpe v Accrington Stanley (Sat 15:00)

Scunthorpe sold their most creative players in the summer and they’ve had to rely on a solid defence this season. Fortunately, it’s been working for them, with no side having kept more clean sheets this season. They’ve lost only one of their seven home games and Accrington are the first side they’ll have hosted from the current bottom six.

Accrington have lost half their away matches since the start of last season, including seven of their last nine trips to top-half teams. Looking closer, Accrington actually lost nine of their 10 trips to top-10 finishers last season, failing to score on six occasions. Stanley might be unbeaten in five but we’d expect Scunthorpe to end that streak and they can be backed at 1.83.

11 of Scunny’s 15 matches this season have had fewer than three goals, as they are yet to score more than twice. Given Accrington’s scoring troubles that makes Under 2.5 Goals an appealing bet. In fact six of Scunthorpe’s seven home games have had -2.5 goals, as have 11 of Accrington’s last 17 road matches, including 5/6 trips to top-half teams. Scunthorpe are a decent looking 3.0 to win to nil while under 2.5 goals is a good price at 1.8.

League One: Bradford v Coventry (Sun 15:30)

Bradford are going through a bad patch after an excellent start to the season. They’ve picked up just two points from their last five games and now face one of their toughest matches to date. Coventry have won five of their last six games, including ending Leyton Orient’s unbeaten streak and getting a point at Wolves.

Bradford’s good start was partly due to a kind fixture list and they could well slip back into mid-table now. Coventry are just three points behind despite starting with a 10 point penalty. Moreover, they’ve won six of their last 11 trips to top-half teams with just two defeats.

Bradford are missing two regular centre-backs with Andrew Davies and Rory McArdle both absent. That defensive weakness should cost Bradford here – they’ve won just once this season when they’ve conceded (W1-D4-L4). Since the start of last season Davies and McArdle have played together 26 times and Bradford have an excellent W15-D7-L4 record. Compare this to W9-D13-L13 otherwise and you see how important it is that they are both missing. Coventry look good value to continue their good form and are well worth backing at 1.83 on the Draw No Bet market.

Five of Bradford’s seven home matches this season have had at least three goals but they have failed to score in three of their last five matches. Similarly, Coventry’s games have been lower scoring in recent weeks as they’ve improved defensively. The over/under goals market looks like a coin flip and so we’d leave this alone here.

League One: Walsall v Peterborough (Mon 19:45)

Walsall have the worst scoring record in the top 13 but their defensive efforts have kept them in the top 10. Their best results this season have come on the road, where they’ve won four times. In contrast, they’ve won just one of their last six home games whilst scoring only four goals.

Peterborough have also been better on the road than at home, although this has partly been due to the fixtures they’ve faced. Five wins and just one defeat in seven away games is still impressive in this league, and they’ve kept four clean sheets. However, all of Posh’s away opponents so far are currently below Walsall in the table and further back The Saddlers have a decent home record. They’ve lost just three of 14 home games against top-half teams since the start of last season, winning six times. It’s also worth noting that Posh’s goals have dried up recently, with just three in their last five games and this could be a good time to oppose them. Walsall look a decent bet at 2.15 on the Draw No Bet market.

With both teams struggling for goals, however, we could be in for a low scoring affair on Monday night. Only three times in Walsall’s last 22 matches have they conceded more than once and 16 of those games have seen fewer than three goals. Under 2.5 goals have also been recorded in nine of their last 13 home matches against top-half teams.

Six of Peterborough’s last seven matches have had fewer than three goals, and five had fewer than two. There’s an obvious reason for Posh’s recent loss of cutting edge too. Lee Tomlin suffered an ankle injury and was then sent off on his return to the team and is still suspended. Since the start of last season Peterborough have scored 1.69 goals per game with him but have found the net just 15 times in the 16 games he’s failed to complete an hour in. This has resulted in 12/16 matches having -2.5 goals (there have been -2.5 goals in 14/45 with him). This news makes Under 2.5 Goals look particularly juicy at 2.0 and also strengthens our support for Walsall on the DNB.

Using Football Form Labs you can identify thousands of betting opportunities every week across over 40 different leagues.

Form Labs offers you the chance to analyse hundreds of matches every week both pre-match and in-play.

Player Analysis:

Form Lab Black’s player analysis tool we look at a few significant players who will be missing in the English lower leagues this weekend and see what that might mean.

N.B. Appearances mentioned below relate to starting and completing an hour unless otherwise specified.

Colchester v Swindon

David Wright, Defender, Colchester

Wright has missed 15 Colchester games since the start of last season and their loss rate has increased from 21% with him to 47% without as they’ve conceded 16% more goals per game.

Leyton Orient v Preston

Stuart Beavon, Forward, Preston

Preston have won just two of 20 matches that Beavon has missed since the start of last season, with an incredible 13 games finishing level. They’ve scored just 18 goals in these games, including failing to score nine times, as 70% have finished with -2.5 goals.

Stevenage v Rotherham

Kari Arnason, Defender, Rotherham

Arnason is away on international duty and that spells trouble for Rotherham. He’s missed 18 games since the start of last season and they’ve lost nine times whilst conceding over two goals per game. In contrast they’ve lost only 10 times in the 43 matches he’s played and conceded fewer than one goal per game.

Form Lab Black can analyse the impact of players to give you the complete betting solution.

To see which other players are key, and which are not, use the Player analysis in Form Lab Black. Tools within the Player analysis allow you to examine what a team’s most effective partnerships are in key positions and the impact of players on a variety of different markets.


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