Wednesday, 3 May 2017

free pick & preview for May 3

NL: (0) ALDERSHOT - Tranmere (min. odds: 1.80) 1 point;2;0.00;0

If you ask me, the home team should be clear favorites here - the Aldershot odds did already shorten quite a bit, but there's still some value left as the opening odds were just ridiculous. Aldershot are the third best home team in the league with fifteen wins and only three defeats in their 23 home games (they've lost to Forest Green back in October and then to a couple of mid-table teams, Macclesfield and Eastleigh, a month later, but haven't lost a single home game since), they have the best defence in the league with only 37 goals conceded in 46 games and also the best home defence by far with only thirteen (!) goals conceded in 23 home games, they're without a single defeat at home since November or, if you want, in as many as thirteen games (2:0 vs Boreham Wood, 3:3 vs East Thurrock in the FA Trophy with a reserve team and long-gone centre-back Saville sent off before the break, 4:0 vs Woking, 2:1 vs Southport, 0:0 vs York, 2:2 vs Barrow, 4:0 vs Bromley, 0:0 vs Lincoln, 2:0 vs Sutton, 3:1 vs Dag & Red, 1:1 vs Torquay, 1:0 vs Dover and, finally, 2:0 vs Braintree on the closing day of the regular season last weekend), they have an excellent home record against top-five teams (3:1 vs the very same Tranmere in September, 0:4 to Forest Green, when they were without their joint top scorer Rendell, still hadn't signed the likes of key winger Kanu and key midfielder Benyu and had key centre-back Evans sent off after only sixteen minutes, 0:0 vs champions Lincoln in early March and, finally, 3:1 vs Dag & Red in late March - exclude the four goals conceded in a freak game with Forest Green and you get only nine goals conceded in the remaining 22 home games) and, last but not least, they were excellent against Tranmere this season, both home (3:1 in September, when they took an early 3rd minute lead, conceded an equaliser before the break, but retook the lead from a 79th minute penalty and added another in 82nd thanks to centre-back Evans' great volley; they had six shots on target - and scored thrice - and additional three shots off target, while Tranmere had three shots on target - and scored once - and additional two shots off target) and away (2:2 in mid-April, when they once again took an early 3rd minute lead, after which Tranmere scored twice and Aldershot scored their second, all before the break; they had five shots on target - and scored twice - and additional three shots off target, while Tranmere had six shots on target - and scored twice - and three additional shots off target, which means they've scored five goals from eleven shots on target in two games, while conceding three from Tranmere's nine shots on target). As far as their expected team is concerned, they're once again at full-strength, so Cole between the sticks (three consecutive clean sheets, five clean sheets in the last seven, eleven clean sheets in the last seventeen), Alexander/Arnold, Reynolds, Evans (who's scored more than a couple of important goals after that 82nd minute match-deciding volley for a two-goal lead at home against the very same Tranmere) and Arnold/Straker at the back, Gallagher, Kellerman/Oyeleke and Benyu in the middle of the park, Kanu and Mensah on the flanks and Rendell/McClure up front. They could obviously go with a 442 as well, but I think they'll go with a couple of pacy wingers Kanu and Mensah on the flanks and either Rendell or McClure up front.

I'm not saying Tranmere shouldn't be favorites over the two legs - they've finished the regular part of the season with only four points less than champions and FA Cup heroes Lincoln (and thirteen more than Aldershot), they're the joint (with Lincoln) best away team in the league with thirteen wins and only five defeats in 23 away games, they have the best away defence with only twenty goals conceded in 23 away games and also the second best defence in the league with 39 goals conceded in 43 games and they've only lost one of their last eleven away games, eight of which were wins (3:0 at Woking, 4:1 at Chelmsford in the FA Trophy, 2:0 at Eastleigh, 3:2 at Chester, 1:2 at Barrow, 1:1 at Macclesfield in the FA Trophy, 0:0 at Torquay, 4:1 at North Ferriby, 1:0 at Wrexham, 2:1 at Guiseley and, finally, 1:0 with a reserve team at Maidstone last Saturday). It was a nice, to say the least, away schedule though - only one of those nine league games was at a top-half team and they've deservedly lost that one 1:2 away at depleted Barrow who finished the season 7th and seven points off the play-off zone. And now we get to the really interesting part - Tranmere have failed to win a single one of their eight games against top-five teams this season. They've lost 1:3 away at the very same Aldershot back in early September for starters, then lost 0:1 at home to Lincoln the following weekend, then shared points in a goalless draw away at Dag & Red in early October, then shared points in a 2:2 draw away at Forest Green in mid-November, then lost 1:2 away at Lincoln in mid-December, 0:2 at home to Dag & Red in late January and 0:1 at home to Forest Green in mid-April and finally shared points in a 2:2 draw at home with Aldershot in mid-April. Unfortunately, I don't have the shots on/off target for the Forest Green games, but they've had 24 shots on target and scored four goals in the other six games (1:3 at Aldershot, 0:1 to Lincoln, 0:0 at Dag & Red, 1:2 at Lincoln, 0:2 to Dag & Red, 2:2 vs Aldershot), while their opponents had 33 shots on target and scored ten. As far as their expected team is concerned, they're far from being at full strength, unlike Aldershot (they do have an advantage of resting all first-choice players on Saturday). The likes of key winger Tollitt, key midfielder Harris, key right-back/wing-back Vaughan, first-choice centre-back Sutton, striker Stephenson and another winger Kirby are all out injured and the likes of midfielders Maynard and Wallace aren't exactly at 100% after being out injured for a couple of months. With first-choice right-back/wing-back Vaughan added to the injury list on the punultimate weekend of the regular season, I'm not sure if Mellon will stick to the three-man central defence of Buxton, Steve 'Sumo' McNulty and Ihiekwe as Buxton is their only remaining senior player who's played at right wing-back so far this season (when Mellon finally gave Vaughan a bit of rest in the FA Trophy in mid-March, only to introduce him before the hour mark after all). I suppose Buxton could be switched to right wing-back and Maynard could be one of the three central defenders as he plays in central defence for the St Kitts and Nevis National Team. Buxton could also keep his spot in their three-man central defence and versatile Maynard (or one of the more attacking wide players who aren't out injured, so Dunn or, less likely, Mekki) could be switched to right wing-back. Mellon could also decide to switch to 442 for the first time since February (in which case there aren't many doubts - McNulty and Ihiekwe would be centre-backs, Buxton would be right-back and Ridehalgh would be left-back). With that many selection problems at Tranmere, I doubt I'll get it right, but I suppose we could see Davies between the sticks, McNulty, Ihiekwe and Buxton/Maynard in central defence, Maynard/Buxton/Dunn and Ridehalgh as wing-backs, Hughes and Wallace/Maynard in the middle of the park and Connor Jennings behind Norwood and Cook/Stockton up front. That's still an excellent team, but the likes of key midfielder Harris, key winger Tollitt, key right-back/wing-back Vaughan and first-choice centre-back Sutton will be missed and, as I've explained, Tranmere are still without a single win against a top-five team this season. All things considered, anything better 1.80 for this draw-no-bet (we get our money back in case of a draw) looks great to me.

pre-mail odds: 2.00 with Pinnacle
recorded odds (sixty-second delay): 1.93 with Pinnacle
best available odds at the moment: 1.83 with Pinnacle (1.86 with Marathon)
min. odds / my odds: 1.80


  1. What an awful tip. You could not have got the game more wrong. All that waffle for nothing except the fact I lost my money. I certainly won't be paying you a large amount for your tips

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    I know what I would do if I were you and so convinced I'm such an awful tipster - I'd join the service next season and lay all the official bets. Sure, I've won nine of the ten bets in April and this is my 11th consecutive profitable season, but what's that compared to this one bet? Nothing. I was simply lucky - both in April and in the last eleven years. Troll off, mate.