The first Spireites match of February and Sky Bet are here to give out their pre-match odds for the division this weekend.
Colchester United v Crewe Alexandra
Crewe go into this clash a place and a point ahead of Colchester in the Sky Bet League 1 standings, but both will be wanting to get away from the bottom of the table. The hosts are 21/20 favourites to win this match, with Crewe 5/2 and the draw 12/5 with Sky Bet. The U’s last eight home matches have seen both teams scoring on five occasions. For Crewe it is a similar record as both teams have scored in five of their last eight on the road, with them scoring in seven. Nicky Ajose has scored five in 13 for Crewe and is rated a 6/1 chance to score the first goal here. Alexandra boss Steve Davis will be hoping for a reaction from his players following their 5-0 defeat at home to MK Dons last weekend. After a poor patch of form, Colchester have taken seven points from their last 12 and look to be steadying the ship as they bid to climb away from the relegation zone. Both teams will fancy their chances of a win here and there could well be goals.
Top Tip: Both teams to score at 4/6.
Doncaster Rovers v Walsall
Doncaster are unbeaten in seven in the league and go into this as 5/4 favourites. But Walsall have themselves lost only once in their last five and are 11/5 with the draw being 9/4. In the reverse fixture at the Banks Stadium, Walsall ran out 3-0 winners, so Paul Dickov will be hoping to avenge that defeat and Rovers will still be hurting after letting a two-goal lead slip away at Chesterfield last weekend, only managing to leave with a point. Recent form suggests goals may not be easy to come by here. Seven matches at the Keepmoat Stadium have been goalless at half-time this season, while Walsall are similarly resolute on the road with six of their matches on the road being 0-0 at half time. Should goals be scored, Walsall’s Tom Bradshaw should be among the contributors. He is their top scorer this season with 14 goals, and an 11/2 chance to score first or 6/4 to net anytime with Sky Bet.
Top Tip: A 0-0 draw at half time at 13/8
Fleetwood Town v Peterborough United
Two mid-table sides level on points meet here at Highbury. Sky Bet have priced Fleetwood up as marginal favourites at 6/4 with Peterborough 7/4 and the draw is priced at 23/10. After failing to win in five, Posh have bounced back to win their last two and retain hope of securing a play-off place – they are 20/1 with the League 1 sponsors to be promoted this season. The Cod Army have been somewhat hit and miss of late, winning two and losing two of their last five, but are defensively strong and they will be hoping to shut out their rivals here. It was a tight encounter when Peterborough won this match 1-0 at London Road in September. Peterborough’s 21-year-old striker Marcus Maddison has scored 13 goals in all competitions this season. He has netted in both of Posh’s last two victories with those goals also being the first in the match. He’s a 13/2 chance to complete the hat-trick here.
Top Tip: Marcus Maddison to score first at 13/2.
Gillingham v Sheffield United
Gillingham looked in some trouble at the turn of the year but after two wins and a draw, the situation has improved. For three points here they are priced at 11/4 against high-flying Sheffield United who are even-money to win. A share of the spoils is 12/5. Nigel Clough’s men faced an FA Cup Fourth Round replay on Tuesday, which they lost at home 3-1 to Preston. Could the extra rest play into Gillingham’s hands as they look to extend their run of improved form? It’s still possible that they could make the play-offs being only seven points behind their opposition going into the game, although Sky Bet’s price of 250/1 (compared to the 4/1 quote for the visitors) tells its own story. In the last six Sky Bet League 1 games at the Priestfield Stadium there have been 27 goals. With that in mind, an ambitious bet, could be to back both sides to score during both halves of the match.
Top Tip: Both teams to score in both halves at 18/1.
MK Dons v Bristol City
This clash at Stadium MK sees the top two go head to head, with neither side having lost in their last five Sky Bet League 1 matches. MK Dons are 21/20 to take three points and regain top spot, with Bristol City 5/2 to win and go five points clear of today’s opponents. In the reverse fixture at Ashton Gate the Robins were the victors, winning 3-2 - but since then MK Dons haven’t lost away!Bristol City have themselves only lost twice away from home this season and on both occasions it was a marginal 1-0 defeat. At 12/5 the draw looks a good price in the undoubted clash of the weekend. Bristol City have scored the first goal in 73% of their League 1 matches this season, so a small play on their top scorer Matt Smith - 11 goals in all competitions - looks to be a fair bet.
Top Tip: Matt Smith to be first goalscorer at 11/2.
Notts County v Chesterfield
Notts County will be looking to bridge the gap to the play-off places with a victory against fifth-placed Chesterfield. The Magpies are 11/5 for victory, while the Spireites are rated as 6/5 favourites. The draw is 12/5. A concern for Chesterfield, following the Deadline Day departure of top scorer Eoin Doyle, is where goals are going to come from. He had scored 25 goals in all competitions with midfielder Sam Clucas next best with only eight New arrival Caolan Lavery, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, heads the first goalscorer betting for the visitors at 11/2. Notts County have only won once in their last six games at Meadow Lane, but Chesterfield have themselves only won once at away from home in their last 10. Statistics suggest that both teams tend to become stronger as the game goes on, so backing the goals to come in the second half could be the way to go.
Top Tip: Both teams to score in the second half at 9/4
Port Vale v Bradford City
Both sides sit in a congested mid-table and both have legitimate play-off aspirations. Sky Bet narrowly prefer the claims of the visitors at 11/8, ahead of Vale at 19/10, with the draw on offer at 23/10. The Valiants have done well at Vale Park of late, only losing twice in the last 10. Bradford have also been in fair form, having won three of their last five away from home in the League. With the FA Cup next weekend Phil Parkinson will be keen his players don’t see that competition as a distraction from a potential promotion push. Vale boss Rob Page was boosted by the return of top scorer Tom Pope last weekend, but after half an hour in that defeat to Barnsley, Ben Williamson limped off and is likely to be out of this fixture. Both sides look fairly evenly matched on paper and could cancel each other out on the pitch – just as they did at Valley Parade earlier in the season.
Top Tip: The draw at 23/10.
Preston North End v Coventry City
Fourth-placed Preston are strong favourites at 8/13 with Sky Bet to defeat Coventry at Deepdale on Saturday. The visiting Sky Blues are on offer at 15/4 and the draw is available at 13/5. Simon Grayson’s Preston have drawn three of their last four home games with two of them finishing 1-1. The Lilywhites are seven points off third-placed Swindon and are eight points clear of the two teams below them so will be confident of a play-off spot. Coventry have won three of their last six away fixtures and were involved in a goalless draw when they travelled to Yeovil. Four of Preston’s home matches have finished 1-1 this season and that could be the way to go if you fancy the visitors to make it tough for North End.
Top Tip: A 1-1 draw at 11/2
Rochdale v Leyton Orient
Rochdale start life without Matt Done against Leyton Orient on Saturday following the influential forward’s departure for Sheffield United on Deadline Day. Dale are well in the race for a play-off place and are priced up at 11/10 for the victory, Orient are 12/5 and the draw is on offer at the same price. Away from home, the O’s have won one, drawn one and lost three of their last five games and it’s an identical record for Rochdale at home. Take a look at Orient striker Chris Dagnall at 13/2 in the first goalscorer betting. He has bagged nine goals this season with four coming in his last six. Rochdale’s Ian Henderson heads the odds at 9/2.
Top Tip: Chris Dagnall to score first at 13/2
Scunthorpe United v Oldham Athletic
Scunthorpe are priced up at 7/5 with Sky Bet for victory at home to Oldham on Saturday. The visiting Latics are on offer at 15/8 and the draw can be backed at 23/10. The last three meetings between these two sides have seen both teams find the back of the net, with two draws and an Oldham victory earlier this season. Rhys Murphy could make his Athletic debut after signing from Sky Bet League 2 side Dagenham & Redbridge on Deadline Day. Two of the strikers likely to be on show sit high up in the top goalscorer charts. Jonathan Forte has 13 goals for Oldham and Iron Paddy Madden has 10 for Scunthorpe.
Top Tip: Jonathan Forte and Paddy Madden both to score at 5/1
Swindon Town v Barnsley
Swindon are the odds-on favourites at 8/13 to boost their promotion challenge with victory at home to Barnsley on Saturday. The visiting Tykes are looking to build on two home wins in a row and can be backed as outsiders for the three points at 9/2. The draw is priced at 11/4. Barnsley haven’t travelled well recently only two wins from eight games and they are faced with a tough task against a Robins side dreaming of the Championship. Four of Swindon’s last five wins at home have come 1-0 and Barnsley have lost 1-0 in two of their last three away matches. We can’t take our eyes off Andy Williams with nine goals in his last eight games for the Robins and he’s 7/2 to net first. Sam Winnall is the top Barnsley contender at 8/1.
Top Tip: Andy Williams to score first at 7/2
Yeovil Town v Crawley Town
This is a big game at the bottom of Sky Bet League 1 between two sides in the relegation zone. Yeovil slipped to the bottom of the table following their narrow away defeat at Peterborough but are still the 3/4 favourites to claim victory here, Terry Skiverton having taken the reins as caretaker boss in midweek. Crawley are on offer at 15/4 and a win could take them out of the relegation zone, if other results go in their favour. The draw is priced at 5/2. Looking at the statistics suggests the way to go in this one will be with second half goals. This season games involving Yeovil have seen 39 second half goals compared to only 22 in the first half. It is a similar record for Crawley whose matches have had 32 first half goals, compared with 41 after the break.
Top Tip: Most goals to be scored in the second half at 11/10.
Sky Bet are the Title Sponsor of The Football League. This season, a £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund will go to a Football League club to spend on players in the summer transfer window.
Fans who bet with Sky Bet generate Transfer Fund Tokens and go into a random draw to win a £5,000 prize – and the £250,000 Sky Bet Transfer Fund for their Football League club.
To sign up, go to www.skybet.com/transferfund and select the Football League team you support.