This weekend’s Home Heroes treble for League One and League Two could be a corker, with big odds available for Brentford beating Carlisle United, Crewe crushing Colchester United and Cheltenham Town bashing Burton Albion.
And with Christmas just round the corner, I could really do with earning a few quid on this one.
After all, last week’s dream FA Cup picks ended up being something of a nightmare, with a number of non-league Freddy Kruegers putting paid to my chances of cleaning up courtesy of England’s oldest cup competition.
And yet, ever the optimist, I return this week to dispense fresh advice on all things League One and League Two. A few brisk days of meditation in my tactics shed appear to have done the trick, with my three picks all heading into their respective games as favourites and with big odds on the table for a treble.
Backing the trio of Crewe, Brentford and Cheltenham could bring returns of £148.50 for anyone using bwin’s free £20 bet for new registrants – which, to my mind, equates to 148 Christmas presents sorted (I’ll be shopping at Poundland, you see).
Brentford to beat Carlisle United @ 13/20
While I’m not one to endorse national stereotypes as a general rule, it must be noted that Brentford manager Uwe Rosler has got the London club operating with typical German efficiency in League One.
The Bees have merrily buzzed their way to three wins and a draw in their last four competitive games and have lost just one of their last 12 matches in all competitions.
Rosler’s boys have been quite formidable at home too, with six wins and two draws in their last eight matches at Griffin Park.
The visit of Carlisle should pose little in the way of a threat to that record, with the Cumbrians heading to the capital with just one win in their last three matches. Greg Abbott’s team have been particularly weak on the road, having gone three games without an away win.
History is also on the side of Brentford, as the Bees have won each of their last three encounters with Carlisle at Griffin Park. Back the hosts to make it four at 13/20.
Cheltenham Town to beat Burton Albion @ 4/5
Last weekend’s 0-0 draw with top-of-the-table Gillingham was a clear message of intent from Paul Yates’ team, who no doubt have designs on a move up to League One.
The Robins have been singing a sweet tune at Whaddon Road of late, with nine points and eight goals in their three home fixtures.
They will be confident of adding to that tally against Burton, having won home and away in the sides’ previous two encounters last term.
And while Albion have proven resilient at home, their away form leaves something to be desired, as they have picked up just one win from their last three ventures outside the comforts of the Pirelli Stadium. I predict a home win at 4/5.
Crewe Alexandra to beat Colchester United @ 6/4
Last time out, Crewe put me in my place with an impressive 2-0 win over their heavily-fancied opponents Doncaster. It represented the Railwaymen’s third win in four competitive games and the kind of form that could see the newly-promoted club get their season back on track.
Home is most certainly where the heart is for the Alex, as they have claimed wins in three of their last four outings on their own patch, including a 2-1 win over promotion favourites Swindon Town and a 4-1 drubbing of Wycombe Wanderers.
Their opponents Colchester United, meanwhile, head into this one having hit a poor patch of form. The honeymoon period is definitely over for Joe Dunne, with the U’s now on a run of three games without a win – including a humiliating loss to non-league Chelmsford City in the FA Cup.
With Crewe winning their only previous home meeting with Colchester in League One, another triumph could well be the result here at 6/4.