EFL Value Bets – 21st January: Shrewsbury to Sunderland

EFL Value Bets - 21st January


The three matches packed into this ‘EFL Value Bets – 21st January’ betting preview:

  • Newport vs AFC Wimbledon Preview
  • Shrewsbury vs Cambridge Argyle Preview
  • Sunderland vs Middlesborough Preview

After landing 2/3 selections on last weekend’s ZICOBALL betting preview, Matthew O’Regan returns in an attempt to go one step further and clinch the clean sheet. Let’s get to it…

Newport vs AFC Wimbledon

Starting in Wales and heading to a clash between 18th-placed Newport and AFC Wimbledon in 13th. Graham Coughlan’s side are seven points clear of relegation. Still, the upturn in the form of Colchester and the new investment in Gillingham may have the Exiles nervously checking over their shoulders.

It seems an age away that Rodney Parade was a fortress for Michael Flynn, with the swamp-like conditions causing issues for visiting teams. Unfortunately, Coughlan’s team are a far cry from the team of yesteryear. They are six without a win, scoring only four goals in this stretch. Furthermore, this dismal run is made worse by being held at home by a free-falling Crawley and at lowly Rochdale in the same week.

Another bleak statistic for Newport is that they failed to score first in any of these games. Whilst it could show fighting spirit, it took Wimbledon to go a man down for Newport to salvage a draw before coming from behind for a point against Crawley and Rochdale, who rank in the bottom three for goals conceded. Coughlan’s side won’t be afforded that luxury against a defensively resolute AFC Wimbledon side who have only conceded four in their last ten.

Jonnie Jackson’s side boasts clean sheets at home to table toppers Leyton Orient and title favourites Bradford whilst also shutting out Tranmere, Swindon and Salford on their travels. In the same timeframe, Newport rank 19th in the division’s form table.

In terms of home form, the Welsh side have been abysmal, with only three wins and three draws in 13. Since their opening day defeat of Tranmere, Newport have only beaten Colchester and Gillingham in front of their own fans, two teams languishing towards the bottom of the table.

On the other hand, Wimbledon have picked up 17 of their 36 points away from home. Jackson seems to have found the perfect balance to his side, and it’s undoubtedly bearing fruits. Josh Davison and Ethan Chislett provide energy and goals upfront, with 34-year-old Alex Pearce shepherding a youthful defence.

With the form of both teams, coupled with Newport’s limp home form, I am going to side with the visitors on the Asian handicap. Backing the +0.5 AFC Wimbledon handicap at 1.8 on Bet 365 sees the bet win if The Dons avoid defeat.

  • Pick: Wimbledon +0.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.80 – bet365

EFL Value Bets – 21st January odds via bet365 as of 09:00 January 20th – Prices may now differ from those stated above.

Shrewsbury vs Cambridge

From Wales to Shropshire now as Shrewsbury host Cambridge at Montgomery Waters Meadow, a home team that is the definition of inconsistent. From beating Peterborough, Lincoln and Bolton at home on the trot to losing to Cheltenham and Fleetwood in the space of a week – you never know what you’ll get from Salop. But, overall, their home record is solid with 17 points from 13, ranking them 14th in this department.

On paper, this Shrewsbury side is filled with League One talent. Carl Winchester, Luke Leahy, and Tom Bayliss are fantastically balanced as a midfield three. Jordan Shipley at left-back is a player who’s stood out, with seven-goal contributions in 23 starts. Youngster Christian Saydee has four in five and is one to watch. Tom Flanagan, Chey Dunkley and Matt Pennington is an experienced and talented back three, so it is a mystery how Shrewsbury isn’t higher up the table.

Cambridge, on the other hand, are struggling. Mark Bonner has worked wonders getting the U’s promoted and keeping them up, but a lack of investment and quality in his squad may come back to bite them. Cambridge sits in the bottom four, losing their last three, with one win in 11 in all competitions. Team spirit and keeping it tight defensively was a key reason for Bonner’s success, but his side have conceded 41 this season – a total only Burton and Forest Green have exceeded. Away from home, The Yellows have floundered, with seven points meaning they have the worst away record in the league.

With Shrewsbury only 8 points off the playoffs, they will fancy their chances of upsetting the apple cart. Steve Cotterill’s side looks ahead to an enticing run of fixtures, and victory over lowly Cambridge will give them much-needed momentum.

  • Pick: Shrewsbury Win @ 1.80 – bet365

EFL Value Bets – 21st January odds via bet365 as of 09:00 January 20th – Prices may now differ from those stated above.

Sunderland vs Middlesborough

Now, to End the EFL weekend with a mouth-watering tie in the North East between Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Tony Mowbray’s Sunderland sit comfortably in 10th place, a mere 3 points behind the playoffs. An early Luke O’Nien red card v Swansea scuppered the Black Cats’ chances of extending their 5-game unbeaten run as they succumbed to a 3-1 home defeat.

The goal tally was reflective of most of the games at The Stadium Of Light this season, with over 2.5 goals landing in 8/13 games on Wearside. Their home games average 2.53 goals, so they never fail to entertain. Whilst Ellis Simms’ loan spell being cruelly curtailed by Everton was sure to hurt, Mowbray has abundant attacking talent to soften the blow.

The ‘Lochness Drogba’ Ross Stewart has five in six since returning from injury, bringing his total to ten in 11. Supplying him, he has an exciting three, with Patrick Roberts, Amad Diallo and Jack Clarke combining for 23 goal contributions between them.

However, the red card flashed to makeshift centre half Luke O’Nien has thrown a spanner in the works, with the leggy Danny Batth expected to take his place. Not ideal preparation to face an in-form Middlesbrough.

Michael Carrick has transformed ‘Boro, seeing them skyrocket up to 4th. His side are third in the form table since his introduction, picking up 25 points in 11. He has also brought the goals to the Riverside, with 12 games in all competitions, taking the average to over three goals per game.

Over 2.5 has landed in 10/12 and 7/7 away games under his stewardship. He has brought out the untapped potential in Chuba Akpom, with the ex-Arsenal striker boasting ten goals in 12 since Carrick took charge. Finnish striker Marcus Forss has also found his mojo, with three in his last five league starts.

It’s not just under Carrick where the goals have flown. 11/14 of Middlesbrough’s away games have seen over 2.5 goals land- the highest in the league. With two gluttonous, goal-hungry sides on display at The Stadium Of Light, an entertaining affair should be on the cards.

  • Pick: Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.00 – bet365

EFL Value Bets – 21st January odds via bet365 as of 09:00 January 20th – Prices may now differ from those stated above.

Words by Matthew O’Regan – @Matthew_ORegan