Something for the weekend
Our Matt Briggs hunts out some early value once again from the weekend's football coupon.
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Championship - Ipswich v Watford
The Premier League has been a punting graveyard for this column over the last few weeks and with Liverpool (1/4), Man City (2/5) and Man Utd (4/11) all heavily odds on next weekend to beat Cardiff, Fulham and West Ham respectively, there seems to be little value around and it is well worth employing a watching brief.
So thank the lord for the Football League, which had us in profit again with Derby (11/8) doing the business again under Steve McClaren and League Two highflyers Newport also recording a sneaky away win at Portsmouth at 85/40.
The Championship has been a decent hunting ground in the last few months and Ipswich look more than capable of keeping up our good run with a win against free-falling Watford. The Tractor Boys are 11/8 shots and bearing in mind they have won six of their 10 home games that maths looks well worth investing in. Blackburn and Huddersfield have both been rolled over in Suffolk in the last few home games and the recent goalless draw away at Nottingham Forest displayed the determination and desire that Mick McCarthy has instilled in his side.
The Hornets on the other hand are without a win in nine games and even boss Gianfranco Zola is clueless as to how to halt their drift into mid-table.
Zola said: "What is the real problem? I don't know. We are not going through a good moment in terms of confidence because we produce chances but it's difficult for us to score."
And if Zola's not sure how to stop the rot then that's enough for me to oppose them on the road against David McGoldrick and co.
League One - Crewe v Shrewsbury
League One strugglers Crewe have had a season to forget so far, but recently there have been signs that Steve Davis' men are starting to turn the corner.
The Alex earned a draw at Coventry last weekend and Davis was delighted with the spirit in what he described as a "hard-fought draw". That result came on the back of a home win over Crawley and we're backing them to make it back-to-back home wins against Shrewsbury. Crewe are a tempting 6/4 shot and while their record of just three home wins in 10 is far from impressive, as I said earlier, they might just be on the up and worth supporting.
Shrewsbury meanwhile are a team who have struggled to show any real consistency recently and their 1-0 home defeat by Walsall which boss Graham Turner described as "bitterly disappointing". That home defeat came on the back of their first away win - a 3-1 success at Stevenage - but that result looks like being the exception rather than the rule with the Shrews losing five of their nine away games. With that in mind 2/1 about an away win looks very short and Crewe are worth supporting at home to continue their revival.
League Two - Newport v AFC Wimbledon/Daggenham & Redbridge v Torquay
Into League Two and I'm banking on two home wins that look bigger than they should be.
Firstly, Newport look a tasty price at evens to see off AFC Wimbledon at fortress Rodney Parade. The Welsh side are the division's in-form team and with seven home wins from nine, they are a side to be feared and look more than capable of winning back-to-back promotions. They certainly have plenty of momentum at the moment and a visit from Wimbledon shouldn't hold any fear for Justin Edinburgh's men. Only Fleetwood have scored more home goals, while Wimbledon have lost five of their 10 away games and only keeper Ross Worner stopped them from losing at home to out-of-form Mansfield last time out.
The evens about Newport won't last long so take the early price before the majority of punters latch on to the hosts' impressive recent form.
Another home team who should be shorter than their initial 10/11 quote are Dagenham.
The Daggers possess the division's top scorer in Rhys Murphy, while winger Zavon Hines has also been starring for the men from the capital. The Daggers have won six of their nine home games with high-fliers Rochdale and Burton both coming a cropper there so far this season and they should be 8/13 shots against Torquay. But because they're unfashionable with the bookies there is some value to be had with them, despite their considerable improvement this season, and they look a must against a Torquay team who have only won four games this term. Two of those have been away from Plainmoor, but with 20 goals conceded and seven away defeats they have the worst defensive record away from home in the division and last weekend's shock home win over Southend was only their second in 12 games and they are a bottom of the pile for a reason.