Time to back Bairns
Scottish lower-league expert Colin Ross previews Saturday's action in the SPFL play-offs with Falkirk at the top of his staking plan.
- Related Content
In my ante-post play-off piece I was happy to be with the favourites - having the second leg at home with a bigger-than-average support will be a big advantage.
However, after the first legs of the five ties, four of the jollies are in precarious position and will need terrific displays, and maybe a slice of luck, to get them into the final.
Falkirk fall into this category, trailing 2-1 from Tuesday's game in Dumfries against Queen of the South.
Leading 1-0 early on through a Blair Alston goal they surrendered the advantage to two goals from on-loan striker Bob McHugh, the second coming in the 90th minute.
The tie is not beyond them though and 21/20 is a fair price for Falkirk to turn it around.
Not many clubs in the country can boast better home records and indeed Falkirk's last league defeat at the Community Stadium was back in October last year.
The 13 league games since have produced 10 wins and three draws, scoring 25 goals and conceding only six in the process. Impressive stats.
Of course, stats don't win games and manager Gary Holt will be keen for his players to take the game to Queen of the South and have the tie level early in the piece.
This young Falkirk side have improved as the season has progressed but will need a top-drawer performance to see off the stubborn borderers, who boast experience aplenty in their ranks.
I am siding with Falkirk as I feel they play more expansive football, and the terrific home record can be enough to complete the job.
The four games in the Championship and League One play-offs produced three one-goal victories and one two-goal margin. In three of the four, the bookies' favourites to qualify lost the game leaving uphill tasks.
When the matches finished at 9.30pm on Wednesday I compiled my prices for Saturday's second legs.
Unfortunately the bookies and I are almost in total agreement with the odds for the four games. Value is scarce, and it may be advisable to leave games alone unless any favourable team news arrives.
However, I did say that goals could be expected in the ties. Eleven in first legs is close to average, but with a couple of the fancied sides having to chase goals - and at this level none of the teams in front really capable of defending a narrow advantage - I can see the 11 goals being comfortably overhauled.
To play safe, and try to point readers to a winning selection, I will recommend an over 2.5 goals double in the second leg games at East End Park, where Dunfermline host Stranraer, and at Galabank, where Annan entertain Stirling Albion.
13/8 for the double represents reasonable value. I see both matches around 1/2 which would pay 5/4.
The away sides are in command of the ties at present, the home sides will have to be on the front foot and I see a recipe for goals.
- Colin provides further tips via SCOTFOOTY4PROFIT, a simple, low-cost text and email service, providing quality selections on Scottish football. And as a special offer to sportinglife.com users, he's offering his service for free over the final weeks of the season. For full details of his service and the offer, contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.