With promotion, relegation and play-off places at stake in the Sky Bet Championship and League Two, our Saturday Seven returns with acca tips and a best bet.
2pts Exeter to beat Barrow at 5/6 (SBK) (NAP)
The equation facing EXETER is simple – beat Barrow or it’s another season in the fourth tier for the League Two nearly men.
In fairness, after losing three of the past four play-off finals they might want to miss out just to avoid a repeat of that heartache.
But, joking aside, the footballing gods have been on the Grecians’ side in recent weeks – they scored twice late on to come from behind to beat 10-man Grimsby then hit an injury-time winner at Bolton.
A draw might be enough to pinch seventh spot but it’s unlikely. Even with a win they are reliant on some help but they have three sides above them they could overtake and Barrow – four defeats in five – are surely among the opponents Exeter would hand-pick, making SBK’s 5/6 on a home win look big.
Birmingham City did us up a kipper in this column last week to illustrate an important lesson – that being, at this stage of the season, don’t put your acca on until after the 2pm teamsheets come out.
Yes, it’s a pain – and when we write this column a couple of days before the games take place, it’s a luxury we Sporting Life tipsters don’t have – but it can really inform your betting. We can't do it but you can.
Blues were in excellent form heading into their game with Cardiff but boss Lee Bowyer decided to play the kids and they got hammered 4-0.
His desire to look at fringe players is understandable and should provide value if he does the same at Ewood Park against a BLACKBURN side who have won their past two at home.
BOURNEMOUTH came close to being the NAP selection at 5/6 (again with SBK) or 4/5 generally. They have already secured their Championship play-off spot but their game with Stoke is still important.
Any result other than a win could see the Cherries slip from fifth to sixth, meaning a play-off meeting with ‘top seeds’ Brentford – surely something they would wish to avoid?
A win could also catapult them up to fourth, which would mean home advantage in the second leg of their play-off semi, another bonus given the expected return of some fans to stadia in May.
Bournemouth have been strong at home all season and should be far too good for a Stoke side whose season is meandering to a mid-table conclusion, with four defeats in a six-game winless run.
CARDIFF are as big as 7/5 with a couple of firms and 27/20 or 13/10 generally to beat Rotherham and those odds appear slightly on the large side.
The Bluebirds have little to play for but thrashed Birmingham last weekend and, to be frank, the Millers seem to be shattered.
The woes of Derby and Sheffield Wednesday have handed Rotherham a golden opportunity to move out of the drop zone using their games in hand but they have not had the energy or quality to do so.
They have to win in Wales to have a chance of survival but two points from the last 21 available tells its own story and their desperation should lead to gaps that Cardiff can punish.
If you like your acca with a few folds on it, it’s difficult to avoid at least one game where both teams have nothing riding on the outcome – and QUEENS PARK RANGERS are your best bet in that regard.
The R’s have won eight of their last 13 games to finish the Championship season strongly and have also triumphed in seven of their past 10 home matches.
Visitors Luton are no mugs, unbeaten in six, but have lost 11 of 22 away games this season and odds of 23/20 generally about a home win look slightly generous for the in-form Hoops.
WATFORD and Swansea both already know their end-of-season destinies – the Hornets have clinched an immediate return to the Premier League while the Swans are in the play-offs.
City may well rest players for their upcoming two-leg semi-final and even if they don’t, they have been pretty ropey recently, just three wins in 10 and two of those coming against sides in the bottom four.
Watford, meanwhile, have won eight consecutive games at Vicarage Road and will surely want to wrap up in style – it’s a surprise to see them slightly odds against across the board when form says they should be odds-on.
Speaking of wrapping things up in style, CHELTENHAM, who have already secured promotion, can seal the Sky Bet League Two title if they win at home to Harrogate.
The Robins have been reliable at Whaddon Road all season and particularly so in recent weeks, winning six and drawing one of their past eight home matches.
They are a best-priced 8/13 but that’s a solid addition to any acca, particularly on an unpredictable day like this, against a mid-table Harrogate side boasting only two wins (both at home) in 11.
We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.
If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.