Most Read Football

Montenegro v England in Euro 2020 qualifying1

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Free betting tips: Preview for the Sky Bet EFL fixtures on February 23

Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action
Our best bets for the latest round of Sky Bet EFL action

We return to a full weekend of fixtures in the Sky Bet EFL following FA Cup action. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.


Recommended bets

1pt Jack Harrison to score anytime in Leeds v Bolton at 16/5

1pt Over 11.5 corners in Portsmouth v Barnsley at 2/1

1pt Luke Garbutt to score anytime in Blackpool v Oxford at 14/1

For advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Leeds v Bolton

Leeds United celebrate Jack Harrison's goal against Derby
Leeds United celebrate Jack Harrison's goal against Derby

This should be a fairly straightforward victory for Marcelo Bielsa's men as they look to move back to the top of the table.

Bolton have struggled throughout the season with off-field issues affecting the club's ability to perform on it. Wanderers are firmly in the mix for relegation back to Sky Bet League One.

Bielsa spoke on Thursday about how his priority is securing a win here, but there is an acknowledgement that it could be a game where they could boost their goal difference.

As ever he did also name his team in the press conference and one player who will feature, as has been the case often in recent weeks, is Jack Harrison.

The winger seems to link up well down the left-side with Gjanni Alioski and has put in some solid performances since becoming a regular starter.

Harrison also grabbed the second goal in Leeds' 2-1 victory over Swansea last time out. He connected with Alioski's cross to head the ball into the bottom corner.

There is value in backing him to grab another goal here and add number four to his tally. The on-loan Manchester City man has benefited greatly from having Alioski play in the left-back role.

Against a weak Bolton defence, Harrison's pace will cause them all sorts of problems. His finishing ability is impressive for a winger, whether it be from close range or distance, and that makes the 16/5 available on a goal anytime an option worth taking.

The 1/4 available on Leeds is hardly a surprise but backing home goals is a better option for value in a game-specific market.

Leeds are a side who create a lot of chances, the problem is that they waste a lot of those opportunities. This seems the perfect game to grab a few goals, and the 31/20 with Betfair on three or more Leeds goals is another to consider.

Best bet: Jack Harrison to score anytime at 16/5

Opta facts

  • Leeds have won their last six matches against Bolton in all competitions and have beaten the Trotters twice already this season (in the league and League Cup).
  • Bolton have lost their last four visits to Elland Road against Leeds in all competitions since winning 5-1 under Dougie Freedman in March 2014.
  • Leeds are looking to win seven consecutive matches against an opponent for the first time since winning eight in a row against Arsenal between 1973 and 1976.
  • Bolton are looking to win consecutive away league matches for the first time since beating West Brom and Reading in their first two away Championship games this season.
  • Leeds have already won 18 league matches this season – more than in six of their previous seven Championship seasons, with the exception the 2016-17 campaign (22 wins).
  • Bolton’s last seven league goals have been scored by different players (Beevers, Ameobi, O’Neil, Buckley, Hobbs, Donaldson, Connolly).

Portsmouth v Barnsley

Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel
Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel

Two of the sides automatic promotion hopefuls meet at Fratton Park with Portsmouth welcoming Barnsley.

Pompey have gone from title hopefuls to top-two outsiders following a poor run of results. They've seemingly snapped that losing run, although had to settle for draws in their last four encounters - that includes blowing a 3-0 lead against Southend last weekend.

Barnsley though continue to go from strength-to-strength under Daniel Stendel and find themselves in a great position to secure a return to the Sky Bet Championship. They are currently four points clear of third-placed Sunderland.

The value may be in the corners here, with Unibet offering odds of 2/1 on 12 or more in this encounter.

Both sides sit in the top-three for average corners taken per game in League One this season. They average over six each per game, with only Oxford sitting in between for corners taken.

The meeting at Oakwell earlier in the season had a tally of eleven and this game should bring a count around that mark. The fact that Portsmouth's recent league encounters have brought goals should mean we see plenty of attacks.

The same can be said for Barnsley, seven of their last eight have seen over 2.5 goals. Three or more goals can also be backed at even money in most places which may also be worth considering.

It may be tempting to back an away victory given recent form but the draw looks tempting at a general price of 12/5. Portsmouth's record with the points being shared in recent weeks sets this up to be another game where we'll see it end even.

Best bet: Over 11.5 corners at 2/1

Opta facts

  • Portsmouth have lost just one of their last 19 league games at Fratton Park against Barnsley (W13 D5), a 3-1 loss in March 1999 when playing in the second-tier.
  • Barnsley have failed to score on four of their last five visits to Fratton Park, however this was in an epic 4-4 draw back in February 2002.
  • Portsmouth’s Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe have combined for more goals than any other League One duo this season (7).
  • Only Luton Town’s James Collins (9) has scored more League One goals during 2019 than Barnsley striker Cauley Woodrow (6).
  • Portsmouth are winless in seven matches in all competitions (D5 L2) – their longest winless run under manager Kenny Jackett.

Blackpool v Oxford

Given the current off-the-pitch issues at the club, Terry McPhillips will be one of the contenders for my Sky Bet EFL Manager of the Season.

He's guided Blackpool to within touching distance of the play-offs, that's despite many fancying them for the drop when Gary Bowyer resigned after the first game.

Oxford, on the other hand, are firmly in the battle to avoid the drop. Karl Robinson's men have been at that end of the table for large parts of the campaign, that's despite having some talented players in their squad.

In a bid to maintain their status in England's third tier, Robinson has had to make some tactical changes and one that has caught my eye is moving Luke Garbutt further up the pitch.

The on-loan Everton man has struggled slightly in his temporary spell at the club and has been limited to just 15 league appearances, with recent games coming from the bench.

However, the Oxford manager announced recently that he wanted to play Garbutt in a winger role - as opposed to his natural left-back position.

He's also publicly praised the player, which suggests he knows he has a big role to play. Speaking ahead of the Peterborough game last weekend, Robinson said: "I can say Luke Garbutt has really come on in the last month.

"His training habits are one of the best in the club. His willingness to be successful has never wilted and that’s to be commended.

"I really hope he gets that opportunity to show the fans that he’s trying to get back to where he once was."

Garbutt was given a chance in his new role in the defeat to Accrington, where he scored having come on around the hour mark. In addition to that, Marcus Browne, the player he replaced, is an injury doubt meaning that Garbutt could start.

For a team at the bottom end of the division, Oxford do score goals. The 40 on their tally is more than any other side in the relegation zone, while they managed to hit two or more goals in games away at Doncaster, Peterborough and Scunthorpe this season.

Garbutt has a point to prove, and at a price of 14/1 with bet365, the value is certainly there on backing the winger to net anytime here.

Best bet: Luke Garbutt to score anytime at 14/1

Opta facts

  • Blackpool have only lost one of their 14 home league meetings against Oxford (W9 D4), a 2-1 loss in January 1980.
  • Oxford have won each of their last two League One games against Blackpool, however both of those have come at the Kassam, scoring three and conceding none.
  • Blackpool’s League One matches this season have seen fewer goals than any other team (62 – 34 scored, 28 conceded).
  • Oxford United’s 17-game winless away league run (W0 D7 L10) is their longest in the Football League since a run of 18 games between November 1996 and September 1997.
  • Oxford United have benefitted from seven substitute goals in League One this season – only Doncaster Rovers have scored more goals via subs (nine).

Odds correct as of 1655 GMT on 22/02/19

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Most Read Football

Montenegro v England in Euro 2020 qualifying1

Three Lions to roar again

Gareth Southgate takes his England side to Montenegro on Monday and Paul Higham expects them to maintain their perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
2

Paper Talk: Earning his Spurs

Mauricio Pochettino to Manchester United just won't go away, while the Old Trafford outfit are keen on chasing England's rising star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Germany celebrate3

Euro 2020 qualifying review

Nico Schulz scored a last minute winner to kick-start Joachim Low's Germany revolution with a dramatic 3-2 win over Holland in Amsterdam.

Johnny Russell and Ryan Fraser celebrates for Scotland4

Scots stutter to San Marino win

Scotland made hard work of beating the lowest-ranked team in the world as they followed up defeat in Kazakhstan with a 2-0 victory over San Marino.

Dan James celebrates scoring a goal for Wales5

James wins it for Wales

Dan James scored on his first competitive international start to give Wales a 1-0 win over Slovakia in their opening Euro 2020 qualifying game.

Football Tips

Montenegro v England in Euro 2020 qualifying

Three Lions to roar again

Gareth Southgate takes his England side to Montenegro on Monday and Paul Higham expects them to maintain their perfect start to Euro 2020 qualifying.

Nathan Aspinall is the UK Open champion (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in March 2019.

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