Form Labs Weekender


Bradford v Millwall - Saturday 15:00

Bradford City and Millwall have made it to the League One play-off final despite finishing fifth and sixth respectively in the regular season, the first time this has happened since 2008/09. For Millwall it’s a chance for redemption after last year’s visit to Wembley ended in despair as Barnsley won 3-1 to deny them an immediate return to the Championship. Bradford, meanwhile, also have revenge in mind after the Lions beat them in the play-off semi 12 months ago.

Bradford finished six points ahead of Millwall this season, but the two meetings between them ended as 1-1 draws. Defensively the Bantams were one of the strongest sides in the division, with only Bolton conceding fewer, while they kept Fleetwood at bay in both legs of their semi. As a result, they lost just seven of 46 games, including 19 draws, with 61% of their matches having fewer than three strikes and there was just one goal in total over the two semi-final legs.

Millwall were less defensively stable, conceding more than any other top-eight finisher, resulting in 54% of their games featuring three or more goals. However, they came from behind impressively away at Scunthorpe to get through to the final and the Iron had finished the season in impressive fashion with five consecutive victories.

Since 1992/93, the side that finished lower in the league holds a W11-D8-L5 record in the final and the market has reacted to this with Millwall slight favourites at 2.75 compared to Bradford at 2.88. Goals are split evenly with exactly half of the 24 finals featuring fewer than three strikes, but that trend has slightly changed in recent years with six of the last eight editions having at least three goals. With this in mind, there could be some value in backing over 2.5 goals at 2.45, but given the Bantam’s defensive nature it’s a temptation we’ll avoid.

The Lions’ form leading into the play-offs was mixed, going W4-D1-L4 in their last nine of the regular season. Bradford, on the other hand, had lost only two of their last 14, winning eight, and these defeats came away at champions Sheffield United and fourth-placed Scunthorpe. However, we are reluctant to back the Bantams considering they’ve won just two of 12 fixtures against the top-six this year. Seven of these finished all-square and with little separating the two sides in the market, the draw looks the best bet between two evenly matches teams, while the 1-1 scoreline is also worth a small punt.

Recommendations: Draw at 3.25
1-1 Correct Score

Weekend Team News Analysis

Chievo v Roma
Dario Dainelli (CB), Nicolas Spolli (CB), Perparim Hetemaj (CM) and Riccardo Meggiorini (FW), Chievo

Since the start of last season Hetermaj has missed 28 of Chievo’s 74 games and their loss rate has climbed from 35% with him to 51% without. Furthermore, they’ve conceded an extra 0.6 goals per game when he’s been missing as +2.5 goals have increased from 37% to 57%.

Chievo have won only two of their last nine at home, both against sides currently in the bottom-four, whilst they’ve lost all four of their games against top-half sides in that time, conceding at least three times in each of these defeats.

Roma have won their last six on the road, leading at the break in each of these victories and scoring 19 goals across these games. Indeed, they’re W7-D2-L0 when travelling to bottom-half sides this term, keeping a clean sheet in six of the last seven of these and winning the last three by more than two goals. We’re backing Roma to cover the -2 handicap at 2.75

Napoli v Fiorentina
Davide Astori (CB), Borja Valero (CM) and Milan Badelj (DM), Fiorentina

Fiorentina are missing their three leading passers from this season. Astori is their best defender and also leads all their stats for clearances, blocks and interceptions while Valero has picked up their most assists and in the 10 matches he’s missed since the start of last season they’ve lost five times and won only twice.

Napoli have won eight of their last 11 at the Stadio San Paolo, where they’ve lost just twice since the start of last season. They’re W8-D1-L0 when hosting teams between 6th and 10th in that time, scoring 14 goals in the four of these games that were this term, though they kept only one clean sheet across these games.

Fiorentina have picked up only one point from their five trips to top-six sides so far but they have scored in six of their eight visits to top-half teams. We’re backing Napoli to win and both teams to score at 2.38

Hull v Spurs
Harry Maguire (CB) and Abel Hernandez (FW), Hull

Hull have picked up just two points from their last 11 matches without Maguire while they’ve won just three of 23 without Hernandez this season compared to six of 14 with him.

Spurs made it four wins from five on their travels with their victory at Leicester and they’ve been pretty ruthless when going to the lesser sides this term, winning five of six unbeaten trips to bottom-seven sides, with four of these victories by more than one goal. We’re backing Pochettino’s men to cover the -1 handicap at 2.4

Putting these three bets together gives a testy 12/1 treble this weekend. Good luck!


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