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EFL value betting tips: Portsmouth back on track, Crewe could spoil Barrow’s home run

Planet Sport’s latest feature takes a deep dive into the world of expected goals and takes a model approach to finding value and making profits in the EFL.

The weekend is nearly upon us and that means wall-to-wall football starting with Sunderland vs Hull on Friday and culminating with Leicester vs Ipswich on Monday.

There’s plenty of tasty filler in the sandwich and we’re on the hunt to find some value in the betting market.

Believe it or not, expected goals is more than a flash in the pan term sniffed at by the generation of dinosaurs presenting football highlight shows.

It goes a long way to pointing you in the right direction to find value, which simply means a price that’s bigger than in should be, and exploits the bookie's errors.

Form counts and sometimes the eye test tells you all you need to know, but that will only help you profit for a limited amount of time


Suggested bets

Portsmouth to beat Fleetwood

Port Vale to beat Wycombe

Crewe Alexandra: Draw no bet vs Barrow


Fleetwood vs Portsmouth

Portsmouth were walloped 3-0 by Leyton Orient at home last weekend. That result raised eyebrows up and down the land, but not ours as the model we use predicted the 3/1 upset.

It sets up a nice little situation where Pompey should be in no mood to mess around and particularly keen to set the record straight.

In truth, you probably don’t need much help in identifying this as a sound bet. Fleetwood have lost 10 and drawn two of their previous 12.

More importantly, they’re giving up a bucket load of high-quality chances and we don’t think they’ll create enough quality openings to punish their visitors.

Their results are not a concern because the underlying numbers, namely xG, show they’re doing enough to win games and they’ll turn a corner soon.

That’s where this price becomes a slice of value because we have Portsmouth as 1/2 favourites, but you can currently back them at 4/5 because of their poor form.




Port Vale vs Wycombe Wanderers

This is an interesting game to tackle because Wycombe are in a far healthier state than they have been for most of the season.

That said, the team was ripped apart and they’ve been rebuilding under new management who are implementing a new style.

The injuries have disrupted that so they’re still not quite there, but public opinion seems to be positive after five unbeaten and the return of some key personnel.

We’re not buying in just yet. Nothing changes the fact they’ve won one of 15 in League One and they need more time to build something positive.

Only four teams have produced a higher xG at home than Port Vale, and just five teams have a better xG Against value.

Their run of clean sheets early in the season was them overperforming and things have levelled out in recent weeks so their goals against now match their xGA.

However, they’re underperforming their xG by some distance and having scored three goals in two of their last three, we think they’re about to embark on a run.




Barrow vs Crewe Alexandra

Barrow are unbeaten in 12 League Two matches at home this season so we’re going to do the logical thing, and erm, bet against them.

But they’ve only won half of those games and all of their wins have come against teams who rank in the bottom seven of the league either defensively or offensively.

Their resilient defence has earned them the majority of their points. They concede possession to most visitors and defend their box with real authority.

The problem is, that doesn’t win games, and we don’t think they’ll last the season unbeaten. 

If you’re looking for a safer bet then we wouldn’t talk you out of Crewe double chance, which by our estimation has a 59% chance. That equates to roughly 3/5 but the actual price is close to 1/1.

Crewe have lost four of 13 on their travels and they’ve taken four points from Wrexham and Notts County.

They’re the most clinical team in the league by quite a distance and while we accept Barrow’s position as favourites, there’s a big gap between how Crewe should be priced and their current odds.



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