Looking forward to Saturday’s game at Elland Road, sorry let me rephrase that, approaching Saturday’s game at Elland Road with a sense of inevitability, dread and hopelessness; Wanderers are starting to resemble an unbackable team, at least in the eyes of the bookmakers.
Skybet have us at a huge 12/1 to somehow win the game and an eye watering 66/1, which is a boosted price, to win with both teams to score.
Now this is an enormous price, granted, but how many well educated and frankly sane Bolton fans would actually contemplate placing even a measly 50p on this happening. Very few in their right mind is my guess.
For those eternal optimists, there is some encouragement in the shape of Leeds’ recent form. After seven straight wins from the end of November up to their astounding injury time comeback win over Blackburn Rovers at Elland Road, they have then proceeded to lose 5 of their last 9, including an exit from the FA Cup at the hands of QPR.
Two of those losses have come at Elland Road to Hull City and Norwich City.
So they are vulnerable, with a certain nervousness perhaps creeping in as the Championship finish line draws nearer.
Vulnerable to teams in good form willing to have a go, which is not exactly a description of our beloved Whites with the best will in the world. We did win our last away game though didn’t we...
The old adage of thinking a little bit outside the box in this game rings very true as Leeds are so very short at 1/4 to win the game. For those who don’t see backing against their team as a sacrilege and a form of treason punishable by death then there are some markets which may tempt you into parting with your hard earned cash in the hope that a decent return can be achieved. After all, backing against Bolton is pretty much a guaranteed return on your investment most weekends.
Patrick Bamford has scored in his last two games against the Trotters and with Marcelo Bielsa naming his team today you are in the enviable position of knowing for certain that he starts the game, barring an unfortunate last minute injury. The 25 year-old, some would already say ‘journeyman’ striker, is the type of player that ‘Wheavers’ typically struggle against in that he has a pulse and two legs. In all seriousness his movement, pace and agility are like kryptonite to the turning circles of our behemoth centre halves. With Kemar Roofe now injured and another CF option Tyler Roberts deployed on the wing, it is likely Bamford could last the full ninety minutes, not withstanding a totally inept performance.
He’ll certainly be eager to impress in order to keep his place in the Yorkshire outfits’ promotion chasing team.
Therefore my biggest shout for this game is for Bamford to score (19/20 on its own) and Leeds to win, which boosts the price to 23/20. Because let’s face it, Leeds are going to bloody win.
A market which may be worth a look at as well is the win to nil market. 9 of the last 13 away games at Championship level have seen us fail to trouble the scorers and 17 of the last 26 games in all competitions have seen us draw a big, fat blank. Leeds to coast to a comfortable win to nil is far more appealing than 1/4 at 8/13. A similar price at 4/6 is the -1 goal handicap. Most teams at the top end of the league have turned us over at their home with a two goal margin. With the exception of the first day win at West Brom, we have fallen to predictable 2-0 defeats at Bramall Lane and the Riverside. Norwich were 2-0 up before complacency no doubt set in, letting us back in to the game at Carrow Road.
Home defeats to teams in the top 6 have also been heavy, the 0-3 reverse at the hands of the Blades and the spanking by Norwich are two examples. West Brom cantered to a 2-0 win too.
Both the win to nil and handicap markets offer far more value than the outright market and can still be permed with other selections in an accumulator.
If you take any guidance from or feel that they have any bearing then the historical results show that the Wanderers have scored in 8 of the last 10 head to head encounters in all competitions, although the last meeting ended with a win for the visitors at the UniBol just over two months ago when the aforementioned Bamford fired in the winner with just 25 minutes remaining.
If you do fancy Bolton to put up a fight and at least score then there are some juicy odds out there. Discounting the strikers as they probably won’t get a chance to score, Mark Beevers offers the most appeal. He has been the source of two goals away from home this season. Strikes at former club Millwall and Bristol City in the cup defeat recently have shown he is capable of popping up with a goal. At 25/1 to score anytime these generous odds may tempt you into parting with a couple of pounds on the Yorkshire man. If you fancy him to score first then he is a hefty 80/1 to do so.
If you think we could potentially shock the Elland Road crowd into silence with an early goal, before Leeds inevitably wrestle back control and come away victorious then this is priced up at 11/1.
Norwich, QPR, Hull and Nottingham Forest have all scored the first goal of the game in the first half hour at Leeds’ home this season. Whether you can see us doing the same is another question.
An outside goalscorer anytime for Leeds is Jack Harrison at 14/5. The ex-New York City winger has two home goals in the last three games including the deciding goal in the win over Swansea City last time out. Compared to some of his team mates such as Alioski, who has been deployed at left back but is still 15/8, he offers much greater value if you fancy him to bag against our leaky backline.
If you think miracles can occur at Elland Road and don’t just happen on 34th street or in biblical times and you fancy us to win then there is only one correct score to look at backing. 9 of our last 12 league wins have been by 1-0 and this is priced up at 28/1.
But my nap of the day is very much Patrick Bamford to score at anytime and Leeds to win at 23/20.