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From: Skeeve picks
Sent: Saturday, December 1, 2018 10:30 AM
 
National League: Braintree - (0) BARROW  (min. odds: 1.55) 2 points
https://www.oddsportal.com/soccer/england/national-league/braintree-barrow-OdnjUHR2/

Braintree have shared points in a midweek 2:2 home draw with Sutton on Tuesday, which obviously looks great at the first glance, but they were actually 2:0 up with only fifteen minutes to go (with both goals created by their best remaining forward, winger Amaluzor who is now suspended for accumulating five yellow cards, but more on that later), while Sutton are in a transitional period, at least as far as their attack is concerned, as they're now without all four strikers who were at the club a couple of months ago (Wright is injured, Lafayette went to Billericay, Drinan returned to Ipswich and Ayunga went on loan to Havant), and without a win in five.

Despite the midweek point against Sutton, Braintree are still bottom of the table, three points off second-bottom Dover and seven points off safety, they've only scored 20 and conceded as many as 40 goals in their 22 National League games so far, they're the worst home team in the league with only one win (2:1 vs second-to-bottom Dover in October), two draws (before the Tuesday draw with Sutton, they've also managed to share points in an extremely lucky 1:1 draw with Hartlepool back in mid-August thanks to a 95th minute equaliser from their only shot on target - the two heroes from that draw were goalscorer Bettamer who is now at rivals Barnet and first-choice keeper Killip who made plenty of excellent saves, including a penalty save, but has been out injured since October) and as many as eight defeats, they have the worst home defence in the league by far with as many as 24 goals conceded in eleven home games, they've already lost 0:1 away at Barrow in late August (and also lost their last home game with Barrow 0:2 in April 2017), when they had the likes of Bettamer, Grant, Durojaiye, Lyons-Foster and Killip all in the starting eleven (they're now all either gone or unavailable for today's game), they've conceded as many as eight goals in their last three games (0:3 to Solihull, 1:3 at Harrogate, 2:2 vs Sutton) and they don't have a good record against teams playing with three central defenders - they've lost three (at home to Havant, Maidstone and Eastleigh) and shared points in a couple of lucky draws (at home with Hartlepool and away at Boreham Wood).

Last but not least, they'll be missing so many players today that it's getting ridiculous. First they've lost their joint top scorer Bettamer to rivals Barnet, then they've lost their other joint top scorer Grant to rivals Aldershot, then their key midfielder James returned to his parent club Colchester, then striker Gomis who was signed when Bettamer switched to Barnet returned to his parent club Nottingham Forest and then, on Tuesday, another striker Cass who replaced Gomis (who replaced Grant who replaced Bettamer) up front picked up an injury after only five minutes. That's not all - their best remaining forward, winger Amaluzor who created both goals in midweek and scored the only goal in a 1:3 defeat at Harrogate last weekend after a great solo run is now suspended for accumulating five yellow cards, as is first-choice defender/midfielder Lyons-Foster, while the likes of first-choice winger Della Verde (who would go straight back on the flank instead of Amaluzor if he was fit), first-choice keeper Killip (who was the star performer for Barrow along with Bettamer and Grant in the first few months of the season and would go straight back between the sticks if he was fit), first-choice defensive midfielder Frimpong (who would go straight back into midfield instead of Lyons-Foster if he was fit) and centre-back Curran (recently signed on loan from Southend) are all out injured. In fact, none of the players available for Braintree today have scored more than one goal so far this season - Della Verde (three goals so far) and Amaluzor (two goals so far) are the only two who scored more than once, but the former is out injured and the latter is out suspended.

Barrow are far from being the best away team in the National League, but they don't have a bad record against bottom-six teams (five wins and one defeat: 3:0 vs Havant, 3:2 vs Chesterfield, 0:1 at Maidstone, 1:0 vs Braintree, 2:0 vs Maidenhead, 2:0 at Dover), they've looked great since they've switched to three central defenders two games ago (2:0 away at Aldershot, 0:0 vs high-flying Wrexham), which also concided with more than a couple of key players returning from their respective injuries, only winger Waterston is definitely out, while defenders Elsdon and Wilson are doubtful, which means that we'll probably see Jones back in the back three after his one-game suspension for accumulating five yellow cards, so we'll probably see Dixon between the sticks, Granite, Wilson/Jameson and Jones at the back, Barthram/Brown and Davies as wing-backs, Taylor and Agustien/Kay in the middle of the park and Rooney just behind the front two of Blyth and top scorer Smith (nine goals so far), with the likes of Turner and Hindle (seven goals so far) as additional attacking options on the bench and that's not a bad team (the likes of striker Blyth and midfielder Agustien are geting fitter and better with each game), especially compared to depleted part-time Braintree, not to mention that they should finally be able to play with some more confidence after two excellent results this week.

All things considered, anything better than 1.55 for this draw-no-bet on Barrow (we get our money back in case of a draw) looks great to me.

pre-mail odds:
 
1.76 with Marathon...
1.74 with Pinnacle...
1.72 with Bet365...
1.70 with BetVictor (dnb)...
1.68 with Unibet...
 
recorded odds:
 
1.60 with Pinnacle
 
 
 
National League: Hartlepool - DAGENHAM  (min. odds: 3.00) 0.5 point
https://www.oddsportal.com/soccer/england/national-league/hartlepool-dagenham-red-8nDRATQs/

I agree with Hartlepool being favorites here, but this is a game between a team that's picked up the least points in the last six games (Hartlepool lost all six) and a team that's picked up the most points in the last six games (Dagenham won five of their last six) and, considering the fact that Hartlepool are without both their first-choice centre-back Davies (still out injured) and a permanent manager (Bates was sacked after the midweek defeat to Fylde, so director of football Hignett took over temporarily and the new manager will probably be announced after the weekend), I'd say that Dagenham are significantly underated here.

Hartlepool have only won three of their eleven home games so far, two of which against bottom-five teams, which makes them the 8th worst home team in the league, they don't have a good home record against teams outside the bottom-five (only one win, four draws and four defeats: 2:2 vs Harrogate, 0:1 to Ebbsfleet, 0:0 vs Barrow, 1:1 vs Eastleigh, 1:1 vs Aldershot, 2:0 vs Boreham Wood and then three consecutive defeats - 2:3 to Eastleigh, 1:3 to Barnet, 1:2 to Fylde), they've now lost six consecutive National League games (2:3 to Sutton, 0:1 at Wrexham, 0:4 at Bromley, 1:3 to Barnet, 1:2 at struggling Dover and, finally, 1:2 to Fylde on Tuesday) and four consecutive home games in both competitions (2:3 to Sutton, 1:3 to Barnet, 3:4 to Gillingham in the FA Cup 1st round replay, 1:2 to Fylde) and they obviously have a problem up front.

Of their four strikers, Muir scored most goals so far (five), but has been on the bench lately, James only scored once, back in mid-August, and both Dinanga and O'Neill are still on zero goals. Their top scorer is actually midfielder Noble with eight goals so far, five of which were penalties (he's only missed one penalty so far this season), and their most dangerous forward could once again turn out to be winger Donaldson (who's mostly been playing as right wing-back so far, before Hartlepool swicthed to four at the back) - it's good that Dagenham have a couple of great left-backs in Pennell and Gordon.

As I said, Dagenham have now won five of their last six (2:1 vs Harrogate, 2:0 at Dover, 0:1 at Sutton who were much stronger up front at the time, 2:1 vs Fylde, 2:0 at Bromley, 3:1 vs Havant), which is really impressive considering the opponents (home wins against a couple of high-flying promotion hopefuls such as Harrogate and Fylde and another home win against in-form Havant and away wins, both 2:0, at Dover and Bromley, are absolutely excellent results). They're far from being the best away team in the league, but they've only lost one of their last four away games (2:2 at Boreham Wood in the FA Cup, 2:0 at Dover, 0:1 at Sutton, 2:0 at Bromley) and the additions of attacking midfielder Balanta (signed from rivals Boreham Wood where he scored 24 goals and had plenty of assists in the last couple of years) who is now flanked by McQueen and Munns in a 4231 formation and striker Wilkinson on loan from Gillingham who's now scored four goals in his first three appearances (and was taken off around the hour mark in each of the three games) are magnificent signings and an obvious proof that the worst times at Dagenham have passed for the time being.

Along with Balanta (who's now scored two in two games) and Wilkinson, Dagenham have also signed a couple of centre-backs in Onariase on loan from Rotherham and, more recently, experienced Clark who was a key defender at rivals Ebbsfleet, and that's probably the only doubt, Onariase or Clark along with Goodliffe in central defence. Either way, their expected team (Justham who was absolutely amazing in the last couple of games between the sticks; Nunn, Goodliffe, Onariase/Clark and Pennell/Gordon at the back; Robinson and Phipps in central midfield; McQueen, Balanta and Munns behind WIlkinson) shouldn't be 4.00 outsiders here, let alone 4.33. All things considered, anything better than 3.00 for the away win looks great to me.

pre-mail odds:
 
4.33 with Bet365...
4.27 with Pinnacle...
4.20 with BetVictor, Will Hill...
4.19 with 5Dimes...
4.15 with Marathon...
 
recorded odds:
 
4.00 with Pinnacle