The question is: at what point do Neil Lennon’s men stop flattering to deceive and start turning performances into results? A record of one win in 14 matches doesn’t generate much enthusiasm but the time and the occasion might be right for the Trotters to chalk up that elusive second victory of the campaign in a local derby at Deepdale. Take the 23/10 about the visitors on the draw-no-bet market.
The problem, of course, has been what happens in both 18-yard boxes. Wanderers are winning more midfield battles than most but failing to put teams to the sword during periods of sustained pressure. Then at the other end, one momentary lapse of concentration, and the hard work of establishing a position of authority is all too easily undone. In the last seven outings, they have squandered four leads.
So it might help Bolton’s cause that they now come up against a Preston side that hasn’t been troubling opposition goalkeepers too often in recent weeks. Indeed, it may surprise many punters to learn that, in terms of shot data, Simon Grayson’s men now have the weakest attacking figures in the division following a run of seven matches during which time they’ve found the target just once every 31.5 minutes.
That North End have managed to eke out four draws and a win over that barren period says a lot about their character but it also highlights the potential for them to come a cropper in a game like this. The Lilywhites are new to the division and they’ve yet to win at home this season, mainly because they're not particularly comfortable taking the game to the opposition. Hardly odds-on material.
Whatever the outcome, goals are likely to be in short supply. My season-to-date ratings generate a total goals expectancy of 1.85, some 0.39 goals shorter than the market and it’s worth noting that North End have already played out four goalless draws this term. Therefore, the decision to back under 1.5 goals at Bet Victor's standout 11/5 quote should be fairly self-explanatory.
Given this climate, it’s not much of a stretch to suggest that the visitors can nick one and hold out. From a value perspective, the 12/1 available on Bolton to win 1-0 is arguably the best proposition of the lot.
For more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system, follow this link.