Nigel Adkins has vowed to stick by his attacking principles after watching his Sheffield United side concede six goals in two home games over the past week and punters should take that as a green light to pursue some tasty prices about the Blades bouncing back in time-honoured Adkins tradition at Valley Parade.
The former Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading boss has presided over 164 away games as a Football League manager, winning 69 of them (42 per cent). And nearly half of those triumphs (33) have been achieved by two clear goals, so the value in quotes of 5/1 or bigger about United clearing the -1 handicap should be plain to see. The bet averages out as a 4/1 shot over the nine-year sample, and shorter than 11/5 in his three seasons at League One level.
The pattern in the numbers paints a clear picture: Adkins doesn’t do smash and grabs, he doesn't shut-up shop or make defensive substitutions when sitting on a lead, he stands toe-to-toe and trades punches until his opponent is laid out on the canvas. Of the 27 away victories he has overseen in this division, only two have been by a 1-0 scoreline.
On that basis, consider also a correct score bet on Sheffield United to win 3-1 at 28/1. It’s an outcome Adkins has managed nine times previously, only one fewer than each of the much shorter-priced 0-2 and 1-2 scorelines. The most recent was at Peterborough last month and, applying the same average rationale, it shouldn’t really be any bigger than 16/1.
The two bets aren’t necessarily a reflection on Bradford. In general terms, these two teams are reasonably well-matched and it’s hard to argue with the standard 90-minute prices based on the early shot data. However, reading between the lines, there’s enough reason to believe United might approach this game with greater conviction and be handsomely rewarded for it.
The Blades are smarting on the back of home defeats to Bury and Colchester. Neither result is quite as embarrassing as the pre-match odds would have you believe but it helps to know those shortcomings at Bramall Lane are being viewed as a debt that needs repaying and draws don't even cover the interest.
Simultaneously, Bradford are far from convincing on their own patch so heads could easily drop at the first sign of adversity. The Bantams picked up just eight points against top-half opposition at home last term, with seven of the top nine leaving Valley Parade with maximum points, a problem that has been close to the surface again this term.
Phil Parkinson’s men dropped points against both Shrewsbury and Gillingham, never really stamping their authority at any stage. They did nick a 1-0 stoppage-time win against Port Vale three weeks ago but playing the Valiants on the back of 120 minutes and a penalty shoot-out against Premier League West Brom was timely to say the least.
For more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system, follow this link.