Teddy Sheringham isn’t getting a lot right at Stevenage but Exeter’s long-standing inability to put away lowly opposition, especially on home soil, makes the obvious bet a dangerous one here. The Grecians are not the sort of team you want to be lumping on blindly at evens, so give the standard match betting a swerve and divert your gaze to the fringe markets.
The Devon outfit are generally one of the most profitable teams in the basement, largely stemming from Paul Tisdale’s capacity to solve tactical puzzles of most shapes and sizes. However, his approach is mainly reactive and given that Stevenage have so far offered virtually nothing for Tisdale to react to, this might just be one of those occasions where we see Exeter for what they really are: a low-budget team with not too many ideas of their own.
Over the past three seasons, the Grecians have won just 12 out of 36 home matches against bottom-half opposition, averaging just 1.47 points per game. Last season, three of the bottom four (Hartlepool, Tranmere and Mansfield) all won by the same 2-1 scoreline at St James’ Park and already this term they’ve been held to a goalless draw by York and needed stoppage time to find a breakthrough against Hartlepool.
Yet despite those miserable statistics, on what basis could you possibly make a case for the visitors? Sheringham has taken a team that was knocking on the door for promotion at the end of last term and his lack of direction has turned them into an embarrassment, a 39 per cent shot ratio suggesting nine points from 11 matches might actually be an overachievement.
But, as the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day and it might just transpire that a team currently intimidated by the ambiguity of Sheringham’s managerial approach can suddenly be inspired when the threat of embarrassing themselves on television looms large. Either way, 3/1 is no price to be taking about the away win on such a whim.
Instead, there’s a wild card in the goalscorer markets that generate plenty of excitement and Coral, in particular, have got their wires crossed about an unknown quantity in the visiting ranks. Jamar Loza possesses an abundance of individual ability going forward, yet staggeringly he’s available at 14/1 to score the first goal and 11/2 to score anytime.
The Norwich loanee is essentially a wide man but has started the last two games in a front two alongside Brett Williams and got a couple of decent shots away in the home defeat to Carlisle last weekend. A quick look through his ‘best actions’ on Wyscout highlights some inspired individual play and tidy finishes from distance playing for the Canaries at under-21 level.
All we need now is for Sheringham to persevere with him in that centre forward role and his colleagues to actually pass when he’s better placed. On a couple of occasions against Dagenham in midweek, Loza was begging to be slipped in but those in possession chose the selfish route instead.
For more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system, follow this link.