Now they return to Victoria Park for the second of three matches against teams below them in the table and they shouldn’t be chalked-up as outsiders on home soil against Barnet. Pools have only triumphed twice in their last 11 outings but they know their level. Four wins out of five against lower opposition points towards value in the 2/1 about them beating the Bees.
Clean sheets have been synonymous with any success Moore has enjoyed since he came to the club - 10 out of his 15 victories since have been achieved by 1-0 or 2-0 scorelines - and the arrival of Magnus Okuonghae on loan from Luton goes a long way to instantly addressing a problem area. Pools had conceded nine goals in their previous three matches but allowed just four shots on goal against the Daggers.
Martin Allen also shuffled his pack ahead of Barnet’s victory over York but most of his changes were meant to improve the Londoners as an attacking entity and were more inclined to have an effect against lowly opposition at The Hive. On the road, it could be a different story and it’s the home side who have the stronger base to build on.
Barnet have lost their last seven away matches in all competitions and given how Moore is explicitly prioritising clean sheets and emphasising the need to keep inferior teams below them, there’s added value to be found in the correct score market by splitting a point on Hartlepool to win 1-0 and Hartlepool to win 2-0 at 10/1 and 16/1 respectively.
Meanwhile, Blackpool have got their act together under Neil McDonald and they’ve done more than enough in recent weeks to merit support at 3/1 for the visit of Millwall. The Seasiders are another team keeping things tight and they did an excellent job of nullifying Coventry on Saturday, a team boasting more creative inspiration than the Lions.
Indeed, with six decent opportunities on the counter, the Tangerines could have easily picked up all three points at the Ricoh - a point McDonald was at pains to make afterwards - but he was clearly delighted with a third straight clean sheet and the 18/5 available on them stretching that sequence to four is simply too big to ignore.
Millwall have been competent on the road this season, picking up 10 points from the first available 12, but it was a record that served only to highlight their deficiencies at home. Now the home form has been corrected with back-to-back wins over Rochdale and Swindon but Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Robins was so one-sided (the Lions won the shot count 20-2), there’s a danger of complacency setting in here.
Finally, take the 3/1 about Bury bagging a sixth successive away win at Bradford. David Flitcroft’s men are coming through a tough run of games from which they’ve taken 20 points from a possible 24 against mostly top-half opposition and the quality of their strength and conditioning work at Carrington should help them through at Valley Parade.
The Shakers have been nothing short of outstanding on recent trips to Walsall, Sheffield United, Peterborough and Colchester and they can make a mockery of the price if they recreate those standards here. Bradford bagged a much-needed three points at Doncaster on Saturday but the Bantams lost seven out of eight games against the rest of the top nine last term, while Gillingham and Peterborough have already won there this term.
For more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system, follow this link.