Leeds v Huddersfield
Victories over Bolton, Cardiff and Blackburn are testament to Evans’ motivational powers but there has been nothing new or extraordinary about the performances and the Whites’ limitations could be exposed by a Huddersfield side making real strides towards a brighter future under David Wagner. Take the 7/4 available on the away win.
More than a decade has passed since Leeds won four successive league matches at this level and when a club of their stature has been treading water for so many years, a run like this only arouses suspicion that the next fall is imminent. Since they were last promoted in 2010, Leeds have won three on the spin five times, losing their next match four times.
In shot ratio terms, this is essentially a 45 per cent team playing host to a 57 per cent one, from which my 16-match ratings make the Terriers quarter-ball favourites. On that basis, it could also pay to be bold about the visitors with a bet on Huddersfield to clear the -1 handicap. Of their eight wins under Wagner, seven have been achieved by two clear goals or more.
Crewe v Blackpool
The Seasiders have the better personnel but there’s a losing culture running through the very core of the club, as illustrated by the sheer number of times they’ve lost games this season while claiming to have been the dominant side. Neil McDonald’s men have picked up just two points from their last eight matches, with five out of six defeats arriving by the odd goal.
Crewe, by contrast, are bidding to cheat death for the third season running and though their last eight results (seven points) are barely any better, four draws speak volumes for their ability to hang in there. When it really matters, Alex can be relied upon more than most strugglers to find that something extra and their stronger mentality can see them home in this game.
Seven points adrift of safety with 10 games remaining, draws are no good to Steve Davis’ men now - and they know it. My 16-match ratings make this an each-of-two encounter with a total goals line of 2.60 (some 0.33 goals higher than the market), all of which means a bet on Crewe to win and both teams to score should be around 9/2 rather than the 11/2 currently available.