BETTING COLUMN BY SEAMUS O’CONCHUR
It could be an important round of fixtures for the bottom section of the league table this weekend, and needless to say that means it could be a big weekend for Bohs.
If results go our way, we could be as high as 8th in the table, and 11 points clear of basement team Shelbourne.
A home win over Shels for us, coupled with an away win for Derry City (who are a best-price 1.76 to do just that) will see us pull well away from the bottom of the table, and overtake the Seasiders. Throw a Drogheda win at Cork into the equation, and a bit of a reverse in goal differences, and we could also overtake the Leesiders on goal difference.
So how much of a chance do we have of beating our northside neighbours? Since being beaten 3-0 at home by St Pat’s Athletic, Johnny McDonnell has come to Shels and obviously brought a message that players have responded to.
He wasn’t long in the job when they went down narrowly in Tallaght, but they again came off the worse in a 1-0 scoreline at home to Derry last weekend, a game in which they looked much improved from previous weeks.
They key for Bohs could be to try to nick an early goal and build on the unexpected result we managed in Sligo last weekend. Another clean sheet here would be excellent, and if we can score a goal or two it would be a massive 3 points. From a betting point of view though, everything looks to be factored in and Bohs don’t appeal at 11/10 on betfair.
People will fancy Shels at 7/2, or 9/4 draw no bet, and there is an argument that those are fancy prices for an improving side who many will feel are due a “new manager” bounce (a bounce which doesn’t actually exist in football, according to many studies).
However, the greater talent lies in the Bohs lineup and with more cutting edge we can win on a nervy night. If pushed, the bet to be recommended might be the half-time draw at 11/10 with betfair. Despite improving under their new coach, it can’t be ignored that Shels have failed to score in 10 of their last 14 league games.
The other games briefly mentioned above have the potential to also help our cause, as Derry travel to Bray to take on the goal scoring machine that is Jason Byrne, and Drogheda make the trip south to take on Tommy Dunne’s Cork side whose form has badly tailed off recently.
Shamrock Rovers were pushed for a while but ran out comfortable winners at the Cross, despite conceding a late goal, and Drogheda will be smarting from their Louth Derby loss to Dundalk in which they didn’t look to be playing at full tilt but still created plenty of chances. They can take the 3 points against Cork here (2.9 Drogheda win with Coral) and pile on the misery for Tommy Dunne.
Derry’s trip to Bray should also result in the sort of scoreline that will bring a smile to Bohs fans’ faces. Jason Byrne’s hot streak cannot continue forever, and fresh from nicking a narrow away win at Tolka last weekend, the Candystripes will find it easier to create chances against a weak Bray Wanderers side.
You can back the away team at 1.76 with Pinnacle and this is a price that should be taken. This could be a high-scoring game but if Derry can keep Byrne quiet, they can win it fairly easily.
The game of the weekend probably comes in Dundalk as St Pat’s are the visitors. Killian Brennan is pulling all the strings in midfield for the Saints and has just scooped the player of the month award for May.
Despite Dundalk’s fine form, this is not a game that will hold any fears for Pat’s and they will be well able to handle the surface. It should be an entertaining game with a few goals but not necessarily a game that appeals from a betting perspective.
UCD have pulled off some shock results of late but Sligo will fancy this fixture as one in which they can re-focus and find their goalscoring form. With Danny North in the team, and a realisation that they simply have to start winning if they want to have any chance of retaining the league title, they can be backed on the asian handicap to get this particular job done in some style.
Drogheda United, 1pt 2.9 (Coral)
Derry City, 1pt 1.76 (Pinnacle)
Sligo Rovers -1.75, 1pt 97/100 (Ladbrokes)