League One Weekend Preview: MK point the way to profit
Milton Keynes Dons suffered a rare home defeat in rather uncharacteristic circumstances in midweek but we're taking that as a cue for a reaffirming display of their League One promotion credentials by backing them to beat Exeter handsomely on Saturday.
The Dons went down 1-0 at home to Yeovil on Tuesday, despite playing virtually the entire second half at a numerical advantage, and boss Karl Robinson was forced to defend his players afterwards against the boos from disgruntled home fans.
It was a poor performance by their usual high standards but Robinson was right in calling for a reality check and we should expect his players to respond by reverting to type and building on a magnificent record against the lesser sides in League One.
The Dons have won all six of their matches against teams who currently occupy the bottom six by an aggregate scoreline of 18-5 and they have landed the handicap in five of them. Indeed, we've made the point on numerous occasions this season that Robinson's men have a tendency to win well or not at all, and the aberration against the Glovers merely supports the theory.
Overall, MK have landed the handicap in 14 out of their 19 victories in all competitions and that particular stat dovetails nicely with the fact that all but two of Exeter 's away defeat have been suffered by two clear goals. Therefore, we should take the 6/4 available on MK Dons (-1) on the handicap.
That's not a damning indictment on the Grecians, though. They are, in many ways, a cultural opposite of their hosts insomuch that they force the issue and take greater risks when matches are tight, seldom do they come away from matches with any regrets.
The only real difference between this and last, when Paul Tisdale guided them to an eighth-placed finish, is the quality of their personnel - key players have been sold, players who the club don't have the resources to replace - and a fixture list that hasn't always been kind.
The Devon club currently sit fourth from bottom, due in no small part to the fact they've only won one of their 20 matches against teams in the top half of the division, but we are willing to assert with great confidence that they will stay up this season given that the schedule about to turn in their favour.
The Grecians have games against Preston, Wycombe, Tranmere, Colchester and Scunthorpe to follow on the back of this toughest of assignments and with a quality tactician at the helm in Tisdale, we fancy they can put together a run of positive results just when they need it most.
2pts MK Dons (-1) to beat Exeter on the handicap at 6/4 (Stan James)
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