League Two weekend betting preview: Brewers going back to basics


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The Independent Football

The astonishing brawl that followed the match between Bradford and Crawley on Tuesday could have far-reaching consequences for both clubs but we think the impact of events at Valley Parade might be immediate when they both return to action League Two this weekend.

However, before we go into the dynamics of that emotional outpouring and the five red cards issued in the dressing room afterwards, it seems only right that we first focus on Gary Rowett and his handy work in caretaker charge at Burton Albion because our headline tip on Saturday is primarily driven by that.

If the last seven days are anything to go by, Rowett has a promising future in the dugout because he's pulled the strings perfectly since the Brewers slipped to their eighth straight defeat at Wimbledon last Saturday, displaying genuine man-management acumen in his post-match interview and backing it up with some clever tactical work on the training ground.

With barely two days to get his ideas across, Rowett went to work on Burton's defensive shape with renewed focus on the process rather than the end goal and the players responded with a thoroughly professional 1-0 success over Gillingham in midweek, their first victory in 17 attempts.

Now Rowett is promising more of the same and we should recall this is essentially the same team that was fifth in the table on Christmas Day before Paul Peschisolido lost control of performances. As such, we can't resist having a nibble on a repeat outcome with Burton Albion to win 1-0 available at 14/1.

In general terms, Crawley's away record is nothing to write home about. The Red Devils have won their last two on the road but failed to take maximum points in eight attempts prior to that and they invested a lot of emotional energy on Tuesday - not least after the final whistle! - so a surprise result might well be on the cards.

Meanwhile, for Bradford's part, the obvious conclusion is that their chances of victory at Plymouth have diminished in the wake of those suspensions that will be served by keeper Jon McLaughlin and defenders Luke Oliver and Andrew Davies, but it's the pattern of the game that we're more concerned with.

This is essentially a match between two big clubs who operate with a high level of uncertainty avoidance as they attempt to edge their way towards safety, which explains why the over 2.5 goals bet is available at odds against, but we fancy both will break the mould in light of the dilemma that now faces Phil Parkinson.

Argyle might well look to go after a makeshift defence in their bid to draw level on points, while the Bantams might well be forced to throw caution to the wind as they look to build on their current points advantage and make a hurried dash for survival. Either way, the upshot will be an increased chance of goals.

Finally, we're not in the habit of opposing Swindon too often and we're making no assumptions about how they will react to their Johnstone's Paint Trophy final defeat at Wembley last weekend, we simply think the 7/1 about Bristol Rovers winning at the County Ground on Saturday is too big.

It's been a pretty miserable season for the Pirates but they've shown a real determination to finish with a flourish following the appointment of Mark McGhee and they can use a big local derby against the champions-elect to give their fans something worthwhile to cheer, while also putting a marker down for next season.

Recommended bets:

1pt Burton Albion to beat Crawley at 17/4 (Boylesports)

0.5pt Burton Albion to win 1-0 at 14/1 (Coral)

2pts Over 2.5 goals Plymouth v Bradford at 23/20 (William Hill)

1pt Bristol Rovers to beat Swindon at 7/1 (Bet365)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB