Three teams enter the final day of the Sky Bet League Two season battling for two remaining automatic promotion places. Michael Beardmore takes a look.
1pt Bolton to win by exactly one goal at 27/10 (RedZone)
1pt Antoni Sarcevic to be shown a card at 13/2 (Bet365)
Bolton Wanderers, who reached the UEFA Cup last 16 as recently as 2008, are spending only a second season in English football’s fourth tier in their entire history.
They were in the Premier League less than a decade ago (2012), reached an FA Cup semi-final in 2011 and have spent 109 of their 122 league seasons in the top two tiers of the game.
Morecambe have NEVER played above League Two and have spent 87 of their 101-year existence in non-league football, while Cambridge United have not tasted life above the fourth tier since 2002.
Welcome to the League Two automatic promotion race! Three sides fighting it out for two spots.
In truth, this should be a two-horse battle for one place – Cambridge should pick up the point they need at home to already-relegated basement side Grimsby, even if the U’s have just lost to two sides in the bottom half in Stevenage and Harrogate. Sky Bet have them 1/33 for automatic promotion.
So the stage is set in the other two games at Morecambe and Crawley for nerves to jangle and phones/radios to be frantically checked for updates from elsewhere.
Win and Bolton are back up at the first attempt.
Any other result opens the door for Morecambe. A Bolton draw means Morecambe go up with a win. A Bolton loss and Morecambe can even afford to draw at home to Bradford.
Probably. Will it be straightforward? Judging by their efforts this season, probably not.
To give Wanderers their due, they have won 15 of their past 21 matches to put themselves in this position. At the season’s midpoint, the play-offs looked farfetched, let alone automatic promotion.
But 12 of those wins have been by a single goal, including each of their last eight victories, all 1-0 or 2-1. It’s a pattern I fancy will continue.
RedZone offer 27/10 on BOLTON TO WIN BY EXACTLY ONE GOAL (it’s 12/5 generally) and those are large odds on something that has happened in 60% of Wanderers’ games since the start of February.
They are 4/6 generally just to win, yet you can get 27/10 on them to win by the most likely margin. No-brainer.
I don’t see them running away with this – Crawley are no mugs, shocking Premier League Leeds in the FA Cup this season – and I think if Bolton nudge ahead, they defend what they have.
But the biggest standout price in this game is in the card market – that being Bolton captain ANTONI SARCEVIC TO BE SHOWN A CARD at 13/2 with bet365.
If Bolton are protecting a lead at any stage, their foul count should rise and Sarcevic’s disciplinary record shows that price is at least two ticks too high.
He’s had five yellows in 28 league starts this term, nine yellows and two reds in 38 games for Plymouth last season, 12 bookings in 42 the season before. He averages a card in every four games or fewer.
Score prediction: Crawley 0-1 Bolton (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Odds correct at 1830 (06/05/21)
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