Blackpool v Sunderland
The first of our Jan 1 League One betting tips and predictions is Blackpool v Sunderland. Blackpool starts the year with a home match and will fancy their chances of getting off the mark at the first time of asking with three valuable points. To do that, they must beat one of the better sides in the division, a Sunderland team who are going all out for promotion; a team that has been backed by bookmakers to win the title. Not the kindest of fixtures at this time of year then; however, there’s no doubt The Seasiders have it in their locker to spring an upset and there will be bits and pieces of attention from backers, especially those who enjoy following the value.
The home side takes great confidence from a battling win over Solihull Moors in the FA Cup on 18 December. They beat their lower league opponents at this venue in the second round to set-up a money-spinning home tie with Arsenal and everyone connected to the club will be out to impress the manager and ensure they get a shot at downing The Gunners in front of a bulky audience. Gnadnuillet, Dodoo and Spearing were on target to see Blackpool through; however, the last of those three goals came with 105 minutes on the clock and from the penalty spot. Supporters hoped the team would’ve been a tad more convincing in a match they were expected to dominate.
Black Cats on the Comeback
Sunderland looks to have finally plugged the leaks in their club that saw them sink to the third-tier of English football. The former Premier League outfit suffered a horrendous couple of years and was relegated two seasons on the bounce. Many critics had them marked down for little more than an uninspiring mid-table finish in this division; however, a strong start has The Black Cats in the mix for automatic promotion with a chance of winning the title. Judging on what we’ve already seen from them, you’d think a play-off spot would be the least they’ll achieve.
The visitors suffered a mixed bag in December when they had a match with Accrington Stanley abandoned due to the weather; the team was also knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Walsall in a second-round replay, a competition they would’ve hoped to make a bit more of an impact on, especially for fans. They did grab a much-needed three League One points when beating Bristol Rovers at home thanks to goals from Matthews and Maja, one either side of the half-time breather. That was achieved despite Rodman firing the beaten side ahead inside 11 minutes. The victors showed character to pull three points out of the bag that day.
Take Both Teams to Score
The head-to-head stats show Sunderland have dominated this fixture over the years; the scores currently stand at 25-17 in the away team’s favour, with 16 games ending in a draw. It’ll also be the first time the clubs have met since the 2010/11 season when sharing the Premier League. No need to say a lot has changed since then. With that in mind, very little can be taken from the trends of this fixture, so we look at how both have fared in more recent times.
Both teams scored in two of Blackpool’s first three games in December and that includes the 3-2 FA Cup win. In one of the few league matches played by Sunderland last month, they held on to edge Bristol Rovers by the odd goal in three and we expect both teams to be on the scoresheet again here. Add that bet – 23/20 at Ladbrokes – to the accumulator of the day and it’ll do a job in boosting returns. After more of a price? Keep your stakes down to interest level and try both score in a draw – 9/2 at Bet365.
Luton v Barnsley
The other of our Jan 1 League One betting tips is for Luton v Barnsley. The Hatters have been as impressive as ever this season and as we go into a new year, they have every chance of finally gaining promotion and lifting themselves into the Championship. Luton will know all too well the dangers that come with playing play-off football; therefore they will target a top-two finish to ensure their passage to the second-tier of the English game comes with the least possible fuss. To achieve that, they must continue with the level of consistency that has lifted them into the prized places. An achievable task, in our opinion.
Luton was simply stunning during November and December; their run of wins hiked them to second in the pecking order. After 22 games they showed stats of 13-5-4 and were within touching distance of league leaders Portsmouth, all the time breathing down their necks. A 2-1 win over Coventry at the Ricoh Arena further boosted confidence, with goals from Pearson and Collins. This was more than enough to see off The Sky Blues who hit back through Clarke-Harris deep into stoppage-time at the end of the match, 95 minutes on the clock. We expect a home win in this match – with best odds of 16/5 at Ladbrokes.
Barnsley Suffer Drop in Form
Barnsley is also in the mix to be promoted via the play-offs; however, they did their chances no good whatsoever with a poor recent run of results. The visitors went four games without a win, claiming only two points from a possible dozen and that pushed them off-course. A 1-1 at home to leaders Portsmouth deserves credit; however, it came on the back of defeats to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park.
This will be the second meeting of these sides this season with Barnsley winning the first back in October, courtesy of a stunning 3-2 result at Oakwell. Goals from Potts, McGeehan and Thiam did enough to better replies from Collins; neutrals will be hoping the rivals can pick-up where they left off last time out. If you’d prefer to avoid calling the match-winner, we’d advise adding both teams to score in your accumulator of the day – at odds of 7/10 at 888sport. That would’ve been paid out as a profit in four of the last five matches involving the teams.