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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Gulf in class is not reflected in the prices at Carlisle

Best bets from football's most knowledgeable tipster

Carlisle manager Keith Curle
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Sky Bet Football League
3pm Saturday

Carlisle v Cheltenham
It's 84 years and counting since Cheltenham won at Carlisle and their long wait for a victory on Cumbrian soil could go on after their latest trip to Brunton Park.

In fairness to the Robins they have made only ten long trips north in that time, but the apparent gap in quality between the teams does not appear to be fully reflected in the match odds.

Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson called Carlisle "one of the top two or three teams in this league" earlier this week as the hosts look to improve on last season's sixth-place finish.

They were beaten by Exeter in the playoff semi-finals but that form was way above the standard of a Cheltenham side who were involved in a relegation scrap before finishing 20th, 21 points behind Carlisle.

Whether the Robins improve is open to debate, but they lost at Morecambe in their opener before beating Crawley 1-0. On paper that is the easiest start possible with the duo expected to be among the drop-zone candidates.

On both occasions Cheltenham managed fewer shots on target than their opponents.

Carlisle started with a 2-1 defeat at home to Swindon but they have bounced back well with wins at Fleetwood and Cambridge United.

Keith Curle named a strange side last week with Mike Jones and Shaun Miller on the bench, although they still got the win and should have enough quality to back up that victory.

1pt 21-20 bet365

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Morecambe v Swindon
Swindon were chasing shadows in the first half of their 1-1 draw with Exeter last week but responded well against a classy outfit and deserve to be stronger favourites at Morecambe.

The Robins have already won at Carlisle in Sky Bet League Two this season and possess decent options in the final third.

Paul Mullin, Morecambe's joint-top goalscorer last season, is one of those, while Luke Norris seems a different player this season under new boss David Flitcroft.

Big money at this level was spent on £350,000 signing Kaiyne Woolery, who has the pace to threaten Morecambe on the counter-attack.

Morecambe tend to start campaigns well before fading away and four points is another excellent return this season. However, they were battered for large spells of last week's 1-1 draw at Lincoln with home manager Danny Cowley left scratching his head at the result.

"I thought we were excellent and we created 26 chances in total," said Cowley. "Their goalkeeper made some exceptional saves."

Swindon may have more luck in front of goal.

Swindon draw no bet
1pt 8-11 general

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Southend v Plymouth
Backing a team after a 5-0 defeat won't be to the liking of every punter but it could be worth trusting Southend to right the wrongs of last week's humiliation at Rotherham.

There was a market drift on Southend which proved totally correct as they were 4-0 down at half-time, leaving boss Phil Brown apoplectic afterwards at an unacceptable capitulation.

Southend could not handle the power of Kieffer Moore, but the result is likely to mean Rob Kiernan starts, having been eased in after arriving just before the season started. This is the same squad that deservedly beat Blackburn the week before.

It may be a case of wrong place and wrong time for Plymouth with Brown capable of getting a positive reaction from his side.

1pt 21-20 bet365

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Ipswich v Brentford
The Sky Bet Championship makes for incredible reading for these two teams. Ipswich have not been great yet have nine points whereas Brentford have played really well and claimed just one point.

That luck - both good and bad - should change soon enough and it could turn at Portman Road.

Brentford were better than Sheffield United but lost 1-0 after missing an open goal to level late on. Against Nottingham Forest they won the shots-on-target count 9-6 and corners 12-3 but lost 4-3 following a superb Andreas Bouchalakis double.

On Tuesday Brentford outplayed Bristol City and again dominated the stats only to concede a 98th-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw. Bees boss Dean Smith was not wrong when he said: "We need some luck but otherwise our performance was outstanding."

They say football is a funny old game and Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy must be laughing to himself after seeing his side have eight shots on target in three league games this season and score seven times. 

It's efficient but totally unsustainable and the Tractor Boys are also without their three senior centre-backs. 

Brentford draw no bet
1pt 4-5 Betfair, Betfred

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Plays of the day

Inter 4-7
San Siro visitors Fiorentina have sold the crown jewels this summer and new Inter boss Luciano Spalletti can make a flying start to life in the hotseat.

Scunthorpe 6-4
Oxford started their league campaign with a 2-0 win at Oldham and followed that with a 3-0 success over Portsmouth. Winless Scunny are as short as 5-4 which looks wrong. 

Carlisle Evs, Lyon 13-20, Napoli 4-9, Inter 11-20 Betway, Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Accrington 7-9, Chesterfield 10-13, Stevenage 13-17 188Bet.

Thought for the week

If you say something often enough it can become the truth.

It's often remarked that managing Barcelona is easy. You see, they've got Lionel Messi and therefore, for instance, Pep Guardiola did not have to do that much to turn the Camp Nou superstars into champions of Spain, Europe and then the world.

The next time somebody utters that total nonsense show them a replay of Barcelona's 5-1 aggregate loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. That team had Messi and Luis Suarez but the first-half show at the Bernabeu on Wednesday was a shambles.

In any side the best individuals can only shine brightest when the team collective is right and that's the difficulty for any of the top managers in charge of elite clubs. Of course, it's different to what is expected of Jim Bentley at Morecambe but it's still challenging.

Current Barca boss Ernesto Valverde is showing how difficult the Barcelona job can be.

Ipswich have not been great yet have nine points whereas Brentford have played really well and claimed just one
E.W. Terms
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