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Kevin Pullein predictions: free football betting tips from the Soccer Boffin

Northampton may not lose the corners count

Northampton boss Jon Brady (L) and his assistant Colin Calderwood (R)
1 of 1

Football tips, stats and philosophy from Kevin Pullein.

Best bet

Northampton +1 Asian handicap corners
1pt 1.8 bet365

Back Northampton to take at least as many corners as Forest Green when they meet today in League Two.

Bet Northampton +1 Asian handicap corners with bet365 at decimal odds of 1.8, equivalent to the fractional price of 4-5. If Northampton win or draw the corners count the bet will succeed, if they lose it by one stakes will be returned and if they lose it by more than one the bet will fail.

Northampton v Forest Green is third versus first in League Two. At the end of the season the top three will be promoted automatically. Northampton have achieved good results, but not as good as Forest Green. After 23 games, exactly half the season, Northampton have 40 points and Forest Green have 51.

The result-related markets regard Forest Green as slightly more likely than Northampton to score most goals. The odds imply something like a 40 per cent chance of an away win, a 30 per cent chance of a draw and a 30 per cent chance of a home win. Those percentages probably are not out by much if at all.

In previous seasons in EFL games with similar result expectations fair decimal odds about the home team +1 Asian handicap corners would have been significantly shorter than 1.8. Today they should probably not be as short as they should have been on some other days, but possibly they should still not be as big as 1.8.

Forest Green have taken a high proportion of the corners in their away games – even slightly higher than we should have anticipated from their excellent results. They are unbeaten away and have a fractionally higher points per game ratio than at home.

Forest Green have drawn or lost the corners count in only four out of their 11 away games, which on its own is not an encouraging stat. But none of their previous visits was to a team as high in the table as Northampton. Today the play may be less one-sided than it often has been.

Thought for the week

Last Sunday West Ham played at home to Leeds in the FA Cup. They won 2-0. Tomorrow West Ham will play at home to Leeds in the Premier League. Will they win 2-0 again? It is possible but some other score is more likely.

Football tends to change even when circumstances are similar. Admittedly, selections can be different in the FA Cup than in the Premier League.

Last Sunday West Ham got one goal in each half. So the score was the same in both halves. That was unusual.

The two halves of a match are as close as we get in practice to reproducing circumstances exactly. The players are either the same or almost the same, the referee and spectators are the same, the weather usually is similar. More often than not, though, what happens is different.

That remains true even when we consider broader definitions than the score.

Only in about a quarter of all Premier League and EFL games is the goal difference between the teams the same in both halves. By goal difference being the same I mean, for example, a team scoring one goal more than their opponents in the first half then scoring one goal more than their opponents in the second half.

Only in about four games out of nine – fewer than half – is the result the same in both halves. By the result being the same I mean one team scoring more goals than their opponents in each half or both teams getting the same number in each half. Football can vary even when circumstances really have not varied.


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None of Forest Green's previous visits was to a team as high in the table as Northampton. Today the play may be less one-sided than it often has been
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