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Friday, 4 April 2014

Bookies Corner: Bristol City v Preston North End

Lifelong Bristol City fan and easyodds.com football tipster Ross Casey previews each week’s Bristol City fixture from a betting angle. Where does he think your money should be going on Saturday??!

City go into their League One clash with Preston on Saturday on the back of a defeat at Rotherham last weekend. That result was arguably harsh, although not many City fans would re-iterate Steve Cotterill’s claim that we deserved to win the match. We did however, go toe-to-toe with one of the form teams in the league and almost came away with a point. As it was though, sadly, we suffered our first loss in six matches at the hands of a decent footballing team.

With several teams beneath us in the league table picking up points, we once again have to look over our shoulder at the emergence of our relegation rivals, as we are just six points ahead of the dreaded drop zone. However, a win against North End would go some way to allaying those fears.

That won’t be easy though as Preston are still pursuing Brentford’s automatic promotion spot and come into this one just six points behind the Bees. In an interesting twist to the tale though, a cloud will be hanging over their heads this weekend as six of their players were questioned on Thursday regarding the on-going match fixing scandal.

Will that affect them on the pitch? After winning 11 away games already this season, let’s hope so!

BRISTOL CITY – 13/5 (MarathonBet)
DRAW – 12/5 (Various)
PRESTON – 5/4 (Ladbrokes)

Bristol City are clear underdogs to win the match according to the bookies but only with MarathonBet can you get odds of 13/5 – showing the importance of comparing bookmaker odds. Considering we have drawn more games at Ashton Gate than any other match result, many will be taken with generic odds of 12/5 on the draw.

Goals have been on the cards in recent weeks, and we have managed to net in six of our last seven games so you would be forgiven for thinking about the both teams to score market – a bet that would have come in 36 times out of 49 matches this term. However, Preston have conceded just 16 away goals this season – the joint second best away defensive record in the whole league.

If you do fancy a Robins goalscorer against Preston’s stringent defence then the bookies are offering decent odds because Preston are favourites. Joe Garner, Stuart Beavon and Craig Davies are all ahead of Sam Baldock in the market, making our top scorer a 15/8 best price to find the net. JET (12/5) Martin Paterson (9/4) and last week’s scorer Wade Elliott (6/1) also offer decent value. On a side note at 21/10 Kevin Davies is a value shot to score as his aerial ability will question Frankie Fielding’s weakest attribute – crosses.

We have been starting games better at Ashton Gate in recent weeks – we haven’t been trailing at half-time in any of our last four home ties (including a stupendously good midweek performance versus Port Vale) and you can get a very handsome 11/4 on us leading this one after 45 minutes.

You can certainly see why we are as big as 13/5 to win at home against Simon Grayson’s side – they are on a run of just one loss in twelve matches. Six of those results have been wins, whilst they have also picked up five draws, showing just how hard a side they will be to beat.

They will be arriving at Ashton Gate after two wins on the bounce but heart-warmingly they have dropped points at both Swindon and Stevenage in their last two away games. They have also failed to score in five of their last nine matches on the road – but I don’t think many Robins fans would be putting money on a Bristol City clean sheet! The bookies certainly don’t rate our chances – they have made us 10/3 to keep Preston from netting.

Possibly the biggest side-story to this encounter is the return to Ashton Gate for former Robin Neil Kilkenny. The 28 year-old Australian international was a much maligned figure at BS3 for a large part of his career. Lauded as the successor to Paul Hartley on his arrival, he couldn’t settle in the side and made just 50 starts in his three years at the club.

I think we are in danger of facing Kilkenny at his best on Saturday. He is sure to be booed and tormented by the home fans and when he is fired up and trying to prove people wrong he is a quality player. Remember his only goal for us came at Elland Road (a 30 yard screamer) where he celebrated not with his teammates but by pointing his finger at Ken Bates after he made remarks about his time at his former club. He is a best price 8/1 to score on Saturday. I couldn’t find his odds to point, swear, make a sideways pass and blame his teammates for something all within five seconds - but I suggest the odds will be very short!

A promising statistic in the head to head stats is that the away side has won just once in the last nine meetings. That came in a 4-0 stuffing at Deepdale with goals from Andy Keogh, Brett Pitman and a double from David Clarkson. No wonder the Lilywhites went down that season!

The last time we met at Ashton Gate, we drew 1-1 with Preston thanks to a Billy Jones own goal cancelling out a second minute Iain Hume strike. That scoreline is available at a best price of 33/5 with MarathonBet and is the favourite in the betting market. The last time Preston won at Ashton Gate was back in 2000 – meaning they haven’t beaten us at home in four attempts. Brett Angell scored that day – we never could deal with ‘the big man up top’ – good job they don’t have Kevin Davies…

Draw @ 12/5 – BET NOW

City played well at the New York Stadium without getting the points, so we shouldn’t be too disheartened. We draw plenty at home, whilst Preston have only lost three times all season away from home. Back the draw in this one.

*All prices supplied by easyodds.com and prices all correct as of Friday 4th April 2014*

P.S. If you fancy a punt on the big betting event of the day, Ross asked Easyodds.com's Paul Jacobs - a four times NAPs champion and coming off the back of tipping the Gold Cup winner at 33/1 - for his thoughts: 
“Vintage Star is great e/w value at 66/1 for last year’s winning trainer Sue Smith. BetVictor are offering 6 places… take advantage!”

The Exiled Robin

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