On the face of it, Ayr have struggled for form since losing Ian McCall; they won 5/6 under him and have lost 4/7 since. But dig a bit deeper and you’ll see that the fixture list was much kinder in the first 6 games of the season. Of the 4 they’ve lost recently, 2 were away and the other 2 were against fellow play-off hopefuls Dundee and Inverness. At home they’ve won 3/3 against teams in the bottom half including 4-1 and 4-2 demolitions of Thistle and Morton. They have plenty Luke McCowan suspended which could be seen as a worry given that he’s been directly involved in 9 goals this season. But thankfully they share the burden – Forrest has also contributed to 9, Moffat 8 and Moore 5 – and there are only 2 teams less reliant on one player.
The same can’t be said of Arbroath; they’re more reliant on one player than any side in the league. Bobby Linn has 5 goals and 5 assists which accounts for 71.4% of all their goals this season, but only 3 have been away from home. This goes some way to explaining why they’re 2-0-5 on the road. Those 2 wins have been against Alloa and Thistle, the bottom 2 sides. In the 5 losses they’ve conceded 2+ in 4 of them and failed to score in 3.
If Ayr can keep Linn quiet, then they shouldn’t have much trouble winning this one given their attacking strength. 1.70 seems more than fair given that Dundee, Dunfermline, Inverness and Thistle all went off shorter against Arbroath.
You’ll also notice from the graphic that a certain Dundee Utd player has been involved in over half his team’s goals. Lawrence Shankland has scored 17 in the Championship this season, but picked up an injury on International duty and, according to the Courier, isn’t expected back until their home match against Alloa on the 7th Dec. This seems to have been missed by Bet365 who are still quoting him at 1.57 to score anytime against Morton on Saturday. This oversight leaves his deputy Nicky Clark at a healthy 2.38 compared to prices around 1.95 with most other bookmakers on Oddschecker. Clark has 4 goals this season from 656 minutes (0.55 goals per 90) and all 4 have come in Utd’s last 5 games. He averaged the same rate per 90 for Utd last season and was only slightly down for Dunfermline the season before with 0.47 per 90.
Morton’s home record this season may look fairly solid on the face of it (5-1-1) and they have only conceded 8 goals (1.14 per game). However, they’ve only kept 2 clean sheets, against Abroath and Dundee, who are mediocre travellers. They conceded 3 at home to Dundee Utd’s nearest challengers, and joint best away side, Ayr last month and overall against the top 4 they’ve averaged 3 against per game, including a 6-0 thumping the last time these two met.
Based on Morton’s poor defence against the better sides and Clark’s scoring rate over the last 2 and half seasons the quotes of 1.95 seem a lot closer to the mark, so I’ll be moving quickly before this error is corrected.