League One has been the tightest division in the country this season, but Raith made a big statement last weekend winning 5-3 away at rivals East Fife who had previously only lost twice and were 2nd lowest for goals against. A couple of goals from Jamie Gullan moved him onto 10 for the season, only 3 behind pace-setter David Goodwillie. An impressive tally for the 20yo, especially considering most of his game-time has come out wide or behind the striker. Unfortunately for Raith he’s only on loan and there’s some doubt as to whether that will be extended beyond the weekend, so I’m looking to cash in while he’s still available and Peterhead are the perfect opponent. Between the league and both cups, the Rovers have already seen them off 3 times at Starks Park this season (4-0, 3-1 and 1-0). 5/9 home wins isn’t spectacular for a title-challenger, but those have come against 5 of the teams in the bottom 6 and Peterhead are very much in that pack.
The Blue Toon are having a reasonable season after being promoted as League Two champions. They sit 7th having been 6th favourites in the ante-post odds and are well clear of the automatic relegation spot. However, they’ve only picked up 7 of their 22 points away from Balmoor. Those 2 away wins were at Clyde and Stranraer (8th and 10th) and they’ve lost 4/5 to teams in the top half conceding an average of 3.00 goals in those matches. Their away shot ratio of 46.7% is the 3rd worst in the division behind the bottom 2 and their 20 goals against on the road is 2nd only to relegation-bound Stranraer.
Getting a shade under EVS on the division’s top home side versus the 2nd worst away side jumped out at me. Raith went off at 1.85 in the previous league match here and 1.65 in the most recent cup game, so I think 1.90 is more than fair on this.
Airdrie drew with fellow title-challengers Falkirk last Saturday to keep daylight between them and their opponents, but lost ground on Raith. A home tie against 2nd bottom gives them a great opportunity to get back to winning ways and I fancy them to do it. Their home record of 4-3-3 hardly looks like title form, but 3 of those have come since the start of November and coincide with a tactical tweak noted in this blog previously. Carrick and Gallagher are continuing to fuel Airdrie’s promotion hopes and are 2nd and 3rd in the goalscoring charts. Both will fancy their chances against the 2nd worst defence in the league.
Forfar have seen a slight improvement since relieving Jim Weir of his duties. They’ve avoided in 4/6 matches under Stuart Malcolm compared to 4/12 under Weir, however the fixture list has been relatively kind to them save for a trip to Raith. Whilst results have improved, there’s not been a significant change in their shot data. Their away shot ratio of 39.8% is still the worst in the division and they’ve only kept 2/6 clean sheets (33%) which is broadly in line with their season average of 32%. They’ve conceded 8 in their last 3 games suggesting the honeymoon period may already be over for the former Loons player.
The 1.65 currently available on Airdrie seems fair considering East Fife went off the same price at home to Forfar in October and Falkirk and Raith were both around the 1.44 mark (all Bet365 closing prices). To get a bit more juice out the price trusting Airdrie prolific scorers and going for the -0.75 Asian line; half stakes win if Airdrie win by 1 and full stakes win if they win by 2+.