So the first day got off to a cracking start with Sutton beating Leyton Orient in the lunchtime kick off. Spennymoor added to that with a great win over Stockport, but annoyingly the two strongest selections both lost. I was away all weekend in York for a wedding so have been playing catch up a little on the weekend’s action, but I have 5 bets for tonight.
Barrow v Halifax
Two sides that lost on the weekend. Barrow’s poor first half performance put paid to their chances of an opening day win at Dagenham, but they were much better in the 2nd half and were maybe a shade unlucky not to pick up a point in the end. They are on the drift for this game which really surprises me given how strong they were at home last season losing just twice. Halifax lost 2-0 to Aldershot which was a tough first game of the season for them, but I am not sure it gets any easier for their 2nd game given how tough a place Barrow is to visit. I certainly think these two sides will be at opposite ends of the table come April and now they are odds against Barrow look a bet at just over 11/10 with Marathon.
Eastleigh v Sutton Utd
Because of being away I didn’t get to watch the live game on Saturday, but it seems Sutton did a very good job on Orient to come away with a 2-0 victory. The question for me though was how much that was down to Orient’s poor performance. Based on the stats in the Non League Paper Sutton only had 5 shots during the game with just 2 of those on target. To me they clearly did a very good job on keeping Orient quiet and they only managed 1 shot on target the whole game. Off course Sutton’s home form was superb last season, but they were as bad away from home as they were good at home. That makes me wonder if they will be capable of beating Eastleigh tonight as I really do think they in particular have a big advantage on their 3G pitch. Eastleigh themselves had to play on a 3G pitch on Saturday at Bromley and they played out a pretty low key 0-0 draw. Eastleigh will be looking for a much better season this time around and these are the games they need to be winning if they are going to be involved at the right end of the table. The home side are drifting and are nearly 6/4 (Marathon) which looks big to me.
Leyton Orient v Solihull Moors
As mentioned above Orient were pretty bad on Saturday and they will be hoping to put things right this evening against the favourites for relegation. As I wrote on Saturday though I was expecting Orient to get off to a slow start because it has been such a rush for them to get a squad together and from the sounds of it they played like that had been the case on Saturday. Moors on the other-hand had a day off after the council didn’t issue their ground with a safety certificate so they couldn’t host Chester. It is hard to know if that will be an advantage or not, because part of me wonders if playing a competitive game will be more beneficial at this stage of the season compared to not having played one at all. Even so this will be a big game for Moors and I am sure they will be out to make it as difficult as possible for the home side and if they can frustrate them then the home crowd will get on the Orient’s players back. I don’t think Moors’ side is as bad as some people have made out and at 9/2 I will take a punt they can make a winning start to the season against an Orient side with plenty of questions to answer.
Maidenhead v Wrexham
I’m surprised Wrexham are so big for this game and they are as big as around 11/4 with Marathon. A bit like Barrow, Wrexham also didn’t have a great first half of the season and Macclesfield won the game with a 30 yard stunner. Wrexham were much better in the 2nd half though and even Macclesfield boss John Askey thought a draw would have been a fair result. Granted my concern of Wrexham looking like they might struggle to score goals was evident on Saturday, they do otherwise have one of the best squads in the division and I just can’t understand the price. Granted Maidenhead only lost twice at home last season, but that off course was in the division below. They started their season with a solid draw at Maidstone although the home side really should have put the game too bed before conceding a late equaliser. As much as I think Maidenhead will survive this season they will almost certainly be in a relegation battle and Wrexham should be in the play-offs really. At the prices I have to make this the bet of the night as I think Wrexham should be favourites.
Boston v Alfreton
Just the one bet for me outside of the National League and it comes in the shape of one of my ante-post bets Alfreton. They got off to a very strong start to the season beating Blyth 2-0, whilst Boston were woeful in losing 4-0 to Southport. Alfreton certainly have the stronger side on paper and they look capable of making it 2 from 2 for the season. They are being backed but at 21/10 with bwin they still look a big price.