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Bookmakers are prone to overreact to results early in soccer competitions and one thinks that they have gone too far in affording odds-on favouritism to Tranmere for its English National League away match against Aldershot on Saturday.
Tranmere, which is attempting to regain English Football League status after falling into England’s fifth tier in 2015, has usurped Forest Green as the English National League favourite after going through the opening seven rounds as the division’s one and only unbeaten team.
One does not doubt that Tranmere will be near the top of the English National League ladder at the business end of the season but Rovers have had a relatively soft schedule in their first seven games and, therefore, one thinks that bookmakers should not be so fulsome in their praise.
Tranmere is 6-1-0 following seven English National League rounds but the average ladder position of its opponents up to now is 16, with Rovers not running into any of the top six sides and their last two matches being versus the two teams at the bottom. Tranmere’s three English National League away assignments have been against three of the division’s lesser lights – Boreham Wood, Bromley and Southport – with Rovers failing to beat the 23rd-placed Sandgrounders when they met at Haig Avenue last weekend.
Aldershot represents Tranmere’s toughest English National League test so far this term. Aldershot is fifth on the English National League ladder with a 5-1-2 record that includes three home wins to nil over Maidstone, North Ferriby and Wrexham. There was no fluke about Aldershot’s 2-1 last-start English National League away victory over Dover, which remains one of the promotion favourites even though it stands 12th on the ladder after seven rounds.
Tranmere failed to defeat Aldershot at The Recreation Ground in last season’s English National League, the February game resulting in a 0-0 draw. A positive for Tranmere is that it enjoys an early English National League collateral form edge over Aldershot – the teams have each faced Barrow, Bromley and Maidstone, with Rovers holding a 2-1-0 lead in their head to head versus the Shots. But should Tranmere be odds on across the board to win its next English National League match? No, Tranmere should be odds of at least 3/2 2.50 +150 1.50 1.50 -0.67 .
Gary Waddock is back at Aldershot for his second spell in charges of the Shots. Waddock, who represented Ireland in his playing career, steered Aldershot to the English fifth tier title in 2008 and he stayed around when the Shots consolidated their English Football League status in the following campaign by placing 15th in the fourth tier. Waddock quit Aldershot to join Wycombe but he did not experience similar success at the helm of the Chairboys, although the early signs are that the Shots will improve under his stewardship. Aldershot has a good relationship with English Premier League giant Chelsea and the Shots signed Blues defender Dion Conroy on loan this week.
The purpose of this weekly column is to highlight bets at big prices that have a decent chance of paying dividends. Aldershot fits that profile because Marathonbet is listing the Shots at odds of 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29 to become the first side to inflict an English National League defeat on Tranmere this term. One could not possibly have Aldershot at odds bigger than 2/1 3.00 +200 2.00 2.00 -0.50 based on what has happened in the opening seven rounds of the English National League competition.
Aldershot to beat Tranmere
Saturday 3rd August, 15:00 GMT
Odds: 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29
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