Raith v Morton
Although the form of both Raith and Morton has been rather unpredictable in recent weeks, odds of 1.9 on both teams to find the net look too good to pass up. Indeed, these sides played just a fortnight ago at Stark’s Park in the Challenge Cup, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw. On the other occasion this fixture was played in Fife this season, Raith wound up 2-1 winners.
Certainly, the home side have found it difficult to keep shutouts in recent weeks. They have conceded 10 goals in their last four league matches, including five against Queen’s Park a month ago and even conceded against goal-shy Arbroath last weekend. Equally, though, they have been proficient scorers at home and are currently on a streak of scoring in each of their last six at home, bagging three goals in four of these fixtures.
Morton, meanwhile, have typically seen goals at both ends of the field in recent weeks. All six of the matches that they have played since the beginning of November have seen both teams find the net. Indeed, they have conceded exactly one goal in each of these matches.
When travelling this season in the league, the Greenock side have played eight matches. Six of these have seen both teams find the net, even if there has been a tendency for them to be involved in low-scoring fixtures, with three of these games ending 1-1.
Undefeated in eight, Morton will fancy their chances of continuing their strong run of league form, but with just one clean sheet in six on their travels, there is no guarantee they will do so without being worried by the Kirkcaldy club.
Falkirk v Queen of the South
Although Falkirk look tempting value to beat Queen of the South at a price above evens, there is better value to be found in backing both teams to score in this match.
Falkirk certainly have the potential to get the win in this game. They have won both previous fixtures against Queens by a 3-1 margin this season. The form of the home side, though, has been all over the place in recent weeks, particularly at home. Although they boast a strong record at the Falkirk Stadium overall, they have won only one of their last six fixtures at the venue – a victory over FC Edinburgh.
Similarly, Queen of the South are proving difficult to predict. Last weekend, they allowed an advantageous position at home against Kelty to slide, suffering a stunning 2-1 defeat that has put manager Wullie Gibson back under pressure. The Doonhamers have won five of their last 10 but have equally lost four of these matches – including against Falkirk.
Two-thirds of the league matches that the Dumfries club have played this season have seen both teams find the net, while this is a fixture that has a long history of both teams scoring. Indeed, there is presently a 13-match streak of both teams finding the net between these clubs.
Both teams are stronger going forward than they are defending, with Falkirk labouring amidst a defensive selection crisis that is liable to see at least one, and potentially two, makeshift centre-backs. Look for Queen of the South to profit by finding the net – but they are likely to concede, having only kept one clean sheet away from home in their last eight in the league.
Montrose v Airdrie
If there has been a League One fixture that has had a habit of producing goals in recent years, it has been Airdrie’s fixture against Montrose. Over the course of the last 10 meetings between these clubs, nine have produced over 2.5 goals. Remarkably, the last three fixtures alone have yielded 20 goals, including an incredible 6-4 playoff success of Airdrie last season in a fixture that went to extra-time.
The trend has continued this season. When the sides met in Angus in early October, Montrose were 4-2 winners, yet barely three weeks later, Airdrie exacted revenge with a 4-0 home success.
One factor counting against the outcome is a run of four successive Airdrie matches that have seen two goals or fewer. The Diamonds, though, are better armed offensively for this game, with key playmaker Adam Frizzell expected to be fit to start, while Gabby McGill and Callum Gallagher, their top scorer, have both shaken off injuries.
Montrose, meanwhile, have been involved in a string of high-scoring matches in recent weeks. Five of their last six League One games have produced at least 2.5 goals, with four of these bringing exactly four goals. The one exception was their previous home match against Alloa, which was played in trying conditions.
This is a fixture that invariably produces plenty of entertainment, and with both sets of players boasting a strong squad, this should be a similarly action-packed encounter.
Elgin v Stirling
Elgin’s head-to-head record against Stirling Albion should not be ignored when considering the outcome of Friday night’s fixture at Borough Briggs. The home side are clear second favourites to win this game, yet they won eight of their last 11 against Stirling, dating back to the 2019/20 season. Indeed, they were unfortunate not to get another win when the clubs met in August. They led 2-0 at Forthbank but were pegged back in the second half.
The hosts are on a good run of form in their own right after failing to win any of their first five matches of the season. In their last 11 matches, they have suffered only three defeats and have picked up an impressive seven victories. They are a club in form, which the odds do not represent.
The same cannot necessarily be said of their opponents. The Binos were bang in form during the autumn months but the beginning of November has heralded something of a downturn in their fortunes. Indeed, they have won just one of their last five matches, which was a home game against out-of-form East Fife. While a lack of games in recent weeks – their last fixture was December 3 – should have helped them win back some players after injuries, there will necessarily be a lack of sharpness in their ranks.
Making matters worse for part-time Stirling is the long trip to Elgin, which for many players will take place after work. Travelling to a venue they have struggled at in such circumstances on Christmas weekend is probably something they can do without.
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