Walsall v Oldham Athletic Betting Tips: Home side to come out on top

15:00/Aug 12

Football writer Thomas Giles previews the upcoming League One match between Walsall and Oldham Athletic.

These two sides have suffered poor starts to the season with both of them succumbing to a league and cup defeat respectively.  A win for either side here would be a huge boost to kick-start the season.

After nearly winning automatic promotion in the 2015/16 season, last season was a large disappointment for Walsall as they could only finish in 14th. Having said that, given the fact they have one of the lowest budgets in the division, that is actually not a bad final position.

The Saddlers struggled in the final third last season and only found the back of the net 51 times in their 46 league outings – the worst record in the top 16. However, the fact they scored twice in their cup defeat to Championship side Sheffield United will give them some encouragement. Defensively they were okay last term with 58 goals against, but the loss of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to Cardiff this summer is huge. Having said that, new ‘keeper Mark Gillespie proved he is a more than capable replacement by saving two penalties in Walsall’s opener against Bury.

Jon Whitney’s side generally have a good record on home soil and last season went on a six-match winning streak at The Banks’s Stadium. This will be Walsall’s first home match this campaign and so they will be looking to take advantage.

Oldham looked a dead cert to be relegated after a terrible start to the 2016/17 season, however, John Sheridan’s arrival (for the fifth time) in January sparked a revival, eventually ending in a respectable 17th position. They have not recruited many this summer so it will be interesting how different this season will be – if at all.

Just like Walsall, the Latics were poor in front of goal last term and they were by far the lowest goalscorers not only in League One, but also the entire Football League with a dreadful total of 31. They have tried to rectify that in this window by primarily snapping up attacking players. Unfortunately though, there is nothing in there to really excite Oldham fans. One huge boost for them going into this season though is their defence which conceded just 44 league goals during the last campaign – fewer than champions Sheffield United.

Away form has been a problem for Oldham and not even the arrival of John Sheridan in January could spark a revival with just one win in their final eight matches away from Boundary Park last term.

That away form is a worry for Oldham and, given that Walsall are historically good at home, I would back them here. Additionally, the Saddlers are unbeaten in their last five home league matches against the Latics, including four victories. The Walsall is priced at 63/50.

Single: Pending
Walsall v Oldham Athletic
12.08.2017 15:00 BST
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