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Bolton vs Walsall Predictions

  • 15:00
  • Expired
  • Macron Stadium

odds when tipped

odds when tipped

Tip Reasoning

Bolton appeared to have turned a corner when they went two matches without tasting defeat recently, but the limitations of Phil Parkinson’s men were once again exposed on New Year’s Day, as they shipped six goals when losing away at Hull. The Trotters have now won just one of their last 16 matches in all competitions.

Given that they’re fighting a relegation battle, it’s easy to feel that this FA Cup match is an unwelcome distraction for the Trotters. A match against third-tier opponents does provide them with an opportunity to impose themselves and thus regain some confidence, though if they fail to get the better of what is an average League One side at best, then they’re likely to be feeling even lower ahead of their next Championship assignment.

Even on their own patch, Bolton have struggled. Parkinson’s men have won just one of their last eight at home, while their performances during that time have not been positive either. The one thing you can say about the Trotters is that they dig deep and try to give little away, but their lack of both creativity and forward potency means that any defensive strength that they do show often counts for little.

Saturday’s hosts are averaging just 0.82 expected goals for at home, which tells us that they don’t create many chances, while they’ve unsurprisingly failed to find the net in 54% of their games at Macron Stadium during the current campaign.

Walsall are far from League One’s best, but even they’ll fancy themselves to do well against this Bolton side. Defensively, the Saddlers are not great, but they’ve delivered some pleasing performances of late. Having become the first team to deny a rampant Luton recently, Dean Keates’ men will be feeling confident.

While Bolton are averaging a measly 0.82 expected goals for at home this season, Walsall are averaging 1.38 on the road. They also recently scored away against Charlton and Peterborough, both of whom reside in the top six. A repeat of either of those efforts would likely see the Saddlers get serious in this fixture.

Walsall are by no means defensively astute and if Bolton could somehow offer more going forward, then the visitors will be there for the taking, though Saturday’s hosts have just been so poor going forward, that it’s tough to envisage them overpowering even third-tier opponents. The visitors will have a go and they can certainly threaten, so if Bolton are up to their usual tricks going forward, it won’t be surprising if Walsall avoid defeat.

Many people will see this as an opportunity for the struggling hosts, but given their efforts offensively, it’s simply too hard to make a case for them at the prices. A side that has offered so little going forward don’t deserve to be such strong favourites, so a small play on the visitors to avoid defeat is the way to go.

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