So far this season, Walsall have struggled to consistently replicate the form which led them to the League One play-offs last season. But with Jon Whitney’s men now just three points off the top-six, they’re superbly priced to repeat the feat this campaign at 16/1.
On their day, the Saddlers are more than a match for any side in the division – as they showed by ending much-fancied Sheffield United’s 10-game unbeaten run at Bramall Lane last week.
The last side to defeat the Blades before that? Yep, Walsall.
Despite losing the likes of Tom Bradshaw and Romaine Sawyers to Championship opposition in the Summer, Whitney has done an excellent job in replacing last season’s key men with similarly impressive performers.
Diminutive midfield wizard Erhun Oztumer has already chalked up eight goals and four assists in all competitions, while former Premier League hitman Simeon Jackson has netted five league goals – all at vital moments – to help the Saddlers keep the play-off spots in sight.
They also have the benefit of one of the division’s most tactically astute and versatile gaffers.
Whitney has constantly reshaped his side to fit the occasion, with their counter-attacking 5-3-2 working a charm in the 1-0 win at Sheffield United.
Elsewhere, his cautious 5-4-1 allowed them to sit deep and withstand the pressure in last month’s narrow victory at Leicester City Under-23s in the EFL Trophy, while October’s 2-0 triumph at Swindon Town utilised a creative front-four to excellent effect.
Among that front-four was emerging winger Kieron Morris – one of a number of emerging talents’ whose energy and technical ability could prove vital as Walsall’s promotion challengers inevitably begin to look leggy towards the season’s end.
In addition to 22-year-old Morris, fellow youth product Amadou Bakayoko and Cypriot international Andreas Makris have both made telling contributions in attack.
Meanwhile at the back, the club have used the loan market superbly to bring in classy defenders like Jason McCarthy and George Dobson from Premier League heavyweights.
With experience of reaching the play-offs last season, Whitney and his squad are certainly worth backing at the hefty price of 16/1 to reach the post-season again this time out.
Next up for Walsall is a trip to Fleetwood Town, with the West Midlands club great value for a seventh straight victory over the Cod Army at 13/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing