Any overly-optimistic Portsmouth fans (if such a breed of person exists) will have spent last Saturday facing up to the reality that life in League Two is not going to be anything close to straightforward.
They began the campaign as favourites for the fourth tier title but, after succumbing to a 4-1 defeat to promotion rivals Oxford at Fratton Park, they tumbled to 13/2 and third in the betting. This humbling defeat has had no impact on their favouritism to win at Capital One Cup heroes Accrington Stanley though.
Pompey are 13/10 favourites to triumph in front of the television cameras, with James Beattie’s men – who suffered a 4-1 mauling themselves on the opening day – priced up at 2/1. The draw is a 12/5-rated alternative.
Should Guy Whittingham’s side defeat Stanley, they’ll have to so without suspended defender Johnny Ertl, who was dismissed during their curtain-raising mauling, but a strong attacking showing should compensate for this.
Accrington have shipped two goals or more in four of their previous six home fixtures and their porous defence will need to replicate the form that restricted Championship club Middlesbrough to one goal in their 2-1, mid-week win at the Riverside.
However, they’ll be hoping that new Pompey striker Tom Craddock is omitted from the starting line up after being handed his full debut for the club in their Capital One Cup loss at Bournemouth. The one-time Boro trainee and lower-league scoring machine hammered in four goals the last time he stared down the Stanley backline, when his Oxford team battered their way to a 5-0 win.
It’s highly unlikely he’ll be left out following his new club’s opening day calamity and, at 5/1, he must be worth a punt to open the scoring.
Another potential money making angle comes through backing just one or neither team to find the back of the net based on how both clubs ended their previous campaigns. Each of Stanley’s final three would have entitled backers of this bet to a pay out, as would three of Portsmouth’s last five.
Back another occurrence of this particular outcome at 21/20.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date