Ladbrokes SPFL: Picking the bones out of the festive fixtures

The turkey has been wolfed down and now it’s time to get back to business in the Ladbrokes SPFL, with a full offering of fixtures from the Premiership downwards.

We are focusing on the Championship, League 1 and League 2 here as we pick out some of the best bets and mull over what we have to look forward to on Boxing Day and beyond.

Falkirk have the opportunity to close the gap on the top two in the Championship to three points on Saturday with a win over Dumbarton.

The Bairns should come through with the three points against the Sons having won their last three fixtures in front of their own fans, but with just one clean sheet in their last five league fixtures, it could be that a win with both teams to score at 2/1 is the best option.

The opposite can be said at Stark’s Park as Raith Rovers, who have only failed to score in front of their own fans once in their last 24 home games, take on bottom side Alloa.

Athletic have only netted twice in their last nine fixtures, so backing Rovers to win without conceding at 11/8 looks rock solid.

Elsewhere the fixture at St Mirren Park looks anyone’s game with the Buddies and opponents Livingston winning just one win in their last 10 games combined.

The big fixture in the division undoubtedly comes on the 27th though when league leaders Rangers host Hibernian.

With the top-spot heading into the New Year at stake, the action is set to be fierce, with the Gers 7/10 favourites.

They have, however, been inconsistent of late, winning three of their last nine which is poor by their standards, so the value could be with the visitors who have won their last six on the road in the Draw No Bet market at 21/10.

United not guaranteed to get back to winning ways

In League 1 the pressure will be on Ayr United to halt their slide and continue to put the pressure on leaders Dunfermline.

The Honest Men have lost their last two games, and with their visitors Brechin City showing some encouragement of late, backing them at 3/5 comes with plenty of risks.

The team in top-spot can be expected to do the business without too much fuss.

The Pars are 6/4 to beat Forfar to nil, and with Allan Johnston’s men conceding just three goals in their last 10 league games, and the Loons jetting just one in four, it looks a solid bet.

In the play-off battle one of the division’s form teams look good value at 7/5 to come away from Airdrieonians with three points.

Unbeaten in six league games, and up to fourth in the table Peterhead can be expected to do the business against a Diamonds side that have lost three of their last four in the division.

Elsewhere it could be a frustrating afternoon for Albion Rovers as they go to a Cowdenbeath side that haven’t lost in front of their own fans in the league since the start of August.

With the Blue Brazil conceding just one goal in their last four on their own patch and the Wee Rovers’ last four away games yielding a total of only five goals, this could be one to play the unders.

Finally, bottom club Stranraer will be looking to avoid a repeat of the 1-0 defeat they have suffered on their last two visits to Stenhousemuir.

The Blues need to start getting some points on the board, and this looks a prime opportunity – though the 17/2 on the hosts winning by the odd goal must be considered.

Still all to play for in Ladbrokes League 2

Onto League 2 and the best value surely lies with the division’s form team Stirling Albion at Evens at home to East Fife.

The Binos have taken the spoils in their last four home games while the Fifers haven’t won on the road since September and could see their visitors open up an eight point gap in the table.

Clyde can get to within a point of league leaders Annan with a game in hand if they can snatch victory at Galabank.

Barry Ferguson’s men have won just one of their last four and their hold on top-spot is beginning to look a little weary.

Meanwhile there could be plenty of goals on show at Gayfield Park when Arbroath host bottom side East Stirling.

There have been at least four goals in each of the Shire’s last four games, making a punt on over 3.5 goals look tempting at 5/4, though we’re sure the league’s basement dwellers would rather see a tighter showing in defence than they have recently.

Montrose could be keeping their fingers crossed that for some reason the name Craig Gunn doesn’t appear on their opponents team-sheet.

The Elgin City striker has netted seven goals in the last seven league games and against a Gable Endies side that have shipped 17 goals in their last five and will surely fancy himself to put one in the onion bag again.

We wrap things off with a visit to Hampden as Queen’s Park host Berwick Rangers who ended their  run of six straight defeats with a comprehensive win over East Stirling last time out.

However they probably won’t be so lucky against the Spiders who have conceded just one goal in their last five League 2 fixtures. Back the hosts to win to nil at 15/8 to give yourself a little late Christmas gift.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.