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English National League Preview and Best Bets

english national league

Chesterfield v Aldershot

Chesterfield over 1.5 goals – 8/15 (1.53)

It was looking like it was going to be a perfect start to the season for Chesterfield against Dorking last week as they went 1 up early on, but then Lucas Covolan the Chesterfield keeper got himself sent off for a silly off the ball incident. With no sub keeper on the bench midfielder Ollie Banks went in goal and it looked like being an uphill struggle from there on. They did however go 2 up and it was then just a case of seeing if they could hold on. Sadly, for them they couldn’t and eventually Banks’ luck ran out as he conceded twice in the final 25 minutes. Last season Chesterfield lost a lot of points from winning positions and although it is slightly worrying they have started off this one in the same manner, you have to think they would have seen it out with an actual goalkeeper in goal. They face an Aldershot side who come here on the back of a poor seasonal debut at home to Solihull last week. They were well beaten 4-1 and after only just finishing above the relegation zone last season I get the sense things aren’t going to improve that much this time around. This is another tough fixture for them. Solihull’s xG was 2.81 against Aldershot last week and with Chesterfield able to score 2 with just 10 men on the pitch last week I think they can score at least 2 goals again this Saturday.

Maidenhead v Scunthorpe

Maidenhead draw no bet – 17/20 (1.85)

A lot of people are writing off Maidenhead this season and have already said they will be one of the relegated teams come April. Look I’m not saying it won’t be tough for them, but I have learnt to never write off an Alan Devonshire side as time and time again he has battled against the odds. He has often kept Maidenhead up with ease and what he especially seems adept at is beating the big teams in the division at home. Now, I don’t expect Scunthorpe to be challenging at the right end of the table, but at this stage they are one of the big sides in the league having been relegated from League 2 last season. I didn’t think they looked too bad last week and Jacob Butterfield is clearly going to be key for them, but Yeovil are a poor side and I think they made Scunthorpe look better than they actually are. Granted Maidenhead didn’t even manage a shot on target in their 3-0 defeat against Notts County last week, but that was always going to be a tough game for them and like I say they always tend to do better at home than they do at the big grounds on their travels. If Maidenhead can keep Butterfield quiet then I think they can get something from the game and I will be backing them in the draw no bet market.

Maidstone v York

York draw no bet – 1/1 (2.0)

I think York could be one of the dark horses in the National League this season. I know they only came up via the play-offs last term, but John Askey is a very good manager who knows what it takes to win this division having taken Macclesfield up a few years ago. What is also key for me is they have been taken over during the summer and it is clear there is some money to spend at the club. Maybe it will take more than one season to get them back into the Football League, but it is clear they have a manager and a squad who could well be capable of sneaking into the play-offs. They looked really good last week in their opening game of the season when beating a good Woking side 2-0. The travel to fellow promoted side Maidstone who actually did better than I thought they would at Altrincham last week when taking the lead and then holding on for a 1-1 draw. Possibily I was overrating Altrincham going into the game, but I certainly think that York are a better side than Altrincham and I think this will be a tougher test. If York can perform as well as they did last week then I think they have a great chance of picking something up and I will be looking to back them in the draw no bet where they look appealingly priced.

Oldham v Dorking Wanderers 

Over 2.5 goals – 3/4 (1.75)

This is the live BT Sport game on Saturday evening and it is a bit of a historic game as when Oldham were in the Premier League Dorking didn’t even exsist! Oldham are the first side to drop into Non-League Football having been in the Premier League and Dorking weren’t founded until 1999. Oldham were unlucky not to beat Torquay last week. First of all, they had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men which didn’t help their cause although they were fairly comfortable in seeing the 0-0 draw out anyway. Key for me though is they created some really good chances prior to that and an xG of 1.81 suggests that they should have scored at least a goal. There is every chance that if they had kept all 11 men on the pitch then they might well have picked up the 3 points. I touch on the Dorking game above in the Chesterfield preview and I do think that they only picked up a point because the keeper was sent off. What I do think Dorking will be though is very attacking as Marc White has tended to set them up that way in previous seasons and he has shown no sign of stopping that in pre-season or against Chesterfield. That suggests to me that they will feature in some high scoring games this season as they will score, but especially against the better sides they will concede and although Oldham didn’t score last week, I can’t see them being so wasteful in front of the TV cameras. I therefore think over 2.5 goals looks a good bet.

Yeovil v Wrexham

Wrexham to win – 4/7 (1.57)

I really think Yeovil could be in a relegation battle this season and nothing I saw in the live game against Scunthorpe last week changed my mind. They were hardly in the game at all and were slightly fortunate to even score 1 given their xG was just 0.64. Scunthorpe’s 2nd goal was a defensive disaster as Yeovil’s defence and midfield just allowed Jacob Butterfield to run and run from just inside his own half as they backed off him until he reached the penalty box and he got a shot away and scored. It was literally as if they just let him have an open invitation to score a goal If they defend in a similar way against Wrexham then the Welsh side’s attackers should have a field day. They surprisingly made hard work of beating Eastleigh last week, but Eastleigh’s goal came via a bad goalkeeping error and after that it was pretty much all Wrexham. They had 20 shots for an xG of 2.14, they had 67.8% possession and most impressively they had an accuracy rate of 85% from the 481 passes they attempted during the game. Take out the keeping error and they win easily and they really ought to do the same on Saturday. The price just to win is big enough for me and if this game was taking place later in the season it would be a lot shorter in my view.

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