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Non-League Predictions > August 3rd


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The first weekend of the season can be tricky for punters and it is wise to take things fairly carefully. On the other hand you are testing your view of how teams will get on throughout the season and their can be prices about teams that you think will do well that wouldn't exist later in the season. I have 6 bets on the opening day and although none of them are as lumpy as some of the prices I landed on the final day of last season it would be nice if it was just as successful! 

Hartlepool v Sutton

Just the one bet in the National League on the first weekend. I was tempted by AFC Fylde away at Aldershot as it is the type of game they need to win if they are to be champions. The problem is it was just the type of game they failed to win last season and I would rather wait to see how they perform away from home before taking this sort of price about them. Wouldn't put anyone off backing Barnet at home to Yeovil, but they looked about the right price to me. I was desperate to oppose Notts County who look woefully under prepared going into the start of the season. The problem is I don't rate this Eastleigh squad much so I am going to sit it out. Halifax are the same as Notts County, but Ebbsfleet has be priced accordingly and I don't think there is any juice in the price. That leaves me with this match and if you have read my ante-post preview its probably no surprise that I am putting Hartlepool up to making a winning start at 11/8. They look capable of mounting a serious challenge for promotion this season having improved once Craig Hignett took over as manager last season. Now Paul Doswell has left Sutton it looks like they are in a period of transition and it might take a bit of time for them to get up and running and even then they only look capable of mid-table.

Boston v Chester

I think Chester are poor 2nd favs for the league. They might reach the play-offs, but I can't see them winning the league as their squad doesn't look strong enough. I know I don't pay a great deal of attention to pre-season friendlies and there is a chance that the players were taking it easy, but Chester were well beaten by FCUM on Tuesday night. One of their joint-managers had a right go at the performance after the game in an interview with the press and suggested that a win over Trafford on Saturday had papered over the cracks. It was a pretty scathing view of the team just a few days before the start of the season. It could be that the players respond to that and go and put in a performance in the first league game, but it might just be that the managers have recruited poorly. Also in 11 seasons in management they have only won their opening day fixture once and that was in 2010, they couldn't even manage it whilst they were at Salford. There has to be something in that and Boston, who look stronger than last season, could well be primed to take full advantage. It looks a pretty tough opening game and Boston will look a big price at 143/100.

Kettering v AFC Telford

Kettering have had a very messy summer. Their manager left in slightly mysterious circumstances and players left some claiming they hadn't been paid all the money they were promised. I think they look possible relegation candidates at this stage and they especially look worth taking on in the early part of the season. Telford's away form let them down last season and that is a slight concern, but they look to have a decent side again and they should be capable of picking up 3 points here. 

Oxford City v Concord

Concord had a great season last time around and finished in the play-offs, but for some reason their chairman couldn't be bothered to get the ground up to National League standard so they couldn't compete in them. Like Kettering their manager Sammy Moore then left in mysterious circumstances and when he joined Hemel quite a few players left with him. They look nowhere near the side they were last season and I think they could be in for a relegation battle. City have lost their star striker to Boreham Wood and that will hurt them, but on paper they look a better side than Concord and I am happy to back them at 13/10.

Tonbridge v Dulwich

Dulwich look the best bet on the opening weekend. They have already been nibbled in the betting before I put them up and that doesn't surprise me at all. As I mentioned in my AP preview Gavin Rose looks to have built a good side this time around and one that can score goals which was a problem at times last season. Now their off the field issues have been sorted it looks like they are able to spend some cash which you would expect a club who can attract 3000 fans to have. Tonbridge came up through the play-offs, but it wouldn't be a big surprise if they went straight back down and I certainly think these two sides will be at opposite ends of the table come April. 13/8 looks a big price on an away win.

Bath City v Braintree and Havant & Waterlooville v Welling

Bath would have been a single if they had stayed odds against, but they have gone a shade of odds on so I am putting them in a double with Havant who also look a pretty solid home win. As I wrote in my AP preview Braintree look really weak going into the new season. Their budget has been slashed and they are relaying on players making the step up from leagues below. I think they won't be too far away from the relegation zone. Bath had a good season last time around and they look like being a play-off contender yet again. It's no surprise they are now odds on because they should be. Havant are one of my tips for the title and they really ought to get their season underway with 3 points. Welling look much worse than last season after finishing 3rd. Steve King has gone and after already cutting costs during last season they have done again. I think they will be lucky to finish in the top half this time around. With the double paying 2.3/1 with Marathon that looks a decent price

Hartlepool 1pt @ 11/8 with BetVictor

Boston 2pts @ 143/100 with Marathon

AFC Telford 1pt @ 77/50 with Marathon

Oxford City 1pt @ 13/10 with Betway and BetVictor

Dulwich 3pts @ 13/8 with BetVictor

Bath City/Havant & Waterlooville 2pts double @ 2.3/1 with Marathon

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