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Non-League Predictions > 6th August


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Not going to go mad on the first weekend as I don't pay much attention to friendlies and things are more based on how I feel teams are going to do during the season. It is just the 3 bets for me on day 1.
 
Torquay v Oldham
Torquay may have missed out on their best chance of promotion when they finished 2nd to Sutton a couple of years ago and then lost in a dramatic play-off final to Hartlepool. That final took place in late June because of Covid and that meant Torquay had little time before the new season started and that certainly hindered Gary Johnson's preparations. They struggled for the first few months of the season and it wasn't really until the 2nd half of the season where they really got going, but by then it was way too late to make a play-off bid. They have lost some of the stars from last season's team, but Johnson is one of the best managers at this level and I trust him to have got a good team together especially having been able to have had a full pre-season. Fans of relegated Oldham will be delighted that a takeover was finalised last week, but that hasn't come soon enough for me and their squad looks short of what is required to be challenging at the right end of the table at the current stage. Manager John Sheridan didn't have a great time of things when he was last manager in this league at Chesterfield and the fact he is in charge doesn't exactly fill me with confidence about their chances for the season either. It could be some money will be spent at some stage, but the squad isn't good enough for me at the moment. Johnson knows this level like the back of his hand and I think he and his Torquay side can get off to the perfect start to the new season.
 
Hemel Hempstead v Farnborough
The away side owe us after losing the title last season and I think they can get off to a winning start on their first season back at this level. They got their business out of the way quite early on and I was impressed with the quality of player they were signing. They might even be capable of sneaking into the play-offs. My feeling is they will be better prepared going into the start of the season than their hosts who had a very underwhelming season last time around. I'm not expecting a great deal of improvement, certainly to start with anyway, and I think it will be an away win here.
 
Taunton v Welling
Given I think Welling are going to have a very good season they look way overpriced to me in this game. Granted Taunton come here on the back of winning the title and the amount of points they won in the final 30 games of the season was staggering. They became winning machines, but I'm not sure they have strengthened all that much in the close season and losing their loanee goalkeeper on the eve of the season is hardly ideal. They might not end up in a relegation battle, but they look a bottom half of the table side to me. I don't need to repeat my views on Welling here given I have covered them in the ante-post preview, but if I am right then they look great value and they are my Nap's on the opening day.
 
AFC Rushden & Diamonds v Needham Market
I think Needham Market look value against Rushden. Rushden lost their manager to Tamworth last season and it looks to me like they could well struggle this time around. There has been a big turn around in players and their squad doesn't look good enough at the moment. Needham Market are a solid team and they are capable of winning this.
 
Torquay 1pt @ 11/8 with SBK (take up to 6/5)
Farnborough 1pt @ 2/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 13/8)
Welling 2.5pts @ 11/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 7/4)
Needham Market 1pt @ 21/10 with Betfred, Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 6/4)
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