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Top tipster Adam Bate is backing a comfortable home win when the Shrimpers host Steve Evans' stuttering side in a key League Two encounter at Roots Hall

It’s a big game for two of the promotion hopefuls in League Two when Southend host Crawley at Roots Hall on Monday evening. Strangely, neither side have been in great form lately – winning just four of their last 16 league games between them.

Crawley have been the biggest strugglers, winning just one of their last eight. It would appear to be a combination of FA Cup distractions and losing key players – strikers Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett have left the club in recent weeks.

As a result, Southend are slight favourites in this one and you can back them at an industry-best price of 13/8 (2.63) with William Hill.

Do not write off Crawley, though. Steve Evans has retained the bulk of the team that won seven in a row in the autumn and beat Monday’s opponents 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in August. The price of 9/5 (2.8) with William Hill for a Crawley victory may tempt some. The draw is available at 21/10 (3.1).

In the goalscorers market, Dave Martin might be worth a look for Southend. The player has scored three goals in eight starts since a January move from Derby and is 14/1 (15.0) to grab the first goal.

Crawley are struggling for goals – they have managed just two in their last five league games – and need Sanchez Watt to recreate the form that saw him bag a brace against Cheltenham earlier this year. Watt is 8/1 (9.0) to open the scoring.

In the other markets, Crawley’s lack of firepower could encourage people to back a Southend clean sheet at 2/1 (3.0).

And with Southend games featuring fewer than three goals in each of their last four matches, backing under 2.5 goals at 10/11 (1.91) with William Hill appears profitable.

Given Crawley’s recent struggles, a Southend win is the Bet of the Day and, with the visitors unlikely to net in a low-scoring contest, backing a 2-0 home win at 12/1 (13.0) looks to be the Value Bet.

Bet of the Day

Southend to win at 13/8 (2.63) with William Hill
Southend to win 2-0 at 12/1 (13.0) with William Hill

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on Twitter