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The Railwaymen head into this game on the back of a remarkable unbeaten run but Adam Bate thinks they may have to settle for a draw against Paul Sturrock's Shrimpers

The curious thing about the League Two play-offs is that a team finishing seventh in the table can be just three games away from promotion.

Sometimes that can mean a side that has had a fairly average season is on the verge of glory.

But in this instance, when seventh-place Crewe host Southend in their play-off semi-final first leg at Gresty Road, that team is in fine form.

The Railwaymen are unbeaten in a remarkable 16 games and haven’t lost in front of their own fans since January 2.

Crewe are 11/8 (2.38) with Paddy Power to win on the night and 11/10 (2.1) to progress to the final.

There is very little wrong with the form of Southend either.

The Shrimpers won their final three games of the regular season to overhaul Torquay and very nearly pip Crawley to automatic promotion.

Southend are 15/8 (2.88) underdogs to win the first leg but are 4/6 (1.67) favourites with Paddy Power to be victorious over two legs.

The draw on the night is available at 23/10 (3.3) and that’s a tempting pick in this one. Crewe have had a staggering nine 1-1 draws this season, including six of their last 14 games.

Expect this one to be a close contest so the price of 5/1 (6.0) with Paddy Power for backing a goal apiece here is the Value Bet choice.

If you fancy a bet on who will find those goals, consider the fact that Crewe’s teenage star Nick Powell has eight in his last 13 games and can be backed at 11/2 (6.5) to net first here. Powell has become a hot property in League Two and a goal here could further cement his claim for a move up the footballing ladder.

For Southend, controversial figure Bilel Moshni has five goals in his last seven matches, including a hat-trick against Barnet, and has the character for the big occasion.

Moshni, now operating on the right flank, is available at 13/2 (7.5) to score first. But for the pick of the bets it has to be tipping under 2.5 goals in this one.

10 of Crewe’s last 14 games have featured two goals or fewer, while that’s true of 12 of Southend’s last 16 matches.

When you also consider that the score finished 1-0 (to Southend) last time these two met, backing under 2.5 goals at a chunky 5/6 (1.83) with Paddy Power is the way to go.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Under 2.5 goals at 5/6 (1.83) with Paddy Power
1-1 draw at 5/1 (6.0) with Paddy Power

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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

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