Carlow head Lonesharkoy National League Football Week 3 bets
Their efforts may have been fruitless so far, but Cavan footballers have certainly exceeded expectations so far in Division One. Their narrow defeat to Galway in round one was largely down to their failure to convert territory and possession into scores before the break, followed by three second half black cards – nobody walking out of Pearse Stadium that day felt that the home side were significantly the better team.
Last week they took on Kerry and looked like they might take something out of the game for long stretches, before fading after Dara McVeety was withdrawn due to a shoulder injury.
McVeety’s value to this Cavan team cannot be overstated – so we’re going to stop short of recommending a bet on their game against Mayo on Saturday in the absence of confirmation regarding the Crosserlough man’s fitness. However keep this game on your radar, and if the team captain starts, Cavan plus five points at 6/5 with Boylesports is a cracking bet. Mayo were very good last weekend, but Tyrone’s lack of attacking edge was also a significant factor – and even though they edged out Roscommon, it’s still too early to say that Mayo have addressed their poor home form.
That leads us onto the Division One bet that we’re very happy to recommend – under 29.5 total points between Roscommon and Tyrone, 5/6 with Paddy Power Betfair. Tyrone are now the lowest scoring team in the country across all four divisions, and nothing that we’ve seen from Roscommon so far this year would suggest that they’ll get things easy at the Hyde on Sunday. Anthony Cunningham has quickly addressed the defensive shortfalls that haunted Kevin McStay in his time at the helm of the Rossies, and with the three Daly brothers in superb form across the defence and a much-improved overall structure, they are a transformed side. The memory of last year’s filleting at Croke Park when they conceded 4-24 to Mickey Harte’s men no doubt looms large in the memory, so for Roscommon, proving that they can defend like the big boys will be a huge focal point this week. Expect a spiky, dour encounter with neither attacking unit getting a clean foothold.
Conor Cox’s introduction to the attack has added something to the Connacht county, but we’re still talking about a team that doesn’t have Diarmuid Murtagh, Ciaráin Murtagh or Fintan Cregg from last year’s forward line available for selection – and depending on his injury status, Conor Deveney might also be on that list. Add in that centre forward Ultan Harney may miss this game through injury, and it looks even more likely that a 1-10 to 0-11 type game is in store on Sunday.
Looking further down the divisions, Carlow at 8/11 to beat Longford (Betway) is the standout price. So far Carlow have filleted Sligo and performed well against Westmeath at Mullingar, only to be reeled in late on and have to settle for a draw. Longford – in the absence of their Mullinalaghta contingent – beat Louth in what has been described as an awful game, and then played out another dreadfully toothless encounter against Offaly last week. 8/11 about the home side implies two teams that are broadly even in overall ability, but even if Longford were at full strength, they would probably be just about on the same level as Carlow, and right now they are a long way from full strength.
This column still believes that Westmeath are the best team in the division, given Down’s huge level of player turnover, and it could be argued that Carlow are as likely as any other team to fill the second promotion spot. Laois might just edge them out despite dropping two points thanks to a dreadful start against Louth last week, but right now we’d back both of those sides to finish ahead of Longford, who last week were only fielded six outfielders out of the 14 that started their last game in the 2018 championship against Kildare.