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Bolton v Barnsley: Prediction, Tips and Odds

Bolton host Barnsley in Tuesday's League One play-off semi-final second leg and the Racing Post's James Milton has picked out his three best bets for the crucial clash.

The Trotters, who finished third in the regular-season standings, took a big step towards the play-off final with a 3-1 first-leg victory at Oakwell, so they should be confident of booking their place at Wembley in front of their home fans.

Bolton v Barnsley

Bolton v Barnsley betting tips and predictions

Bolton to win & over 2.5 goals - 7/5

The EFL play-offs are often described as a lottery, but the first leg of Bolton's semi-final tie against Barnsley franked the form of the league table.

Bolton ran out 3-1 winners at Oakwell, having finished 11 points clear of Barnsley over the course of the 46-match campaign, while the troubled Tykes have won only one of their last 10 matches.

Their dismal form prompted the sacking of manager Neill Collins just before they scraped into the play-offs and interim boss Martin Devaney faces a huge task to overturn a two-goal deficit at Bolton.

The Trotters were good value for their first-leg win, although there was an element of fortune about their third goal as Randell Williams scored direct from a corner in injury-time.

Northern Ireland striker Dion Charles claimed the first two and his return to form spells trouble for Barnsley, who were relieved to see a Ricardo Santos header ruled out for offside when the score was 2-0.

The Tykes will have to take risks if they are to pull off a comeback and Bolton have the class to take advantage, as their well-worked opening goal in the first leg demonstrated.

Backing the Trotters to win a game featuring over 2.5 goals could prove profitable. Barnsley lost their last four away matches in the regular season, going down 2-1 at Charlton and Stevenage before 3-2 defeats to champions Portsmouth and Blackpool.

Both teams have scored in Barnsley's last eight games, including the first leg, so another open contest is expected on Tuesday.

The Tykes' regular season meetings with Bolton ended 1-1 and 2-2, but they lost eight of their other 12 games against top-eight clubs and seven of those defeats featured over 2.5 goals.

Eoin Toal anytime goalscorer - 7/1

Barnsley conceded an injury-time equaliser from a dead-ball situation against Northampton on the final day and they also looked vulnerable defending set-pieces in the play-off semi-final first leg.

The offside flag saved them when Bolton captain Santos headed in a corner and his fellow centre-back Eoin Toal is worth a bet to score at any time on Tuesday.

Toal is one of the main aerial targets for Bolton's set-pieces and he scored four goals in 40 regular-season starts in League One this season.

The Northern Irishman had six attempts at goal in his last four appearances before the play-offs, including games against champions Portsmouth and fourth-placed Peterborough, and he also had a shot in this season's first two meetings with Barnsley.

The Tykes were punished for their defensive uncertainty at Oakwell, where Williams's late corner went straight in, and Blackpool's James Husband headed in a free-kick in their last away game.

Both teams to score in 1st half - 3/1

There was nothing cagey about the first leg and, with Barnsley needing to chase the tie, there may well be a lively first half on Tuesday.

Only Peterborough (89) scored more regular-season goals than Bolton's 86 and Barnsley's 82 so the odds about both teams scoring in the first half are appealing.

It was a winning bet in three of Bolton's last six regular-season games and the Trotters also scored twice in the first eight minutes of their 3-3 final-day draw at Posh.

Four of Barnsley's last six matches before the play-offs featured goals at both ends in the first half, including their away trips to Charlton, Stevenage and Portsmouth, and Devaney's side must be positive if they are to keep their promotion dream alive.

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Bolton v Barnsley odds

Bolton - 4/6
Draw -
Barnsley -

View the full market and more odds for Bolton v Barnsley on site

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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