Beginning a series of Englsih football betting previews for the coming season with the lower leagues, one and two
Peterborough United to win League One 12-1 each way (1/4 1,2,3) Ladbrokes
Newcomers to the League
Relegated from Championship: Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley, Yeovil Town
Promoted from League Two: Chesterfield, Scunthorpe United, Rochdale, Fleetwood Town
Sheffield United have been installed as favourites to claim the League One title at 6/1 and they are joined at the head of the betting by Bristol City and Preston North End.
Wolves, Brentford and Rotherham United went up last term and with no huge budgets coming down from the Championship this time the betting market has a more open look than in recent years
Sheffield United’s favouritism is understandable, as they only just missed out on the play-offs last season having been in the relegation places when Nigel Clough arrived, and also reached the FA Cup semi-final.
There has been money for Bristol City this summer as Steve Cotterill sets about building a squad capable of challenging for promotion and there is little doubt that Sam Baldock is one of the outstanding forwards in the division.
Meanwhile Preston North End missed out in the play-offs last year and should finish in the top six this time.
However this is an open competitive division and prefer the value on offer in Peterborough United at 12-1 with Ladbrokes, each way 1/4 the odds top 3. Peterborough made the play-offs last season and only periods of inconsistency prevented a higher finish. Importantly, for this level, they are ful of goals with Britt Assombolonga and Conor Washington up front and they are prompted by a talented (Nicky Ajose) and experience (Grant McCann) midfield, with an ambitious chairman who will fund reinforcements if necessary. They are my idea of the value to oppose the top three.
Outsiders worth looking at in markets like top six finish are Fleetwood Town (a fast developing club who could continue to rise through the divisions with good funding available) and Notts County who have been substantially re-shaped in the summer. Fleetwood are widely available at 5/2 and Notts County 7-1 for that top six finish
Newcomers to the League
Relegated from Division One Tranmere Rovers, Hartlepool United, Shrewsbury Town, Carlisle United
Promoted from the Conference Luton Town, Cambridge United
Potential big guns Portsmouth, rebuilding after severe financial problems over the last five years, head the league two market for the upcoming season at 8-1 ahead of Bury (who have invested heavily in their squad) and Luton Town (at last back in the league, and considered possibilities for back to back promotions). However at under 10-1 none look to provide much value in an ultra-competitive division in which the likes of Southend United, Burton Abion and York City will challenge them closely
My idea of value here is another side. In their first season back in the league last year Newport County finished 14th with 58 points. This though hides a much better trend than this. At the end of February the side was 7th, haivng been in or around the play-offs since October onwards
At that point they were severely hampered by their groundshare at Rodney Parade, which they share with Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC, and the pitch was unplayable for weeks. A raft of postponements left them playing three times a week from March onwards and their form fell away
If we leave the pitch aside for a minute this is a team with a significant home advantage. It is a a tough place to go, an open ground with passionate fans playing a style with 5-3-2/wing backs and a lot of pace that a lot of League 2 does not play/counter very well.
This time round there has been work on the pitch, to help drainage. Its a delicate one as you want the games played but you don’t want teams to turn up and see a bowling green. It is after all a rugby pitch so its still going to be tough for opponents to go to. With a year in the league, a slightly larger squad and a style that plays well in league two i think Newport are going to be right up there this time round helped by already having a 15 goal striker from last season in Zebrowski, now complemented by Rene Howe.
Newport County are available at 33-1 each-way (1/4 the odds 1,2,3) with William Hill, or 7/1 promotion with the same firm which gives you the play-offs and a finish down to seventh in the league to go at for the bet