League One Betting Tips

League One is the second tier of the English Football League and the third tier overall in England. It’s been about since 2004, but it’s roots date back as far as 1920, where it was and often still is, referred to as the old Division 3.

The league is another that is vastly competitive and over the years has been the scene to some of the best matches in the English Football League. It’s been able to host some massive teams, including former Premier League winners, former FA Cup and League cup winners, as well as former European Champions.

Who Will Win League One?

Last Updated: 9th September 2019
Red Football Shirt Numbered One

There are a number of huge clubs participating in EFL League One this season, and we should be in for a fascinating battle for the title. The likes of Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Portsmouth will be gunning for the championship trophy this term, but there are also several other sides who will fancy their chances of finishing in top spot. Which club will be crowned 2019-20 League One champions in May to earn their place in the second tier?

Sunderland – 9/2

After suffering heartbreak in the play-off final last season, Jack Ross and his Sunderland team will be looking to avoid the play-offs altogether this time around. The Black Cats, who are the 9/2 title favourites at present, have one of the strongest squads in the third tier, with the likes of George Dobson, Conor McLaughlin and Laurens De Bock arriving in the summer. However, several popular faces also left the Stadium of Light, including George Honeyman and Lee Cattermole.

The Sunderland supporters have had to endure a number of years of hurt lately, going from an established club in the Premier League to the third tier of England football in no time at all and struggling to bounce back as quickly as the fans would have liked.

They have vast resources and huge support compared to many of the teams they face in the third tier but for a variety of reasons they just couldn’t quite secure promotion last term. However, they are certainly heading in the right direction under Ross. The Black Cats have made a decent start to their season, but can they finish as League One champions?

Ipswich Town – 5/1

Ipswich’s long stay in the EFL Championship came to an end last season. The Tractor Boys did it in style, of a sort, and had a campaign to forget in the second tier, finishing rock bottom on 31 points. Along the way, Town won a mere five games, drew 16 and lost a staggering 25.

However, in Paul Lambert, Ipswich have one of the most experienced bosses around in League One. The 50-year-old has seen a lot during his managerial career, managing the likes of Norwich City, Aston Villa and Stoke City in the Premier League. Ipswich brought in goal machine James Norwood from Tranmere Rovers and he could well fire them to promotion this season. He has hit the ground running to prove he can definitely do it at this level and Town are currently priced at 5/1 to win the league.

Portsmouth – 6/1

Portsmouth also suffered heartbreak in the League One play-offs last term, losing to Sunderland over two legs in the semi-finals. However, they are expected to be there or thereabouts in the race for the title this season, with the bookies pricing them at odds of just 6/1 to finish at the top.

Kenny Jackett, who guided Pompey to fourth place last season, is a top manager at this level. However, Portsmouth have made a slow start to this campaign, winning just one league match at the time of writing. The south coast outfit made some solid signings over the summer, with John Marquis arriving from Doncaster Rovers, and Ross McCrorie moving to Fratton Park from Rangers. If Pompey can start putting some points on the board, they could be a real threat in this season’s title race and we certainly expect them to start moving up the table very soon.

Who Will Be Promoted To The Championship?

Last Updated: 9th September 2019
Footballer Taking Goal Kick

The battle for the play-offs could go down to the wire with a number of clubs likely to be in the mix in the final games of the season. Last term, Doncaster pipped Peterborough United to sixth place on the final day of the campaign and we could well see similar drama once again. Donny joined the likes of Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth and Sunderland in the play-offs.

It was Charlton that ultimately won the play-off final in dramatic fashion, beating the Black Cats 2-1 at Wembley Stadium, with Patrick Bauer scoring in injury time. Expect to see plenty more fireworks in the play-offs this season. The odds listed below are for a top six finish and promotion respectively.

Peterborough United – 3/1 (Evens top 6 finish)

Peterborough missed out on the top six by a whisker last season. Despite winning five of their last eight, the Posh finished one point outside of the play-off places. Still, Darren Ferguson’s men mean business this season, and the signings of George Boyd, Niall Mason and Frankie Kent have certainly bolstered their squad. Peterborough will be hoping to be in the promotion mix, and the bookies have them priced at evens to finish in the top six and a much more substantial 3/1 for promotion.

Rotherham United – 7/2 (11/10 top 6 finish)

South Yorkshire yo-yo specialists Rotherham United dropped out of the Championship last season. They have changed division a staggering 14 times over the past 32 seasons, including three promotions and two relegations since 2013.

Paul Warne’s men gave it a real go in the second tier last term, but the step up proved to be too big for the Yorkshire club. United picked up just eight league wins all campaign, going on to finish four points from safety. Rotherham will be hoping to be one of the big hitters in League One this term, and they are available at 11/10 for a top six finish. Meanwhile, you can get the Millers from the New York Stadium at 7/2 for promotion and they certainly know what is needed to get out of this division.

Burton Albion – 4/1 (11/8 top 6 finish)

Burton Albion reached the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup last season, but their form in League One was pretty poor. Nigel Clough’s side won 17, lost 17 and drew 12 to finish in ninth spot, 10 points adrift of the play-offs. Burton, who are priced at 4/1 for promotion, will be looking for a far better season this time around. At this moment in time, the Brewers are available at 11/8 to finish in the play-offs and that certainly seems like a very realistic ambition if they can produce their best football a little more consistently.

Coventry City – 7/2 (6/4 top 6 finish)

Despite plenty of off-field issues, Coventry City have made a stunning start to their season. The Sky Blues are playing their home games at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium these days, winning four out of four at their temporary home in League One at the time of writing. Mark Robins’ side currently sit joint top of the table with Wycombe Wanderers after seven games. It is still very early days and whether or not City can sustain a promotion challenge remains to be seen, but Robins’ men are available at 6/4 for a top six finish and 7/2 for promotion.

Lincoln City – 4/1 (5/4 top 6 finish)

Danny Cowley has done a terrific job at Sincil Bank in recent years. Just a few seasons ago, Lincoln City were plying their trade in the National League. Fast forward a few years and now the Imps are one of the favourites for promotion to the Championship. City were superb in EFL League Two last season, winning the division by six points.

Cowley has been very shrewd in the transfer market, and the bookies are pricing Lincoln at 5/4 to finish in the play-offs. Meanwhile, you can get them at 4/1 to secure back-to-back promotions. With Cowley at the helm they recently pushed Everton hard for a long time in the Carabao Cup and the Imps are more than capable of putting their name in the promotion picture this season.

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 9th September 2019
Footballer Losing and Covering Face

After the sad demise of Bury, there are only three relegation spots to avoid in League One this season. It looks like being a bad time for Lancashire sides with great histories as Bolton Wanderers look nailed on after a points deduction, while Southend United have yet to pick up a point so far. The survival fight in League One is always captivating, with this season’s battle set to be no different. Can Bolton pull off the great escape? Can Southend and Wimbledon turn their fortunes around? Which three clubs will drop down to the fourth tier of English football for next season?

Bolton Wanderers – 1/6

Bolton started this season with a huge 12 points deduction. The club, who were not long ago a Premier League outfit, are still in turmoil. Keith Hill has been forced to play youth players at the start of this season, and Wanderers have begun their league campaign with one draw and five defeats, scoring none and conceding a whopping 17 goals. The bookies are being kind by offering 1/6 for Bolton to be relegated and for the big hitters that may even offer a slice of value.

Southend United – 4/6

Southend are the only team in League One yet to pick up a point this season. The Shrimpers survived by the skin of their teeth last term, with only goal difference keeping them in the division. Having started this campaign with six defeats out of six, Southend could need another miracle this season. The bookies have United priced at 4/6 for the drop and once again that looks on the big side to us, even if there is a long way still to go.

Wimbledon – 13/10

Wally Downes pulled off a survival miracle at Wimbledon last season, and he might need to produce something similar this time around. The Dons are punching above their weight in the third tier, and they have made a sluggish start to this season. Wimbledon, who have yet to win a game in any competition so far, are available at 13/10 to be relegated.

Accrington Stanley – 3/1

Accrington Stanley have won just one of their opening six league matches so far. Stanley had a decent season in League One last time around, finishing in 14th place. However, the bookies have them priced at 3/1 for the drop. John Coleman chopped and changed the squad over the summer, but letting several players leave the Crown Ground could turn out to be the wrong decision. It’s likely to be a long, hard season for Accrington and some may feel that 3/1 is worth a small interest.

Tranmere Rovers – 10/3

Tranmere Rovers have been on the up in recent years and it wasn’t all that long ago that they were not even in the Football League. After booking their place in League One through the League Two play-off route last season, staying in the third tier will be number one priority for Micky Mellon and his boys. Tranmere, who are priced at 10/3 for the drop, may have lost James Norwood in the summer, but the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Jordan Ponticelli and Jacob Maddox have all arrived for fees. Rovers should have enough to keep themselves up this term, with their experienced and talented manager continually proving his worth in the lower leagues.

Gillingham – 5/1

Gillingham flirted with relegation last season, but a decent second half of the campaign saw them finish in a respectable 13th place. However, the Gills were only five points above the drop zone and alarm bells will surely be ringing. Like many clubs, staying in League One will be Gillingham’s main aim this term. If you fancy them to drop out of the third tier, though, check out the solid odds of 5/1.

Rochdale – 5/1

Also at odds of 5/1 for relegation are Brian Barry-Murphy’s Rochdale. The Dale finished just four points above the drop zone last season, but the club from Greater Manchester have made a solid enough start to this year’s campaign. Rochdale did enough last time, and they should stay up this season but it seems unlikely to be by all that much.

League One Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 9th September 2019
Football in Back of Net

The race for the Golden Boot in League One could be thrilling this season and certainly offers some interesting betting opportunities. This may be the third tier of English football, but there’s no shortage of top-quality strikers in the league. As mentioned, James Norwood has hit the ground running at Ipswich, scoring five times in six league games thus far, while Fleetwood Town’s Paddy Madden has also netted five goals at the time of writing. Who will finish at the top of the scoring charts come May. Here are the men most likely …

James Norwood (Ipswich Town) – 9/2

Norwood scored goals for fun during his time at Tranmere, which is why Paul Lambert acted quickly to bring the striker to Portman Road. The 29-year-old is at the peak of his career but still has ambitions to play at a higher level and has hit the ground running in Suffolk, scoring five League One goals already. The Ipswich No. 10 is the 9/2 favourite to win the Golden Boot, and he’s certainly our pick.

Mohamed Eisa (Peterborough United) – 9/1

Mohamed Eisa made the switch to London Road from Bristol City for a club-record fee. Peterborough have spent big money on the 25-year-old, and the Sudan star has netted four League One goals already. Eisa is available at the very generous price of 9/1 to finish as the league’s top scorer this season.

Ivan Toney (Peterborough United) – 10/1

Peterborough are blessed with quality strikers these days, as Ivan Toney has also been tipped to have a fine season in front of goal at London Road. The former Newcastle United man has found the net on four occasions so far this season. You can get Toney at big odds of 10/1 if you fancy him to pip his partner to the Golden Boot.

Tyler Walker (Lincoln City) – 12/1

Nottingham Forest’s Tyler Walker has been sent out on loan on numerous occasions, with the 22-year-old now at Lincoln. Walker scored 22 goals for Mansfield Town last term, and he’s already netted four League One goals for the Imps. At 12/1, Walker could be worth having a punt on this season, with his impressive manager sure to get the very best out of him.

John Marquis (Portsmouth) – 14/1

John Marquis was one of the leading scorers in League One last season, helping himself to 21 goals for Doncaster. Marquis made the move to Fratton Park in the summer, but he’s netted just one League One goal for Portsmouth so far. Nevertheless, Marquis is a real handful for defenders at this level, and the bookies have him priced at 14/1 to win the Golden Boot.

It’s probably fair to say that the league is still pretty young, given that it’s only been around since 2004. Whilst the origins do date back to that of 1920, it’s now has a very different feel to it than it once did, with more money being involved and bigger teams representing the league as they work down the pyramid scheme of English football.

League One is often thought of as being a strong platform for young players to apply their trade. It’s included the likes of Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli in more recent years, with it offering up a great base for clubs to nurture this sort of talent through their ranks.

The league also gets a number of Premier League players, mainly younger players, within the loan system. Whilst clubs look to get these players to as high a standard as possible, it’s a credit to the league that they are happy for them to play for League One clubs in order to find experience to develop their career.

As the league is owned and run by the English Football League (EFL), it’s incorporated into the deal that was sing with Sky Bet in terms of sponsorship, making the official name that of Sky Bet League One.

Format

The league is made up of 24 teams in total and over the course of the season they play each other twice, both home and away. The format is pretty straight forward in that teams are awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and no points if they lose.

Rankings are based on the total number of points each team has. If they are tied then it goes to goal difference, goals scored and then head to head record with that other team, if needed.

There are three teams that can get promoted each season. First place will be crowned the League One Champions, and they will gain automatic promotion along with second place. The final place is made up of the League One play-offs. This includes teams ranked from 3rd to 6th in the league.

The play-offs take place at the end of the season and for many involved, are the highlight of the season. The format includes two semi-finals, where 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th. These games are over two legs, playing one at home, then the other away. The aggregate scores over the two legs will determine who goes through. Extra time and penalties can be used after the second leg should the scores be tied.

The final then takes place at Wembley stadium. It’s a winner-take-all game and if the scores are tied after 90 minutes, extra time and penalties will be used if needed.

Whilst the promotion and play off structure is very similar of that of the Championship and League 2, it works a little differently at the other end of the table. Whereas other leagues will offer up three relegation spots, League One offer up four relegation spots, with 4 teams being promoted from League 2.

TV Coverage

The league gets the majority of its exposure from Sky Sports, who are associated with the main sponsor, Sky Bet. There are a number of games that are shown throughout the course of a season live and also the highlights package on programs such as Sky Sports News.

The previous winners of the highlights package for terrestrial TV was that of Channel 5. But, in 2018 they withdrew their offer to renew their contract, with Quest TV picking it up instead in a bold move for the new channel. Internationally, the league is tied with the likes of TV4 Sport in Sweden, Setanta Sports Australia and beIN Sports, who have a massive global following.

Prize Money

As you can imagine, the gulf between prize money between League 1 and the Championship is highly significant. In total, each team in League One is paid £732,000 as a basic award and a solidarity payment of £675,000, making a grand total of £1,407,000. In the grand scheme of football, not a huge amount of money by any means.

If teams were to be promoted, they would see their overall numbers grow to that of £6,700,000 per season, almost 5 times as much money.

On top of this basic package, League One teams can earn up to £30,000 for hosting a game live on Sky Sports, with the away team for that match getting £10,000. But, live games are very few and far between, so these numbers barely come into consideration for most teams.

The History of League One

Whilst the league has been around since 2004 in its current form, the old Division 3 dates as far back as 1920. In that time, it’s become an integral part of the English Football Leagues heritage and has included some of the best teams to have played in the country, even though it’s the third tier.

The league has been referred to as the “graveyard” of English football, often with teams who land in, struggle to get out. Walsall are a great example of this and have been in the league since 2006/07 season. Other former Premier League clubs to have played in the league include Barnsley, Blackpool, Bradford city, Charlton Athletic, Co entry City, Portsmouth and most recently, Sunderland.