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: 7th February 2020
Red Football Shirt Numbered One

The title race in EFL League One is wide open, as only six points separates the top six at the time of writing and even teams further down the table will feel they have a chance given many have between one and three games in hand on some of those sides above them.

Paul Warne’s Rotherham United know all about promotion to the EFL Championship, and the Millers currently lead the way at the top of the division. They have been a yo-yo side for a number of years now and they certainly know what it takes to get out of this league. Wycombe Wanderers are second, while Peterborough United currently sit third but, as said, the title race really is wide open, especially with teams having played between 27 and 30 games at the time of writing. Let’s take a closer look at the three market leaders.

Rotherham United – 2/1 (4/7 To Be Promoted)

Rotherham made a sluggish start to the season, winning just three of their opening nine, but the Millers have been in stunning form of late. Ahead of their upcoming clash with Lincoln City, United have won seven of their past eight, moving three points clear at the top. The Millers are odds-on to be promoted (4/7), but they will have their hearts set on winning the title (2/1).

Coventry City – 9/2 (6/5 To Be Promoted)

Mark Robins has done a phenomenal job at Coventry City since arriving in the West Midlands. The Sky Blues are going through plenty of turmoil off the field – sharing Birmingham City’s ground this season – but they have picked up an impressive 48 points thus far. They are down in fifth but have played two fewer games than Rotherham so could go top if they won both. The Sky Blues brought in Ryan Giles from Wolverhampton Wanderers in January to bolster the squad, and Coventry are the second favourites to win the League One title at 9/2.

Portsmouth – 5/1 (5/4 To Be Promoted)

Portsmouth missed out on promotion in the play-offs last season, but Kenny Jackett’s boys were one of the title favourites before a ball was kicked this term. They made a relatively slow start but are starting to justify those pre-season prices. Pompey have been firing lately, and the former Premier League club are available at 5/1 to win the title. They are currently sixth, but like Coventry have played just 27 games, and would move level with the Millers if they took six points from their two games in hand. They could yet win the title but to our eyes there’s better value in 5/4 for Portsmouth to be promoted. The capture of Cameron McGeehan in January was a coup, and Portsmouth are certainly in with an excellent chance of going up this term.

Who Will Be Promoted To The Championship?

Last Updated: 7th February 2020
Footballer Taking Goal Kick

Several League One clubs will still fancy their chances of gaining promotion to the Championship come the end of the season. Portsmouth currently occupy the final play-off place, but only six points separates sixth to 11th in the third tier. Which four teams will contest the League One play-offs in May and who will have enough to book their place in the Championship?

Ipswich Town – 9/4 (4/7 Top 6 Finish)

Ipswich Town wanted the title but getting back to the Championship by any means necessary is the Tractor Boys’ main ambition this season. Paul Lambert’s men made a strong start, though they have certainly tailed off in recent months. Currently fourth with 48 points, many of the teams just beneath them have one, or even two games in hand. Only Joshua Earl arrived from Preston North End in January, but Ipswich will be hoping to have enough in the locker to get over the line and they certainly have a manager who knows how to get a side promoted.

Peterborough United – 9/4 (8/15 Top 6 Finish)

Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough United have got back on track after a poor run of results over the festive period. The Posh have moved back into third after four successive wins but having played 30 games all their rivals could yet make up ground on them. Like Ipswich, Peterborough are currently priced at just 9/4 to be promoted. United paid Barnet £500k for Jack Taylor’s services in January, and Ferguson and United know everything about promotion to the Championship. The manager has been with the club on and off for a long time now and the board will be hoping that continuity will pay he can guide them up once again.

Oxford United – 2/1 (1/2 Top 6 Finish)

Karl Robinson has been around the EFL for quite some time now, and the 39-year-old certainly deserves another crack at the Championship. Oxford United have had a good season in the third tier, although they are currently outside of the play-off spots in eighth place and not in the best of form right now either. The Yellows lost Shandon Baptiste and Tariqe Fosu to Brentford in January, while Jordan Archer also left for the Championship (Fulham). Robert Atkinson, Marcus Browne and Nathan Holland arrived in the other direction but may take time to settle in. Oxford are available at 1/2 for a top six finish and 2/1 for promotion but we fancy they may just come up short.

Sunderland – 2/1 (4/6 Top 6 Finish)

Sunderland suffered play-off final heartbreak last season, losing to Charlton Athletic in dramatic fashion at Wembley Stadium. The Black Cats never really recovered at the start of this campaign, and Jack Ross was sacked in October. New boss Phil Parkinson has had a mixed bag of results since taking over at the Stadium of Light, but they have steamrolled their way up the table since the turn of the year. Will the January signings of Declan John, Kyle Lafferty, Bailey Wright and Josh Scowen get them over the line this time around? Sunderland are surely far too big for this division but they may have to wait until next term for a real promotion push.

Wycombe Wanderers – 6/1 (5/4 Top 6 Finish)

Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers could be spoilers in the League One promotion race this season. Despite the Chairboys sitting second at the time of writing, the bookies are still pricing them at 6/1 to be promoted, which are very generous odds. They had a quiet January, but can Wycombe prove everyone wrong and book their place in next season’s Championship? 6/1 for them to go up really does look like good value, despite their relatively small budget.

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 7th February 2020
Footballer Losing and Covering Face

Due to a points deduction and picking up just five wins from 26 matches, Bolton Wanderers are nailed on to finish bottom of League One. However, who will join the Trotters in EFL League Two next term? The likes of Southend United, Tranmere Rovers and Wimbledon are fighting for their League One lives. It’s set to be a thrilling battle for survival in the third tier, although not quite so thrilling for the sides that don’t quite make it.

Bolton Wanderers – 1/100

It’s been a miserable last few years at the University of Bolton Stadium. Wanderers were a Premier League club not so long ago, but they are now heading for the bottom tier of English football. Bolton are rock bottom of League One, 17 points away from safety. The bookies have Keith Hill’s boys priced at 1/100 for the drop and the scary thing for Trotters fans is that 100/1-on might actually even be a decent bet!

Southend United – 1/50

Another team that look doomed already and are very, very big favourites for the drop is Southend, who have also had an abysmal season so far. The Essex club have picked up a mere three wins from 28 games, losing 18 of the other 25. Sol Campbell’s Shrimpers are already preparing for life in League Two, with no new players coming in, while the popular Simon Cox was allowed to leave in January. You can get Southend at just 1/50 to be relegated.

Tranmere Rovers – 2/7

We have a third side priced at very short odds-on for the drop and whilst Tranmere will be desperate to avoid an instant return to League Two, Micky Mellon’s troops have their work cut out this term. Losing the prolific James Norwood to Ipswich Town in the summer was a huge blow, and Rovers have failed to replace his goals. Veteran James Vaughan arrived on loan recently, and the Tranmere faithful will be hoping he can fire them to safety but his best days are surely behind him, even, perhaps, at this level.

Wimbledon – 7/2

Wimbledon hover just above the bottom three at the moment. They are six points clear, but the Dons will be fully aware that they are not out of the woods just yet. Wimbledon have lost 14 times already, and they have some tough games on the horizon. Nevertheless, they will fancy their chances of staying up this season and their goal difference is vastly superior to Rovers which should be worth another point if things do get close.

Rochdale – 10/1

Rochdale are currently 10 points clear of Tranmere, but Brian Barry-Murphy’s men still have work to do and they won’t feel safe just yet. Matthew Lund and Tyler Smith arrived in January, with Luke Matheson and Ryan Delaney heading in the opposite direction. In truth, Rochdale, who are priced at 10/1 for the drop, should have more than enough to survive but if you want a big-odds relegation bet they might just be worth a small punt.

League One Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 7th February 2020
Football in Back of Net

With Tyler Walker moving back to parent club Nottingham Forest after an incredibly successful loan spell at Lincoln City, Ivan Toney is out on his own at the top of the scoring charts at present. The Peterborough man has 19 goals to his name, six more than his closest challengers. Will anyone be able to stop Toney from winning the League One Golden Boot?

Ivan Toney (Peterborough United) – 2/5

Ivan Toney’s goals could fire Peterborough to promotion at the end of the season. The former Newcastle United man has netted 19 times already, with six of those coming in 2020. Toney will take some stopping, and the bookies have the 23-year-old priced at just 2/5 to finish on top of the pile. That’s a short price but his lead and form mean it really does look like superb value.

Paddy Madden (Fleetwood Town) – 10/1

Fleetwood Town’s Paddy Madden has helped himself to 13 goals this season. However, after a stunning start to his campaign, Madden’s goals have dried up lately. The Republic of Ireland man has failed to score since netting in 3-2 win at Rochdale on Boxing Day. Madden’s dry spell has coincided with Fleetwood’s dip in form. Can the 29-year-old get back on track for the remainder of the season and help get his side moving back up the table?

Ian Henderson (Rochdale) – 11/1

Where would Rochdale be without Ian Henderson? The veteran has scored 13 of Rochdale’s 34 league goals this season. The Dale are fighting for their lives, but Henderson has more than done his bit. The former Norwich City man has scored three in his last four appearances for Rochdale and if he can continue in that vein he will fire his side to safety and may just get himself into the race for the Golden Boot. Henderson is priced at 11/1.

Mohamed Eisa (Peterborough United) – 16/1

Mohamed Eisa has made a big impact at Peterborough since arriving from Bristol City in the summer. The Sudan star has struck up an excellent partnership with fellow striker Toney, with the pair scoring 32 League One goals between them. Eisa is six goals behind Toney, but 16/1 is a very tempting price and may be worth a small interest.

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.


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.