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: 12th July 2019
Red Football Shirt Numbered One

There are several huge clubs in this season’s EFL League One, with the likes of Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Portsmouth all gunning for promotion back to the EFL Championship. With Burton Albion, Peterborough United and Rotherham United – plus a number of others – also in the division, get ready for what promises to be another captivating League One season.

Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton Athletic were the three promoted teams from the third tier last term. Ipswich, Rotherham and Bolton Wanderers have taken their places after being relegated from the Championship. Meanwhile, Lincoln City, Bury and MK Dons were promoted from EFL League Two. Survival will be their number one aim but can any possibly achieve more than that and get themselves involved at the other end of the table?

Sunderland – 4/1

Jack Ross’ Sunderland missed out on promotion to the Championship last season by a whisker. The Blacks Cats finished in fifth place on 85 points, six points behind the automatic places. In the play-offs, the Mackems beat Portsmouth in the semis before narrowly losing to Charlton at Wembley.

Sunderland have a very strong team at this level and they are clearly too big a side for the third tier, which is why the bookies have them as 4/1 favourites to win the title. The signings of Conor McLaughlin and Lee Burge will bolster the squad, and we can see the Blacks Cats having a very good season in League One. They are our pick for the title and 4/1 looks more than fair given their resources.

Ipswich Town – 7/1

Ipswich’s long stay in the Championship came to an end last season, as the Tractor Boys finished rock bottom on just 31 points. It was an abysmal campaign for Town, who picked up a mere five victories from 46 games and they were easily the worst side in the division.

The experienced Paul Lambert remains in charge, with the club bringing in the prolific James Norwood from Tranmere Rovers. No fewer than eight players have departed Portman Road over the summer. Ipswich will want to dust themselves down after a poor season, and the bookies have them priced at 7/1 to win the title. Will confidence still be low after the many pummellings they endured last term? That remains a possibility and so they look a shade short to us.

Portsmouth – 7/1

Portsmouth’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion, as Pompey lost to Sunderland in the League One play-off semi-finals. However, the club made excellent progress under former Millwall boss Kenny Jackett, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion. Portsmouth won 25 games and scored 83 goals in the regular season and it was an excellent campaign that should give them hope for the one ahead.

Jackett has brought in a number of new recruits to strengthen the squad, with James Bolton, Paul Downing and Ryan Williams all arriving at Fratton Park on free transfers. Meanwhile, money was spent on Ellis Harrison and Ross McCrorie. Like Ipswich, Portsmouth are also priced at 7/1 to win the League One title and of the two we think it is the south coast outfit who offer the better value.

Rotherham United – 11/1

Rotherham’s stay in the Championship lasted just one year, as the Millers were relegated from the second tier after accumulating just 40 points. Still, United put up a brave fight under Paul Warne and their recent status as a yo-yo club (they have been promoted three times and relegated twice in the last seven seasons) means they have to be fancied to go back up.

When they were last in the League One, Rotherham finished in fourth before beating Shrewsbury Town 2-1 in the play-off final. The Yorkshire club will be looking for a top six finish at the very least once again. Meanwhile, Warne’s boys are priced at 11/1 to win the division and there are certainly worse options about.

Peterborough United – 11/1

Peterborough narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season, finishing just a point behind Doncaster. Too many defeats (14) proved to be their downfall, but Posh did pick up an impressive 20 wins. Darren Ferguson’s side will be desperate to break into the top six this term and they may well have what it takes. United could have a solid season, which is why the bookies have them priced at just 11/1 to win the league.

Frankie Kent and Niall Mason have joined in the summer, with Ferguson keen on adding more faces to the squad before a ball has been kicked. Peterborough could be dark horses in the title race this season although promotion looks a more realistic aim.

Who Will Be Promoted To The Championship?

Last Updated: 12th July 2019
Footballer Taking Goal Kick

Sunderland (2/5), Ipswich (4/7) and Portsmouth (10/11) are all odds-on to finish in the top six. Meanwhile, Rotherham and Peterborough are both priced at 6/5. Out of those sides, Sunderland and Portsmouth, who are at 6/4 and 2/1 respectively, look a really good choice for promotion.

Meanwhile, Lincoln, Burton, Oxford United and MK Dons will be hoping to push for a top six position this season and very possibly promotion. Last term, Charlton, Sunderland, Portsmouth and Doncaster Rovers made the play-offs, with the Addicks beating the Black Cats 2-1 in the Wembley Stadium final. How will the promotion battle play out this year?

Lincoln City – 6/1 (5/2 Top Six Finish)

Lincoln have been on a meteoric rise over the past few seasons, gaining two promotions in three years to go from the Conference to League One. At the forefront of their success has been boss Danny Cowley, who took over in 2016. The manager has been linked with several clubs, but the 40-year-old has opted to stay at Sincil Bank for now and see how far he can take the club.

The Imps stormed their way to the League Two title last season, winning 23, drawing 16 and losing just seven of their 46 matches. Lincoln won the league by six points, seeing off Bury and MK Dons. Cowley’s troops could be a good bet for a second successive promotion at 6/1, while they are priced at 5/2 for a top six finish.

Burton Albion – 13/2 (3/1 Top Six Finish)

Burton may have reached the Carabao Cup semi-finals last season, but Albion finished in a disappointing ninth place in League One. Nigel Clough’s side, who are available at 3/1 to make the play-offs this term, will be looking to fare much better this time around and they look to have a really good shot of improving on ninth at the very least.

The Brewers have brought in Jevan Anderson from Formartine United, while, Kieran O’Hara has arrived from Manchester United. Will Burton have a successful season in League One this time around and can Clough translate one-off performances into a consistent season?

Oxford United – 7/1 (3/1 Top Six Finish)

Oxford finished in midtable last season, claiming 60 points along the way. However, in Karl Robinson, United have a very capable manager, and the Yellows should be pushing for promotion this term. At the time of writing, you can get Oxford at 3/1 to make the top six and 7/1 for promotion.

The U’s have lost skipper Curtis Nelson, who recently signed for Championship club Cardiff City. However, they have brought in Tariqe Fosu from Charlton for an undisclosed fee. It will be interesting to see if Oxford can progress under Robinson this season.

MK Dons – 7/1 (10/3 Top Six Finish)

MK Dons did not want to stick around in League Two for long, as the club gained promotion back to the third tier by finishing third in League Two. The Dons pipped Mansfield Town to the final automatic spot on the last day of the season. Like Rotherham, they have moved around the divisions a lot over the last few years, with two relegations and two promotions in the past five campaigns.

MK Dons know what it takes to get out of this division, and Paul Tisdale’s boys are priced at 7/1 to go up once again. However, we feel that there’s better value in 10/3 for the Dons to finish in the top six. The club have brought in some good players on free transfers, although they have lost Chuks Aneke to Charlton.

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 12th July 2019
Footballer Losing and Covering Face

It was a fascinating and incredibly tight fight for survival in League One last season, with Wimbledon and Southend United staying up on goal difference. Plymouth Argyle, Walsall, Scunthorpe United and Bradford City were the three relegated sides. Lincoln and MK Dons are expected to do well, but Bury and Tranmere Rovers, who were promoted alongside them last term, could find it tough going in League One.

Bury – 1/4

Bury won 22 matches on their way to second place in League Two last season. The Shakers were particularly strong at home, as they sealed an impressive 48 points at Gigg Lane. However, Paul Wilkinson’s side are the bookies’ favourites for the drop at very short odds of just 1/4.

A number of players have left the club on free transfers, with the likes of Nicky Maynard and Tom Aldred seeking pastures new. Bury are in desperate need of some new signings before the window shuts. It could be a long season for the Shakers in League One but at the odds they don’t seem worth backing and there is better value elsewhere.

Bolton Wanderers – 6/5

Bolton are back in the third tier of English football after a miserable 2018-19 Championship campaign. The Trotters survived by the skin of their teeth the season before, but they had no such luck last term. Wanderers finished in 23rd place on 32 points.

Bolton are still in turmoil off the field, and things will not be easy on the pitch in a tough League One this season. The likes of Sammy Ameobi, Clayton Donaldson, Mark Little and Luca Connell have left the University of Bolton Stadium. The Whites are priced at 6/5 to suffer back-to-back relegations and with their off-pitch issues ongoing that looks a decent enough price to us.

Accrington Stanley – 11/4

Accrington Stanley had a pretty decent campaign last season, finishing in 14th place after winning 14, drawing 13 and losing 19. However, the bookies are tipping them to struggle this year, pricing them at odds of just 11/4 for relegation.

John Coleman has been around at the Crown Ground for a long time, but has the Liverpudlian taken them as far as he can? 11/4 is a very tempting price, although a pre-season win over Marseille may suggest otherwise!

Wycombe Wanderers – 5/2

Wycombe sailed a little too close to the wind last season, surviving relegation by just three points. Despite several opportunities to leave Adams Park, Gareth Ainsworth has stuck to his guns and stayed in charge of the club, with this being his sixth full season with the Chairboys.

With so many solid teams in League One this season, Wycombe could find it tough to compete in the top half. With that in mind, odds of 5/2 for the Blues to be relegated are tempting, although Ainsworth’s boys should have enough to survive under his experienced leadership.

Wimbledon – 7/2

Wimbledon avoided relegation by just goal difference last term. The Dons only won 13 games to finish on 50 points, but their -21 goal difference was ever so slightly better than Plymouth’s -24. Unfortunately for Wally Downes and his boys, we can see them struggling again, with 7/2 being Wimbledon’s very fair looking price for the drop.

The club have been on a remarkable journey over the years, with plenty of ups and downs. Despite surviving last year, though, they look a good bet for relegation this season.

Tranmere Rovers – 3/1

Tranmere booked their place in League One through the League Two play-off route last season. Inspired by James Norwood’s goals, Rovers finished sixth on 73 points, seeing off Forest Green and Newport County in the play-offs.

With Norwood moving to Ipswich in the summer, the Whites could struggle for goals. However, they have brought in Stefan Payne, Darren Potter, George Ray and Calum Woods over the summer. Tranmere are priced at 3/1 to be relegated, but Micky Mellon is a good manager who knows the club really well and he should be able keep them up.

League One Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 12th July 2019
Football in Back of Net

Last season, Luton’s James Collins won the Golden Boot, firing Town to the title with 25 goals. Lyle Taylor, who finished runner-up on 22 goals, is also in the Championship this term. That leaves the likes John Marquis, Ian Henderson, Will Grigg, Ivan Toney and James Norwood left to battle it out for this season’s League One Golden Boot.

John Marquis (Doncaster Rovers)

John Marquis has been heavily linked with a move to the Championship, but the 27-year-old is still a Doncaster player at this moment in time. Marquis had a tremendous season in front of goal last term, scoring 22 times as Donny reached the play-offs. Rovers will be desperate to keep hold of their main man, who pretty much guarantees goals. Marquis will no doubt be up near the top of the charts if he stays at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Ian Henderson (Rochdale)

Ian Henderson has been a Rochdale player for quite some time now, but the striker was back to his best last season. The former Norwich City man helped himself to 20 league goals in an average Rochdale team. The 34-year-old has all the experience in the world at this level, which will no doubt stand him in good stead. Henderson could be worth keeping an eye on this season.

Will Grigg (Sunderland)

Since arriving at the Stadium of Light on deadline day back in January, Will Grigg has yet to reach his potential at Sunderland. However, the Northern Ireland international and cult hero scored goals for fun for Wigan Athletic in the 2017-18 League One season, and the striker will want to replicate that form with the Black Cats. Grigg and Sunderland could be set to have a good season.

Ivan Toney (Peterborough United)

Ivan Toney’s 16 goals took Peterborough to the brink of the play-offs last season. The 23-year-old never quite cut the mustard at Newcastle United, but he’s certainly found his level in League One. Toney ended last season with four goals in his last two appearances, and the Northampton-born man will be hoping follow on from there and hit the ground running this term.

James Norwood (Ipswich Town)

James Norwood had a stunning season with Tranmere in League Two last term, playing a key role in Rovers’ promotion. Norwood’s superb record earned him a move to Ipswich, who have just dropped down from the Championship. The striker was the top scorer in the EFL last season with a staggering 32 goals to his name in all competitions. Norwood could turn out to be an excellent acquisition for the Tractor Boys as they seek an instant return to the second tier.

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.