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: 11th February 2019

The race to the EFL Championship is hotting up, with Luton Town currently leading the way in EFL League One on 65 points. Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Barnsley are second, Portsmouth third and Sunderland are sitting in fourth place. The battle for the League One title is set to be a fascinating one from now until the end of the season.

There are also a number of clubs with play-off aspirations, with few points separating sixth placed to 11th in the table. At the other end, Wimbledon look doomed, but the likes of Shrewsbury Town, Bradford City and Rochdale – plus several others – will fancy their chances of survival.

Luton Town – 4/5

Luton have had a topsy-turvy decade, dropping out of the Football League completely back in 2009. After a few hard seasons in the National League, the Hatters have been on the rise in recent years. Luton, who were promoted from EFL League Two last season, could be on their way to back-to-back promotions to the Championship, as the club are currently six points clear at the top of the division.

Nathan Jones, who recently departed for Stoke City, did a terrific job at Kenilworth Road, with Mick Harford taking over from the Welshman on an interim basis last month. Luton have been in stunning form of late, winning 14 and drawing four of their last 18 league matches. Town are now the 4/5 favourites to win the division.

Barnsley – 10/3

Barnsley, who dropped down from the Championship last term, are looking for an instant return to the second tier. At this moment in time, the Tykes sit second behind Luton, six points adrift of the leaders. Daniel Stendel has had a fine first season at Oakwell, guiding the club to 17 League One wins so far.

Like Luton, Barnsley are also in red-hot form at present, winning seven and drawing three of their last 10 league fixtures. The Hatters have opened up a decent lead at the top, but Barnsley are capable of catching them. At the tempting odds of 10/3, the Reds could be worth having a punt on.

Sunderland – 4/1

An awful lot of damage has been done at the Stadium of Light in recent years. Once a proud club in the Premier League, the Black Cats were beginning to become the laughing stock of English football. However, after back-to-back relegations, Jack Ross has come in and certainly steadied the ship in Wearside.

Sunderland have been very consistent this season, but the Mackems are currently nine points adrift of Luton in fourth place. Too many draws have been their Achilles heel this term, but no side in the third tier have lost fewer games than the Black Cats up until now. If Sunderland can turn some of those draws into wins, 4/1 could turn out to be a terrific price.

Portsmouth – 7/1

A month or so ago, Portsmouth looked unstoppable. However, fast forward four weeks, Pompey are now available at the big price of 7/1 to win League One. The 2008 FA Cup winners have been poor in 2019, failing to win in the league since a 2-1 home victory over bottom club Wimbledon on New Year’s Day. Since then, Kenny Jackett’s side have taken just one point from the last 12 on offer.

Portsmouth still have eyes for the title but backing them for promotion at 5/6 is a far greater choice. Pompey could still go on a winning run, but they need to regain the spark that took them to the League One summit.

Who Will Be Promoted To The Championship?

Last Updated: 11th February 2019

Luton, Barnsley, Sunderland and Portsmouth, who are all fighting for the League One title, are odds-on for promotion. Apart from those, Charlton are the next fancied team at 3/1. Doncaster Rovers, who are available at 6/1 to be a Championship club next season, are also in the mix while Peterborough United are priced at 20/1.

Meanwhile, Blackpool could be dark horses for promotion at 33/1. Missing out on the automatic places is not be-all and end-all, with four teams having a second chance in the play-offs. Of course, the play-offs are a lottery in all three divisions, with any side capable of prevailing on the day.

Charlton Athletic – 3/1 (2/9 Top 6 Finish)

Charlton are having a fine season under Lee Bowyer, with the Londoners sitting comfortably in the play-off places at the moment. Athletic are seven points above seventh placed Doncaster ahead of this weekend’s clash with Southend United. After missing out in the play-offs last term, can the Addicks go one better and gain promotion back to the Championship this time around? Bowyer’s boys are priced at 3/1 to go up and just 2/9 to finish in the top six.

Doncaster Rovers – 6/1 (4/9 Top 6 Finish)

At the time of writing, Doncaster are just inside the top six, a point ahead of Peterborough. Grant McCann’s troops have been in patchy form of late, winning just three of their last eight in League One. Their recent form has haltered their progress somewhat, with Rovers now priced at 6/1 for promotion. Still, Doncaster don’t lose many games, as the club have been beaten just twice in the league since early November. Rovers, who gained promotion to the Championship in 2008 and 2013, are available at just 4/9 to make the play-offs this season.

Peterborough United – 20/1 (2/1 Top 6 Finish)

Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough are one of the dark horses for promotion, with United currently available at the huge price of 20/1. Meanwhile, you can get Posh at just 2/1 to make the top six this term. Ferguson, who is in his third spell as manager at London Road, is a very experienced and accomplished boss at this level.

Peterborough are currently vying to occupy the final play-off spot, with the top five pulling away from the chasing pack. United have a number of clubs to overcome if they are to finish in the top six, but their talented squad are definitely capable of grabbing a play-off place by the end of the season. The huge odds of 20/1 for United to be promoted are certainly tempting, but 2/1 for a top six finish is the safer option.

Blackpool – 33/1 (8/1 Top Six Finish)

Despite plenty of off-field shenanigans going on at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool been very competitive on the pitch this season. After 30 games, the Tangerines had picked up a decent return of 46 points, although they do find themselves 11 points adrift of Charlton and four behind Doncaster. Promotion is a long shot at 33/1, but 8/1 for a play-off berth is certainly worth thinking about. Terry Phillips has done a fine job at Bloomfield Road this term, and Pool are certainly heading in the right direction on the pitch. It seems unlikely at the moment, but can Blackpool gain promotion back to the Championship at the end of the season?

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 11th February 2019

Wimbledon will be preparing for life back in League Two already, with the Dons a whopping 10 points adrift of safety. However, with just two points separating the likes of Bristol Rovers, Oxford United, Bradford City, Gillingham and Shrewsbury Town, who will be joining them in the fourth tier of English football next term? Incredibly, Southend, who sit 14th, are only six points clear of the bottom four. We should be in for a thrilling battle for survival in League One this year.

Wimbledon – 1/14

After a respectable 18th placed finish in League One last season, Wimbledon have struggled to build on that this time around. Neal Ardley ended his six-year stay with the club back in November, with the Dons unable to move on from his departure. Wally Downes took over back in December, guiding the club to just two league wins. However, Wimbledon have been making waves in the Emirates FA Cup, beating Premier League club West Ham United in round four to setup a tasty fifth round tie with Millwall of the Championship. Wimbledon are priced at 1/14 for the drop, which seems a fair price.

Gillingham – 11/10

Gillingham are currently second favourites for relegation, with Steve Lovell’s side available at 11/10. The Gills have struggled for league wins in recent months, winning just two of their last 10 League One affairs. However, they did beat Cardiff City 1-0 in the third round of the FA Cup last month. Gillingham are currently 21st in the table, but with things so tight at the bottom, the Kent club float a mere point away from 18th spot with 15 matches left. With games coming up against the big boys, we can see Lovell’s boys being dragged even further into trouble. Staying up will be a tall order for the Gills.

Bradford City – Evens

Bradford find themselves in 23rd position with just 14 matches left to play. City have struggled away from home this season, as they have won just three of their 16 games on the road, winning one of their last 10 League One away matches to boot. Meanwhile, the Bantams have claimed just six home wins. With some tough games on the horizon, David Hopkin’s Bradford are in real danger of slipping down into the fourth tier. You can get City at evens for the drop.

Rochdale – 13/8

Rochdale survived by the skin on their teeth under Keith Hill last season, and the Dale could need another miracle this time around. At the minute, Rochdale are 18th, just a point clear of relegation. Hill is an experienced manager, and his side would have learned a lot from last year’s survival. Rochdale have been in woeful form lately, but their recent 2-1 win at Walsall was massive. If you fancy the Dale to go down this season, they are available at 13/8.

Plymouth Argyle – 7/4

Plymouth Argyle looked in big trouble a month ago, but the Pilgrims have been on an incredible run of late. In 2019, Plymouth have secured five league wins and a draw from seven games, picking up 16 points from a possible 21 along the way. Derek Adams’ side still have work to do, though, as the Devon-based club are only four points clear of the bottom four. Even at the attractive price of 7/4, we’re not tempted to back Plymouth to be relegated.

Bristol Rovers – 9/4

Bristol Rovers have won eight, drawn nine and lost 14 of their 31 league games up until now. Scoring goals has been their problem this term, as the Pirates have managed just 30 so far. However, Rovers, who finished 13th last term, have shown a real improvement in recent months, winning four, drawing three and losing just one of their last eight League One games. Whether they can continue to kick on remains to be seen, but Graham Coughlan’s side have certainly given themselves a fighting chance. Rovers are at 9/4 to drop down to League Two.

Shrewsbury Town – 9/4

Shrewsbury, who are also priced at 9/4 for the drop, are currently third from bottom with 15 games left to play. The Shrews have picked up some good results in the FA Cup lately – beating Stoke and taking Wolverhampton Wanderers to a replay – but they have not won a league match since seeing off Coventry at home a few days before Christmas. Shrewsbury’s draw at Bristol Rovers was a significant point for both sides, but perhaps both will rue the missed opportunity for three points. Sam Ricketts’ men could be a good choice for relegation.

League One Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 11th February 2019

With over a quarter of the season still to play, the race for the Golden Boot in League One could go down to the wire. James Collins’ 19 goals have fired Luton to first place in the division, so it’s no surprise to see the current top scorer as favourite to go on and win the crown. Meanwhile, the likes of Ian Henderson, Josh Maja and Tom Eaves all have 15 goals to their name, with Kieffer Moore on 16 and Doncaster’s John Marquis on 17. Collins and Luton could take some stopping this season, but there are numerous of hungry strikers waiting in the wings for Collins to slip up.

James Collins (Luton Town) – 6/4

Luton striker Collins has been in red-hot form in front of goal lately, scoring a sensational eight times in his last five League One matches. The 28-year-old’s goals have fired the Hatters to the top of the table, and neither Collins or Luton are shown any signs of letting up. Collins in the top scorer at present, netting 19 goals with a ratio of one goal every 142 minutes. The Luton man has a queue of players waiting to pounce, but Collins will back himself to end up on top of the pile (6/4).

John Marquis (Doncaster Rovers) – 9/2

Marquis has been Doncaster’s main man this season, scoring an impressive 17 goals so far. The 26-year-old has had a very productive winter, helping himself to 10 goals in his last 14 league and cup appearances. With Doncaster just inside the top six, Marquis will no doubt play a part in Rovers’ promotion push. The journeyman is second favourite to win the Golden Boot at 9/2.

Kieffer Moore (Barnsley) – 6/1

Moore is available at the very tempting price of 6/1, odds definitely worth checking out. The Barnsley hitman has fired in 16 league goals this term, with five of those coming in his last six outings. Moore has really come of age this season, playing a key role in the Tykes’ success so far. Considering that 26-year-old is only three goals off the top, 6/1 is a very good price.

Ian Henderson (Rochdale) – 10/1

Rochdale have had another testing season, but veteran striker Henderson has been excellent. Even at the tender age of 34, the former Norwich City and Rotherham United man is showing the youngsters how it’s done, scoring an impressive 15 League One goals thus far. The Dale forward is available at 10/1 to end the season as top scorer.

Tom Eaves (Gillingham) – 10/1

Like Henderson, Eaves has also scored 15 times in League One, which is why the race to be top scorer in the third tier is so intriguing. Gillingham have struggled this season, as the club hover just above the relegation zone, but they would be far worse off if it wasn’t for Eaves’ contribution. The big striker’s goals could keep the Gills up this term, but he’s certainly an outsider at 10/1 for 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.