League Two Betting Tips

The English Football League Two is the lowest of the three leagues hosted by that of the EFL. The league format is played as the base of the professional leagues and whilst it’s seen as the lowest of the three, is widely regarded as one of the most competitive and unpredictable leagues in England.

The league is actually the fourth tier of English football if you include the Premier League, which isn’t run by the EFL. Whilst it doesn’t get the plaudits and crowds that the higher leagues get, it is able to offer up a great base for young players to get a taste of professional football.

It comes with a unique style and the games are often played out very differently than say, the Premier League. It’s known for its physicality and whilst Premier League teams put an emphasis on entertainment, League Two highlights that there is more to football than the tikka-taka style and see’s much more success from a direct style of play.

Who Will Win League Two?

Last Updated: 15th July 2019
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In a very competitive EFL League Two last season, Lincoln City, Bury and MK Dons were automatically promoted, with Danny Cowley’s Imps finishing very deserving as champions. Meanwhile, Tranmere Rovers won the play-offs, beating Newport County in the Wembley Stadium final to book their place in the third tier.

Leyton Orient and Salford City have joined League Two from the Conference, while Plymouth Argyle, Walsall, Scunthorpe United and Bradford City were relegated from EFL League One and will be hoping to bounce straight back. It may not be the best league in the world, but League Two certainly provides thrilling drama each year. Which clubs will be promoted and relegated in the 2019-20 campaign and can Salford’s amazing ascent continue?

Bradford City – 7/1

Bradford City had a miserable campaign in League One last term, losing 27 times to finish bottom of the pile on 41 points. That’s 27 weekends ruined! Along the way, the Bantams netted just 49 league goals in what was a really tough campaign for their long-suffering fans.

City may have been relegated last term, but the club are looking for a swift return to the third tier. Gary Bowyer has brought in some experienced players over the summer, with the likes of James Vaughan, once the youngest scorer in Premier League history, and Clayton Donaldson joining their ranks. Loads of players have left Valley Parade, too. Bradford are the bookies’ favourites for the title at 7/1 and with their huge home attendances they will want to make Valley Parade a fortress.

Salford City – 8/1

Salford City will take their place in the Football League for the very first time this season and they have much loftier goals than mere survival. The club from Greater Manchester – who are jointly owned by Peter Lim, the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham – gained promotion from the Conference via the play-off route. Despite only scraping into the fourth tier, their resources mean they are one of the favourites for yet another promotion.

Salford are available at 8/1 to win the League Two title this term, while you can get them at 13/8 to secure back-to-back promotions. Graham Alexander’s side could be a force to be reckoned with in this term’s fourth tier and 8/1 may prove a nice bet if they do well in the transfer market.

Plymouth Argyle – 9/1

Plymouth Argyle were also relegated from League One. The Pilgrims missed out on survival by the narrowest of margins, as Southend United and Wimbledon pipped them to survival just by having a better goal difference. Fans will know just how the New Zealand cricket team are feeling after the World Cup! Argyle did not help themselves, though, losing five of their last six after it had appeared they were all but safe.

Plymouth, who were playing in the Championship not so long ago, are a big club at this level, and they have brought in the likes of Will Aimson, Joe Edwards, Danny Mayor and Dominic Telford to bolster the squad. They are priced at 9/1 to make an instant return to the third tier as champions and in an open looking division that may not be the worst option around.

Mansfield Town – 10/1

After missing out in the play-offs last season, Mansfield Town will be desperate to gain promotion this time around. The Stags were excellent, accumulating 76 points on their way to fourth spot but ultimately just fell short.

With the capture of Nicky Maynard on a free from Bury, Mansfield proved that they mean business this season. Andy Cook and Dion Donohue have also arrived at Field Mill. The Yellows are currently priced at 10/1 to win the title, which are a very good odds in our opinion given they came so close back in May and know what is needed.

Scunthorpe United – 10/1

Like Bradford and Plymouth, Scunthorpe United were also relegated from League One last season. United finished second from bottom on just 46 points. However, they could be one of the big hitters in this season’s League Two and will hope to be in the play-off mix at the very least.

The Iron have spent money on Jake Eastwood and Alex Gilliead, while Andy Butler and Kgosi Ntlhe have arrived on free transfers. Josh Morris and Byron Webster have moved in the other direction, meanwhile. Scunthorpe are 10/1 to win the league, but we prefer odds of 9/4 for them to be promoted.

Who Will Be Promoted To League One?

Last Updated: 15th July 2019
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There are four promotion places up for grabs in League Two, and several clubs have ambitions of playing in the third tier. Anyone can be promoted in this division, making it one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world and the toughest when it comes to the promotion betting.

Last season, Tranmere beat Newport at Wembley Stadium in the League Two play-off final, joining Lincoln, Bury and MK Dons in this year’s League One. Who will reach the play-offs this time and who will be able to kick on from there to secure promotion?

Forest Green Rovers – 7/2 (7/4 Top Seven)

Forest Green Rovers have had a fine last few years, going from the Conference to the cusp of League One. Last term, Mark Cooper’s boys were knocked out of the play-offs at the semi-final stage by Tranmere.

The Green Devils have come on leaps and bounds under Cooper, and they will be looking to push for promotion again this season. At the time of writing, Forest Green are available at 7/4 for a top seven finish and longer odds of 7/2 for promotion. Keep your eye on the Green Army this year, the world’s first vegan club very much on the up, even if fans can’t enjoy a meat pie!

Northampton Town – 10/3 (11/8 Top Seven)

Northampton Town finished in a disappointing 15th place in the fourth tier last season, but they have been tipped to have a far better campaign this time around. The bookies are pricing them at just 10/3 for promotion following some impressive work in the transfer market.

Keith Curle has been a busy man this summer, with six players coming in and five heading out at the Sixfields. Automatic promotion could be a step too far for the Cobblers, but they certainly look a good bet to reach the top seven at 11/8 and from there, anything can happen.

Walsall – 7/2 (6/4 Top Seven)

Walsall dropped into the fourth tier after ending last season’s League One campaign in 22nd spot. Despite picking up four points from their last two games, the Saddlers finished three points from safety and were put out of their misery.

Darrell Clarke will bring his own identity to the Bescot Stadium, and Walsall will be looking for a play-off spot (6/4) at the very least this season. Meanwhile, you can get them at 7/2 for promotion if you think they can shake off the relegation hangover straight away and go the distance.

Swindon Town – 9/2 (2/1 Top Seven)

Swindon Town won 16, drew 16 and lost 14 games to finish in 13th spot last season. After coming up short last term, the bookies are pricing them at 2/1 to make the play-offs this time around and one of the EFL’s perennial yo-yo teams could be in line for a better campaign.

Zeki Fryers, Robert Hunt and Mathieu Baudry have made the move to the County Ground, with Kyle Knoyle and Jak McCourt moving out. Although 9/2 for promotion is tempting, we prefer their odds for a top seven finish.

Newport County – 7/1 (3/1 Top Seven)

Newport caused an upset last season by reaching the play-offs. The Exiles had a stunning end to the regular campaign, winning four and drawing two of their last six to finish in seventh place. Unfortunately for them, County lost at Wembley to Tranmere, a cruel way for dreams to end.

Mike Flynn is a very popular man in South Wales, and Newport are capable of causing even more problems for the big boys this season. They are dark horses at 3/1 for a top seven finish and 7/1 for promotion but certainly worth consideration at the prices.

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 15th July 2019
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Yeovil Town and Notts County were relegated to the Conference last season. Macclesfield Town and Cambridge United, who both just survived, have been tipped for another season of struggle, while Cheltenham Town, Morecambe, Grimsby Town and Crawley Town are also likely to be involved in the relegation battle.

Morecambe – 7/2

Morecambe did more than enough to keep themselves afloat last term, ending up 13 points clear of the drop. However, Jim Bentley’s men are currently the joint favourites for relegation at 7/2.

The Shrimps have let Aaron Collins, Zak Mills and Vadaine Oliver go, bringing in Tom Brewitt and John O’Sullivan on free transfers. Bentley could have his work cut out this season and the Lancashire side’s 13-year stay in the Football League looks in real danger.

Macclesfield Town – 7/2

Macclesfield just avoided relegation last term, as the club finished three points above the drop zone in 22nd place. Along the way, Town won only 10 of their 46 games. Like Morecambe, Macclesfield are also priced at 7/2 for relegation.

Jacob Blyth, Joe Ironside, Jak McCourt and Emmanuel Osadebe have come in on free transfers, but that might not be enough for Sol Campbell. The Silkmen are our tip for the drop as we fancy Campbell’s honeymoon period may be followed by rather more difficult times.

Grimsby Town – 9/2

Grimsby lost almost half of their games last season but still managed to survive by 15 points. They may not be so lucky this time around, though. The Mariners, who are managed by Michael Jolley, are at 9/2 to slip out of the Football League.

Capturing Matt Green from Salford was a decent bit of business, with the club also bringing in James Hanson and Elliott Hewitt. Still, Town could struggle this season and odds of 9/2 look a shade long to us.

Crawley Town – 9/2

Crawley ended last season in 19th spot. However, only bottom club Yeovil lost more games, with half of the Reds’ 46 League Two matches ending in defeat. That’s something Gabriel Cioffi will be looking to address this term.

So far this summer, Beryly Lubala, Jack Powell and Jordan Tunnicliffe have joined the club. In our opinion, Crawley, who are at 9/2 for relegation, should do enough to keep themselves in the Football League this term.

Cambridge United – 6/1

Cambridge had another poor League Two campaign, as they hovered just above the drop line in 21st. Along the way, United won only 12 of their 46 fixtures.

After just surviving last season, the bookies are pricing them at 6/1 for the drop this year. To be fair, that’s a pretty decent price, but with Colin Calderwood in charge, Cambridge have a very capable manager. They should be okay but they will need a marked improvement from last term if they are to avoid a serious flirtation with the drop.

Cheltenham Town – 6/1

Also at chunky odds of 6/1 are Cheltenham. Town are often one of the favourites for the drop, but they finished in a very respectable 16th place last term, winning 15 times along the way. Michael Duff is still learning the ropes, but the former Burnley man will be hoping to take the club forward this season.

Rohan Ince, Reuben Reid and Tahvon Campbell have moved to Whaddon Road on free transfers, while Kevin Dawson left the club to move to Forest Green. 6/1 is a tempting offer, but Cheltenham should be fine under Duff.

League Two Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 15th July 2019
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James Norwood scored a staggering 30 times in League Two last season. His goals got Tranmere promoted via the play-off route, earning him a big move, relatively speaking at least, to Ipswich Town. Tyler Walker was runner-up on 22, with Nicky Maynard finishing in third with 21 goals to his name. There are some big names in League Two this season, but who will finish top scorer? We’ll update this market should any major transfers in or out occur but right now these are the players to consider.

James Vaughan (Bradford City)

James Vaughan has plenty of experience, racking up nearly 50 Premier League appearances during his time at Everton. He went on to play for the likes of Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Sunderland and Wigan Athletic. After a short loan spell at Portsmouth, Vaughan moved to Bradford on a free in the summer. Bringing in a man of his calibre was a real coup for the Bantams, and the former England U21 international will surely repay Gary Bowyer with goals.

Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town)

Nicky Maynard is another player with Premier League experience, featuring eight times in the top flight for Cardiff City in the 2013-14 season. Despite scoring 21 goals for Bury last season, the 2019 League Two runners-up let Maynard join Mansfield on a free this summer. Town are expecting to have a good season, and Maynard will want to hit the ground running for the Stags.

Padraig Amond (Newport County)

Padraig Amond caught the eye last season with several top performances. The Newport hitman scored 15 times, one more than his strike partner Jamille Matt. Together, the pair struck up a superb partnership to fire the Welsh club into the play-offs. Amond is a proven scorer at this level, and he will be eager to better last year’s tally. Keep a close eye on Newport’s main man.

Jamille Matt (Newport County)

As mentioned, Jamille Matt also had an excellent season in front of goal for Newport. Although somewhat in Amond’s shadow, the Jamaican was a real handful for defenders, going on to score 14 times in League Two as the Exiles snuck into the top seven. Newport’s campaign may have ended in heartache at Wembley, but the 29-year-old had a fine first season at Rodney Parade. Will he score even more goals this term?

The League has been in its current format since 2004 when the whole EFL league system was reformed, albeit through naming. The original name of the league was that of Division Four, which was set up in 1958. It then changed to Division Three when the Premier League broke away and was formed in 1992, before finally being renamed League Two in 2004.

Sky Bet are the current sponsors for the league, with the official title being that of Sky Bet League Two. Many still refer to it as Division Three though.

As the sponsors are those who work with the EFL, the leagues governing body, they tend to take on the name of these sponsors. Some of them have included the likes of Canon, Today Newspaper, Barclays, Endsleigh, Nationwide, Coca-Cola, npower and most recently, Sky Bet.

Format

The league includes 24 teams in total, which is the same as both the Championship and League One. The format is pretty much the same as each of these leagues, with all 24 teams playing each other both home and away throughout the season. This means that in total, each team will play 46 games throughout the season, some 8 more than the Premier League.

The cast majority of games take place on a Saturday afternoon and Tuesday evening. Some games will be moved in order to fit in matches for TV purposes or even for more convenient times for local authorities to police, such as major local derbies. As League Two get the fewest number of matches shown live within the EFL, few games need to be moved, so often you see that the majority of teams will all play at the same time throughout the week. The biggest disruptions come in the form of cup runs, which need to be allocated accordingly.

There are four teams in total that get promoted to League One come the end of the season. The places are earned by that of a point scoring system, with the teams ranked in highest points first. Usual rules apply for points, such as 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss.

League Two is unique with 4 teams getting promoted, as both the Championship and League One only have three teams. Three are automatic spots and the final spot comes from the playoffs.

The playoffs are played out between the four teams ranked 4th to 7th, respectively. The first stage is played over two legs, with 4th playing 7th and 5th playing 6th. The aggregate winners over both legs will then play in the final, hosted at Wembley Stadium.

The final is a winner takes all match. The winners progress to League One and the losers will remain in League 2 for the following season.

Cup Entries

As a member of League 2, the teams are able to enter three cup competitions in total. These include the FA Cup, League Cup and the EFL Trophy. The FA Cup and the League Cup will eventually include teams from higher leagues as rounds progress and is often a chance for teams from the league to go head to head with some of the best teams in Europe.

The EFL Trophy has been designed by the English Football League and does not include the first team squads from Premier League teams. But, in a recent change to the format in 2017, they now allow Premier League and Championship teams to field their academies, which are made up of players aged 2q and under. The EFL Trophy offers the best chance of major honours for teams within League Two.

Whilst unlikely, it is worth noting that should a team from League Two win the FA Cup or League Cup, they will be eligible to take up the reward of representing within the Europa League if they choose to do so.

Prize Money

As you would imagine, the money on offer at League Two level compared to the likes of the Premier League is worlds apart. Each team is offered a basic award from the EFL of £472,000, with a solidarity payment from the Premier League of £430,000, totalling £902,000.

The money between League 1 and League is quite significant as well, with League 1 teams picking up around £1.3million in total, almost 50% more than in League Two.

The money on offer for players is small compared to the likes of the higher leagues, but in the real-world, still offer a very good living. Players will look to take home around £1,000 a week, but this can fluctuate anywhere between £200 a week and £5,000 a week, depending on the stature of the player. At around £50,000 per year to play a solid level of football, it shows that whilst the money does drop off massively so as you work down, there is still money to be made.

Transfer Window

As League Two is part of and run by the EFL, they have to adhere to rules regarding transfers just as any other club in the association would. The transfer window usually opens around early May, after the season has ended and shuts on the 31st of August. But, in 2018/19 season, this deadline is being brought forward to the 9th of August in order to close before the first game of the season. The Premier League are also applying these rules for this season as well.

 Clubs are still allowed to loan players until he end of January and also agree option to purchase deals for when the window reopens in January. The January transfer window is one that occurs across Europe and opens on the 1st of January, closing on the 31st of January.

The History of League Two

League Two came about in 2004 in its current format, although it has actually been running since 1958. The league was originally brought in 1958 to offer another professionally run league by the EFL. It was designed as a feeder league into the then Division Three, but has been able to stand on its own for several years after and now is widely regarded as quality football league.

It’s growth and expansion is one that is ranked on a world level. In the 2016/17 there were over 2.8million fans across the course of the season. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the Turkish Super League, 3 Division of German football (equivalent to League One in England), Brazil 2nd Division, Siwss Super League and the Canadian Football League, to name just a few.