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: 10th September 2019
Blue Football Shirt Numbered Two

EFL League Two is one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world, which makes picking the winner at this early stage of the season a really tricky task. However, with several clubs gunning for promotion from League Two, we should be in for another enthralling race for the title. Last season, Lincoln City won the championship by the relatively comfortable margin of six points – who will come out on top in the 2019-20 League Two campaign?

Swindon Town – 5/1

Swindon Town are the current favourites to win the League Two title. Richie Wellens’ boys have made a very solid start to their league campaign, winning four, drawing two and losing only one of seven games at the time of writing. The Robins made a number of high-profile signings over the summer, with the likes of Eoin Doyle, Zeki Fryers and Jordan Lyden – plus plenty of others – arriving at the County Ground. Town are the 5/1 favourites to finish top of the pile and given their history they should really be playing at a higher level sooner rather than later.

Exeter City – 7/1

Matt Taylor has been very successful since taking over the managerial reins at St James’ Park, and Exeter City are the second favourites, at odds of 7/1, to win the League Two title. The Grecians, who just missed out on the play-offs last term by finishing in ninth spot, are top of the league at the moment. Exeter have been sensational so far, winning five and drawing two of seven. Can they sustain a title challenge and how long can their unbeaten run last?

Crewe Alexandra – 7/1

You can get David Artell’s Crewe Alexandra at 7/1 to win the league. After finishing in mid-table last time around, can the Railwaymen have a better season this year? The bookies certainly think so and the Alex brought in Chuma Anene and Daniel Powell in the summer. They have started well and have won five of their opening seven to sit third in the table at this moment in time. Crewe could be a force to be reckoned with in the third tier this term.

Plymouth Argyle – 8/1

Plymouth Argyle, who were an EFL Championship club not so long ago, are certainly one of the big boys in the fourth tier these days. Argyle were one of the favourites before a ball was kicked, but they have won just three of their opening seven league fixtures to temper the fans’ optimism somewhat. Nevertheless, Ryan Lowe’s side are available at 8/1 and many expect them to improve as the season continues.

Bradford City – 8/1

West Yorkshire sleeping giants Bradford City could be in the race for the title this season. The capture of the experienced James Vaughan from Wigan Athletic, onetime youngest goalscorer in the Premier League, in the summer was a real coup. City also persuaded Clayton Donaldson, Adam Henley and Matt Palmer to sign on the dotted line at Valley Parade.

Bradford, who have one of the strongest squads in the division, are priced at 8/1 to win the league. With their huge support they will always be strong at home and we think they may be the value pick at the prices, even if they have made a relatively slow start to sit 10th at the time of writing.

Who Will Be Promoted To League One?

Last Updated: 10th September 2019
Football Pitch Painted Line

Swindon, Exeter, Plymouth, Bradford and Crewe, who are expected to be in the title race this term, are all odds-on for a top seven finish. Meanwhile, the likes of Newport County, Mansfield Town and Forest Green Rovers – plus a few others – could be in the mix for promotion this season. Last term, Newport were the losing play-off finalists, with Tranmere Rovers getting the better of them in the final at Wembley Stadium in May to move into the third tier. Below you can see the leading contenders this term, plus their respective odds for a top seven finish first and promotion second.

Newport County – 9/4 (Evens top 7 finish)

As long as the excellent Mike Flynn stays around at Rodney Parade, Newport always have a chance of gaining promotion (9/4). After suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Tranmere in the play-off final back in May, Newport could have gone on a downward spiral. However, the Welsh outfit have started this season like a house on fire, sitting second after winning four and drawing three of seven. County are available at evens to finish in the top seven for a second season running and given their experience and brilliant unbeaten start that looks more than fair.

Mansfield Town – 5/2 (6/5 top 7 finish)

Mansfield were one of the promotion favourites before the season got underway. However, John Dempster’s men have made an indifferent start, winning only twice so far. Still, Mansfield have been tipped to have a good season, and the Stags are priced at odds of 6/5 to finish in the play-off places. Meanwhile, you can get Mansfield, who finished fourth last term, at just 5/2 to be promoted to League One.

Salford City – 4/1 (15/8 top 7 finish)

Salford City – who are joint owned by the likes of the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes – are enjoying their first season at this level. Salford have not won since the opening weekend of the season, but the Ammies have drawn five times up until now and lost just once. They could be dark horses in the promotion race, with the bookies pricing Salford at 4/1 to be promoted and 15/8 for a top seven finish. It may take their players and manager a while to adjust to the Football League but they certainly have the resources to tackle this division.

Colchester United – 5/1 (5/4 top 7 finish)

Colchester United, who are available at 5/4 for a play-off spot and 5/1 for promotion, just missed out on the top seven last term, finishing in eighth place. John McGreal has spent the last few years trying to make Colchester competitive again, and the Essex club could be set to have a solid season under the Liverpudlian. Going so close last term is sure to spur them on but they are languishing in 13th place in the table at the time of writing after a sluggish start, so clearly have work to do.

Forest Green Rovers – 5/1 (2/1 top 7 finish)

Forest Green Rovers, the world’s first vegan football club, whatever that means, also missed out in the play-offs last season. The Green Devils have been on a superb ride in recent years, with Mark Cooper at the forefront. Rovers finished fifth last term, and they are currently at 2/1 to finish in the top seven again. Meanwhile, Forest Green are available at 5/1 to go one better and gain promotion to the third tier.

Relegation Betting

Last Updated: 10th September 2019
Blue and White Football Stadium Seating

Several clubs will be desperate to avoid the Football League trap door this season. This is arguably the cruellest relegation going, with clubs desperate to avoid playing non-league football next term. There are only two relegation places, but a number of teams could be in a battle for survival in League Two. At the time of writing, Scunthorpe United sit rock bottom of the Football League, picking up just one point from seven matches. Will Scunny drop down to the National League and who are the sides most likely to join them?

Stevenage – 3/1

Stevenage have started their season in woeful form, picking up just three points from seven fixtures. In fact, the Boro are one of only two sides yet to win a game in League Two. Stevenage, who are currently being managed by former England Women’s boss Mark Sampson, are the joint favourites for the drop at 3/1 and that looks a very solid price, we have to say.

Morecambe – 3/1

Also at 3/1 for relegation are Morecambe. The Shrimps have picked up just one win so far. Jim Bentley’s Red and White Army finished 18th last season, and they could struggle again this time around. So often sides that have struggled one season finally succumb to relegation the following campaign and Morecambe are in serious danger of that scenario besetting them. However, with Lewis Alessandra in the side, a summer signing from Notts County, Morecambe always have a chance and we suspect they may just have enough to survive.

Scunthorpe United – 4/1

After seven League Two fixtures, Scunthorpe are bottom of the table. The Iron, who were rubbing shoulders with the Championship’s elite not too long ago, could suffer back-to-back relegations having finished in 23rd place in League One last season. Scunny have won just one league game since February, and United are priced at 4/1 for the drop. With confidence at rock bottom and the squad struggling to stop the rot, that looks like cracking value to us.

Oldham Athletic – 4/1

Oldham Athletic had a mediocre campaign in the fourth tier last term, finishing in 14th place. However, after making a poor start to this season, the Latics are one of the favourites for relegation. At the moment, you can get Laurent Banide’s boys at 4/1 to finish in the bottom two of League Two. For a team that has played in the Premier League and has twice made the semi-finals of the FA Cup in relatively recent times, whilst also being runner-up in the League Cup in 1990, that is a terrible state of affairs. That said, we fancy the Latics to survive this term.

Macclesfield Town – 9/2

Sol Campbell left Macclesfield Town with the new season just a few weeks old. The former Arsenal and England defender was replaced by Daryl McMahon, who was recently in charge of Ebbsfleet United. After surviving by the skin of their teeth last season, can the Silkmen pull off another great escape? Macclesfield are priced at 9/2 to drop out of the Football League at the end of the season.

League Two Top Goalscorer

Last Updated: 10th September 2019
Orange Football Boot

League Two boasts plenty of top strikers these days, with the likes of Eoin Doyle, Danny Rose and James Vaughan – among several others – set to battle it out for the Golden Boot. Mansfield’s Rose has made a blistering start to his season, netting six times already to lead the way.

Meanwhile, James Hanson, Doyle, Lewis Alessandra and Bez Lubala all have five goals to their name. We should be in for a cracking battle for the Golden Boot in England’s fourth tier this term but where should your money be going?

Eoin Doyle (Swindon Town) – 6/1

Swindon snapped up Doyle on a season-long loan from Bradford, and the Irishman has hit the ground running at the County Ground. Doyle, a former Cardiff City and Preston North End player, has scored five goals for the Robins already. The 31-year-old is the 6/1 favourite to win the League Two Golden Boot this season and he seems less likely than certain other contenders to be targeted by a League One club in January.

James Vaughan (Bradford City) – 8/1

Bradford shipped out Doyle to make room for veteran striker Vaughan. The ex-Everton forward has been at several clubs during his long career, but he’s never had any problems finding the net. The combative Vaughan has scored three League Two goals for the Bantams already and his all-round game should see him net plenty more. You can get the 31-year-old at 8/1.

Danny Rose (Mansfield Town) – 8/1

Mansfield’s Rose has made a stunning start to his League Two campaign, scoring six times already. The Barnsley-born striker could fire the Stags to promotion this season. Despite sitting at the top of the pile, the bookies are offering the very tempting price of 8/1 for Rose to finish up as top scorer and that is sure to tempt more than just Mansfield Town fans.

Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town) – 12/1

Former Bristol City and West Ham United forward Nicky Maynard is also playing his football at Field Mill these days. Maynard will be hoping to strike up an excellent partnership with Rose. Maynard has scored two league goals this term, and he will surely be in the mix for the Golden Boot come May. 12/1 is his price.

Padraig Amond (Newport County) – 14/1

Padraig Amond had become a real fans’ hero at Rodney Parade since joining Newport two years ago. The Carlow-born striker has scored some big goals whilst in South Wales, netting against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Amond, who has scored three league goals so far this season, is available at odds of 14/1 and at that price is well worth thinking about each way.

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.