SkyBet League One Outrights, Betting Tips, Predictions & Odds
With the new season edging closer, it’s time to take a look at the ever-competitive third tier of English football. Once again, League One looks like a complicated puzzle to solve; there are any amount of teams who, if things fall right, could challenge towards the top of the table. Much of the pre-season hype has been about both Blackburn and Wigan. Having dropped down from the Championship, it’s perfectly normal to assume that such sides will be at the head of affairs in this division come May and they easily could be. However, at the prices, neither stand out as amazing bets. The success of both could well hinge on keeping their best players and, as the window is still open for another month, there can be no guarantees in that area.
Last season we saw Sheffield United head the outright market and the Blades did indeed confirm favouritism as they secured the League One title with relative comfort in the end. However, this time around, it could be worth opposing the obvious candidates and going for someone at a bigger price.
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League One Winners Prediction
Quite frankly, at 40/1, Fleetwood look a massive price in this market. Admittedly, despite a strong season last year, The Trawlermen are a bit of a punt but they make much more appeal than a number of the sides who’re shorter in the betting.
Not only did they enjoy a solid campaign last year, one that ultimately ended in disappointment as they were defeated in the play-off semi-final having finished 4th after 46 games, but there are plenty of positive signs ahead of the new campaign. Having manager Uwe Rosler pen a new deal was massive while they also seem to have recruited well, at least on the face of it.
Much of their success over the last year can definitely be attributed to the tactics of manager Uwe Rosler so the fact that he’s remained with the Lancashire club really is crucial. One criticism could be the lack of “high-profile players” but it was an effective system rather than individual quality which allowed The Trawlermen to thrive at both ends of the pitch during the last campaign and so there’s no need to worry there.
The departures of forward-thinking midfielder David Ball and right-back Conor McLaughlin could be construed as negatives but the players who’ve joined could very easily counteract those outgoings. In fact, Fleetwood look to have recruited pretty well so far. Young full-back Lewie Coyle has come in on loan from Leeds while Harvey Rodgers, who’s joined from Hull City, is also an interesting addition. The young right-back, who gained valuable Football League experience last season, was a big player for Accrington during the second half of last season; he played 19 times and found himself on the losing side just twice during that spell. Under Rosler, it would no surprise to see the youngster thrive.
Although they did score 64 goals last season, the ninth-most in the division, Rosler’s men did seem a little short on firepower at certain times. With this in mind, the additions of 24-year-old Conor McAleny, who scored 10 goals in just 14 starts while on loan at Oxford last season, from Everton and Jordi Hiwula, who impressed in scoring nine goals while on loan at fellow top-six-finishers Bradford last campaign, make plenty of sense. Having already thrived and gained vital experience at this level last season, it would be no surprise to see both of these two make a name for themselves during the 17/18 campaign.
All things considered, with both last season’s impressive showing behind them, and the transfers made, there’s no reason why Fleetwood cannot once again make their presence felt near the head of affairs in this division. There’s plenty to like about them and, if none of the so called “big teams” run away with things, The Trawlermen could very easily be the ones who come through and pick up the pieces. At 40/1, they simply look too big a price.
League One Top Six Finish Prediction
Another team who greatly impressed last season was Scunthorpe. Under the Stewardship of Graham Alexander, The Iron played some of the best attacking football in the division, scored the second-highest number of goals and were perhaps unlucky not to fill one of the automatic spots.
Both the manager and the majority of their key players have remained with the club and so it’s fairly hard to see how they’ll fail to be there or thereabouts again as far as the top-six goes.
Losing both veterans Stephen Dawson and David Mirfin probably wasn’t ideal, not least as far as the fans are concerned, but this isn’t exactly a club who are short of quality players and they have acted very well indeed in bringing in Rory McArdle. The 30-year-old centre-back was a massive part of Bradford’s relatively successful campaign last season and is frankly an excellent addition at the back. Funso Ojo has also come in from Willem II; it remains to be seen how he’ll fare in League One but having been an important player for a top-tier side in Holland last season, it’s reasonable to think that the defensive midfielder can add some quality.
At the attacking end of the pitch, Scunthorpe are certainly not lacking firepower. Attacking-midfielder Josh Morris was massively impressive last season as he scored no less than 19 goals and he is once again expected to feature as a top player, not just at Scunthorpe but in the entire division. Striker Paddy Madden can also help guide The Iron into the top-six if he stays fit. The Irish forward, who has scored 50 goals in 147 appearances for Scunthorpe, was hampered by injury last season but remains a real threat in this league.
All in all, it would be something of a disappointment if Graham Alexander’s men weren’t capable of repeating last season’s form. They simply look to have all the qualities necessary to stand as a force to be reckoned with and just too hard to resist as a top-six punt.
League One Top Goalscorer Prediction
Much like correctly predicting the league winner, finding the player who is going to be sat at the top of scoring charts come May is a very, very difficult task. Billy Sharp was among the more fancied types last season and, as the Sheffield United man netted no less than 30 times, any punters’ decision to get behind the veteran was vindicated.
There are a number of players who can be considered as “big names” at this level who head the market this time around. Will Grigg, Danny Graham and Brett Pitman are all among the favourites; however, one who catches the eye at a slightly bigger price is Fleetwood’s new signing Conor McAleny. The 24-year-old never really made the grade at Everton although a series of injuries didn’t exactly help his cause. Having said that, in recent times, the forward has had a couple of productive loan spells which suggest he could go well this season. During the latter stages of the 15/16 season, McAleny scored four goals in nine starts for League One winners Wigan while he also had no trouble in finding his feet quickly at this level last season as he notched ten times for Oxford in just 14 starts.
During his spell at Oxford last season, McAleny showed himself to be potent in front of goal, proving to be equally adept at getting on the end of things in the box and scoring goals having dropped deep to collect the ball before marauding forward. Having joined a club who look to be on the up, the ex-Everton man can show himself to be a real asset at this level.
For those seeking a punt at mammoth odds, Chris Maguire, who has recently joined Bury, looks a tad too big at 125/1. The 28-year-old Scot has been on and off in terms of getting consistent game-time throughout his career so far but when he has looked settled at a club he’s certainly delivered. 18 goals for Sheffield Wednesday in 59 appearances between 2012 and 2015 was a respectable return and he also enjoyed a promising 16/17 campaign in League One with Oxford. Having notched 13 times for Oxford last season, showing himself to be dangerous both from range and from set-pieces, the forward could quite easily hit the ground running for a Bury team who’ve shown a tendency to favour attacking football. At 125/1, there are definitely worse ways to spend a few pennies.
League One Relegation Prediction
Before the campaign begins, there are generally four or five teams in this division who’re fairly hotly fancied to drop down to League Two and this season is no different. Oldham, Gillingham and Shrewsbury, having just about stayed up last season, are among the favourites to fall out of the third-tier. Blackpool, who’ve experienced numerous off-field problems in recent times, seem to be the side from the promoted contingent who’re fancied to struggle at this level and are also among the favourites to go down.
Of the favourites to be relegated, it is Gillingham who stand out the most. After what was quite frankly an abysmal season last year, the Gills were very, very lucky to remain in League One and it would be no surprise if their stay is short lived. Keeping hold of possession was a real problem for the Kent side while they also conceded the highest number of goals (79!).
As far as transfers go, they don’t appear to have addressed those defensive problems while they’ve also allowed two of their best footballers to leave. Bradley Dack and Cody McDonald, two players who scored 22% of Gillingham’s league goals last season, have both left for pastures new.
There are a plenty of teams in this league who look as though they could enjoy a decent campaign but, quite frankly, Gillingham are not one of them and they’re expected to be plying their trade in England’s fourth-tier this time next year.
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Source: Football News