EFL League Two Season Betting Preview

The 2019/2020 EFL League Two season should be an exciting one, and not just because the division features Leyton Orient – for whom EnergyBet is the Official Betting partner – but because there are a number of teams with genuine promotion aspirations.

EFL League Two

Generally speaking, the lowest tier of the English Football League, League Two, is often the most unpredictable of all the divisions. Last season’s pre-season favourites, Notts County, would go on to be relegated. Bury, meanwhile, were promoted to League One, but now find themselves on the brink of extinction and financial ruin. It’s a dog eat dog league.

It’s also very open. There are at least four teams, Bradford, Salford City, Plymouth Argyle and Mansfield, who would consider themselves in with a shout of winning the title. Whilst Northampton, Leyton Orient, Forest Green and Swindon will all fancy a shot at the Play-Off spots. At the bottom of the table things seem more clear cut – especially due to the financial concerns that surround Macclesfield – but with League Two, you just never know.

Tousling at the top?

BRADFORD – If you’ve been reading our other season previews, you will have noticed a common theme. One of the relegated sides is always heavily fancied to bounce back up to the division from whence they came. For League Two, that side is Bradford. They have an experienced manager in Gary Bowyer, a passionate fanbase that is reengaging with the club and a new captain in former Everton striker James Vaughan.

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE – The Pilgrims are the most interesting side in the division. They are the prime beneficiaries of the uncertainty that surrounds last season’s second-placed side, Bury, who are now in League One. They’ve not only plundered five members of the promotion-winning squad, but they’ve also taken manager Ryan Lowe too. Despite the difficulties faced by Bury, Lowe was able to create a free-scoring side that played entertaining football and somehow secured automatic promotion. Plymouth will be hoping Lowe can create the same again.

No hope but the drop?

MACCLESFIELD –Make no mistake, Sol Campbell worked miracles last season, somehow guiding Macclesfield to safety against a backdrop of financial ruin. The former England international took over in November when the club were bottom of the table and seven points from safety. It’s difficult to see him repeating such miracles this season and the club seems destined to drop of the English Football League. Following three court appearances in three months, six unnamed players have added their claim for unpaid wages to a winding-up order against the club. Things do not look good.

MORECAMBE – It’s safe to say that Morecambe seemed to have found their level. With thirteen successive seasons in League Two an unusual achievement. In Jim Bentley, they have the longest-serving manager in the country, with over eight years at the helm. They’ve brought in some attacking reinforcements to help fire them away from the relegation battle and will be pinning their hopes on Shaun Miller, who returns to the club on loan from Crewe. Whatever happens, they’ll no doubt be up for the fight.

EFL LEAGUE ONE BETTING ODDS

Bradford are favourites to win the title at 7/1 (8.00), closely followed by Salford City at 15/2 (8.50) who are aiming for a fifth promotion in six years. Plymouth Argyle and Mansfield are both 9/1 (10.00) to win the title. Northampton are 33/10 (4.3) for promotion, with Leyton Orient and Forest Green at 7/2 (4.50). Macclesfield are in deep trouble and it’s no surprise to find them relegation favourites at 33/10 (4.30). Morecambe are 7/2 (4.50) to drop down a division. James Vaughan of Bradford, Nicky Maynard of Mansfield and Salford City’s Adam Rooney are all placed at 38/5 (8.60) to top the scoring charts.



*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.



EFL League One Season Betting Preview

In a different universe, several of the teams competing in the 2019/20 EFL League One season could still be lining up in the Premier League. Instead, they’re set to slog it out in a battle to reach the Championship.

EFL League One

It’s difficult to look at the League One table and view it as anything other than a sad indicator of the pitfalls of reaching the promised land of the Premier League, only to overextend yourself. No fewer than six sides – Blackpool, Bolton, Coventry, Ipswich Town, Portsmouth and Sunderland – have featured in the Premier League. Throw MK Dons in there under their former guise as Wimbledon (we’re not trying to start any arguments, just roll with it!) and that makes it seven.

Excluding MK Dons, of the six sides who have played in the Premier League, Blackpool were the only side to have just one shot at survival, the rest having multiple seasons in the top flight of English football. It’s astonishing when you think about it, that so many teams could fall so far. Look past the mismanagement and downfall of these sides though – more on Bolton and also Bury below – and it should certainly make for the most interesting League One season for quite some time.

Aiming for the top?

SUNDERLAND – Last season, Sunderland missed out on promotion in possibly the most heartbreaking fashion: defeat in the Play-Off final to Charlton. Following such heartache – which comes hot on the heels of years of financial mismanagement of the club – you’d be forgiven for thinking that hopes were not high for Sunderland this season. But hopes are indeed high. Title favourites high. With the club now on an even keel financially, they’ll hope to put their budget – which is the biggest in the league – to good use and secure promotion in their second season with the new owners, and manager Jack Ross, at the helm.

IPSWICH TOWN – The Tractor Boys will look for an immediate bounce back to the Championship following the relegation that concluded a season in which they were the worst team in their division. In manager Paul Lambert, Ipswich have an experienced coach who has operated in the top tier of English football. They will be hoping his experience can get the best out of what is currently an injury hit squad. New signing James Norwood – who bagged 29 goals in League Two for Tranmere last season – will need to hit the ground running if a title challenge is to be sustained.

Trying to avoid the drop?

BURY/BOLTON – It feels cruel to mention these two clubs, such is the ruin they face. While Bolton will be better known to fans of top-flight football, both clubs are former FA Cup winners, and both clubs start the season with 12-point deductions due to financial problems. Bolton are facing consecutive relegations – having dropped down from the Championship – possible further points deductions and currently have a squad containing just seven senior players. Yet somehow, the future looks bleaker for Bury whose first game of the season against MK Dons has been suspended after they failed to satisfy the EFL that they have the necessary financial means in place.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS – The season outlook could have been even worse for The Chairboys had Gareth Ainsworth departed to QPR and taken the manager’s job at the club where he made over 150 appearances as a player. Instead, QPR opted for Mark Warburton and Wycombe got to keep the man that helped them successfully battle relegation last season. They’ll be hoping he can once again overcome budget cuts and guide an ageing squad to safety. With Bury and Bolton guaranteed to occupy the bottom two spots, it’s likely they’ll be fighting it out with Southend United to stay out of the one remaining spot.

EFL LEAGUE ONE BETTING ODDS

Sunderland are favourites to win the title at 7/2 (4.50). Whilst the other main contenders to win the league are Ipswich and Portsmouth both at 13/2 (7.50), Rotherham are outsiders at 12/1 (13.00). Peterborough will have aspirations for the Top 6, and therefore the Play-Offs, and are 11/10 (2.10) to fulfil them. Lincoln City are 5/2 (3.50) and Burton Albion are at 11/4 (3.75) for Top 6 finishes.

At the other end of the table Bury are relegation favourites at 1/10 (1.10), followed by Bolton at 1.66 (2/3), Wycombe at 11/4 (3.75) and Southend at 33/10 (4.30). James Norwood of Ipswich is favourite to finish top scorer at 61/10 (7.10), closely followed by Mohamed Eisa of Peterborough and John Marquis of Doncaster both at 38/5 (8.60).

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

EFL Championship Season Betting Preview

The EFL Championship is arguably the toughest domestic competition across the entirety of English football. Beginning on 2nd August the season stretches all the way to the Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium on 25th May.

The EFL Championship

Make no mistake, competing week to week in the Championship is tough. If you want to excel in the league, you’re going to need to overcome a number of obstacles.

Firstly, the season is a slog. Comprising 46 league fixtures, plus additional matches for teams that make the Play-Offs, long-term fitness is key to a successful season. As is grit. The league has a real mixture of teams and playing styles, but almost every game is a battle. Especially with the sides that are newly promoted from League One.

For promotion hopefuls, big match mentality is a must. Last season, Derby finished in 6th place, nine points behind third-placed Leeds. But it was Derby who triumphed in the Play-Off semi-finals. Play-Off winners Aston Villa finished 18 points behind title winners Norwich, but it mattered not during the Play-Offs as they sealed promotion in “Football’s richest game” at Wembley.

Finally, if you want to win the title, you need quality. Because if you do make it to the promised land of the Premier League, you need to have a core of players within your squad with the ability to step up a level and keep you there.  

The contenders for the top?

LEEDS As the highest placed team from last season that remained in the league, Leeds are understandably favourites to top the table. Marcelo Bielsa’s revolution of the former giant continues unabated, with Leeds hoping to return to where they belong – the top flight of English football. Leeds were unlucky to miss out last season in the Play-Offs – they were the best team in the league on the stattos favourtie stat, XG – and will hope to secure an automatic spot this time around.

FULHAM – The Cottagers have made an immediate return to the Championship following their ‘one and done’ stint in the Premier League. Scott Parker took over managerial duties towards the end of the season and helped squeeze a couple of wins out of the side that would finish the campaign with the worst defensive record in the league. While Jean Michaël Seri and Ryan Babel have both left the club and joined Turkish side Galatasaray the club have retained start striker Aleksandar Mitrović who scored 12 goals in 17 appearances the last time the club competed at this level.

Destined for the drop?

CHARLTON – As is the way of things with promotion/relegation, the promoted sides are almost always favoured to drop back down again. In this case, Charlton are no different. Having secured their passage to the Championship via a dramatic last-minute win in the League One Play-Off final against Sunderland, The Addicks also – eventually – signed manager Lee Bowyer to a new contract. Last season’s top scorer Lyle Taylor has also re-signed, but Play-Off hero Patrick Bauer has moved to Preston.

READING – Of the non-promoted sides, The Royals look the most likely to get sucked into a relegation battle. They finished one spot above relegation, in 20th place, for the second campaign in a row and continued the trend of finishing 17th or lower in four of the past five seasons. Last season they managed back-to-back league wins just once – with those victories coming against bottom side Ipswich and Wigan who were dreadful on the road. Manager Jose Gomes has parted ways from six clubs before reaching the 17 games in charge mark. Reading have also done little business outside of signing Charlie Adam. So, all in all, it’s not looking positive.

EFL CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING ODDS

Leeds are favourites to win the title at 9/2 (5.50). Whilst the other main contenders to win the league are Fulham at 7/1 (8.00), Cardiff at 10/1 (11.00) and Stoke at 12/1 (13.00). Charlton are relegation favourites at 11/4 (3.25), closely followed by Barnsley at 5/2 (3.50), Reading at 9/4 (3.75) and QPR at 3/1 (4.00). For a top-six finish, and therefore automatic promotion or a Play-Off spot, you can back West Brom at 11/10 (2.10), Brentford at 3/2 (2.50) and last season’s losing finalists Derby at 9/4 (3.25). Aleksandar Mitrović is favourite to finish top scorer at 6/1 (7.00).  

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

New Zealand vs England: Cricket World Cup Final Betting Preview

On Sunday, hosts and pre-tournament favourites England will take on surprise package New Zealand in the final of the Cricket World Cup, at the home of cricket, Lords.   

England have never been under as much pressure in one day cricket as in this tournament. Entering the competition as world number one and host nation will do that to a side. Despite a few wobbles along the way, they’ve stepped up to the crease and smashed it out of the ground when it mattered. New Zealand, meanwhile, entered with few expectations, all of which have been surpassed on their surprising march to the final. With neither side having won the competition before, no matter what, we’ll have a new World Cup winner come the end of the match.

New Zealand

New Zealand were not supposed to beat cricket powerhouse India in the semi-final but beat them they did. New Zealand entered the reserve day with batsmen at the crease – poor weather causing the game to carry over into Wednesday – and posted a total of 239-8, which should not have been an insurmountable target for India. Unfortunately for the Indian openers, the Kiwi bowlers came flying out of the traps and India soon found themselves at 5-3; a position from which they could not recover.

While New Zealand may be surprising finalists, they are not to be underestimated. In captain Kane Williamson the Black Caps have one of the world’s best batsmen and the player with the best batting average, 91.33, in the tournament. Bowlers Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult are the 5th and 6th highest wicket-takers respectively, while as a team, New Zealand have the highest win percentage in the World Cup.

England

Make no mistake, England absolutely destroyed Australia in the semi-final at Edgbaston. Yes, Australia who have won the World Cup five times and are unbeaten in seven semi-final appearances. Admittedly, the ground is a stronghold for England and a location at which the Aussies have not tasted victory for almost two decades; but when Finch won the toss and elected to bat, there would have been a certain amount of trepidation within the English ranks. This has been a tournament where batting first has been a distinct advantage.

Luckily for England, their new-ball partnership of Archer and Woakes didn’t get the memo and tore into the Aussie openers immediately, with Australian captain Finch falling lbw to the first delivery he faced. Before they knew it, Australia were 14-3 and in a position from which they would not recover, posting a target of 223 all out for England to chase. And chase it they did. Openers Bairstow and Roy, in particular, were outstanding as ever, before Root and captain Morgan entered the fray and quickly put the game beyond doubt, securing a first final appearance for England since 1992.

NEW ZEALAND VS ENGLAND: CRICKET WORLD CUP FINAL BETTING ODDS

England are favourites to win, with odds of 3/11 (3.25) for victory. New Zealand are at 9/4 (3.25) to upset an entire nation.

New Zealand vs England: Cricket World Cup Final Betting Tips

England have already defeated New Zealand in the World Cup, with Jonny Bairstow scoring 106 runs to lead England to victory by 119 runs. New Zealand will have to be at their absolute best to triumph and are at odds of 9/4 (3.25) to win, England are favourites at 3/11 (1.27).

Jason Roy had a terrific knock against Australia – just ask Steve Smith – and, had he not been given out by a poor decision, could have gone on to post a massive score. So, we’re backing Jason Roy as the top match batsman at 61/20 (4.05).



*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.



Brazil vs Peru: Copa América Final Betting Preview

On Sunday, hosts and pre-tournament favourites Brazil will take on surprise package Peru in the final of the Copa América at the legendary Maracana Stadium.   

As mentioned in our Copa América preview, few teams have ever been under as much pressure to win a home tournament as Brazil were at the start of the competition that marks the centenary of their first Copa América triumph. Brazil are yet to feel the pressure though and with a solid team based upon the foundations of a robust defence, they are one step away from achieving redemption for the humiliation they suffered the last time they hosted a tournament.  

Brazil

The Seleção had not made it beyond the quarter-finals in any of the past three Copa tournaments, even falling at the group stage three years ago. This led the team’s coach, Tite, to turn to experience in an effort to instil more defensive solidity into their general play than was evident at last year’s World Cup. Thus far, the choices have been rewarded and Brazil have progressed to the final with a perfect defensive record. Goalkeeper Allison Becker is currently in a run of outstanding form, having kept nine clean sheets in a row for both club and country.

Without Neymar Jr as a focal point, the Brazilian attacking effort has been a collaborative one, with Firmino, Coutinho and Everton each scoring two goals. While there were victories of 3-0 and 5-0 for Brazil in the Group stages, Brazil’s progress through the knockouts has been far from explosive. They required a penalty shootout to defeat Paraguay in the quarter-finals and their win against Argentina in the semi-finals was solely due to the performance of the referee if Lionel Messi is to be believed.  

Peru

It’s safe to say that Peru were not expected to do much in this tournament. In the 2018 World Cup they failed to make it past the group stage and they entered the competition with an inexperienced squad – only five players in the squad having made appearances in the double figures. They also had a 35-year-old striker, in Paulo Guerrero, leading the line.

Despite all this, and despite a 5-0 thumping by Brazil in the group stage, Peru are in the final and hoping for their first Copa América triumph since 1975 and only the third in their history. Since being destroyed by Brazil, Peru seem to have sorted themselves out. They dispatched an experienced Uruguay side in the quarter-finals and dumped out Chile – the winners of the last two Copa’s – in the semis. They are also complete underdogs and under no pressure to triumph.

BRAZIL VS PERU: COPA AMERICA FINAL BETTING ODDS

Brazil enter this fixture as overwhelming favourites to win at odds of 2/7. Peru are given very little chance of winning the final at 11/1.

Brazil vs Peru: Copa América Final Betting Tips

There’s not a lot of value to be found in a Brazil win, given how heavily favoured they are, the previous encounter between the sides in the tournament and Brazil’s perfect defence.

We’d bet on that defence to come up trumps again and go for them to keep another clean sheet. So why not be on Brazil to win to nil at 19/25.

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.



USA vs Netherlands: FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Betting Preview

On Sunday, World Cup holders USA take on European champions the Netherlands in Lyon, France, in the Women’s World Cup Final.   

The USWNT entered this tournament as reigning champions, the number one side in the world rankings and undeniable favourites to win the tournament. They are exactly where they expected to be. Despite winning the European Championship in 2017, the Netherlands weren’t exactly among the favourites at the beginning of the competition, with both France and England favoured ahead of them. Unfortunately for both those sides, they found themselves in the wrong half of the draw and came up against the USA in the knockout rounds, while the Dutch were able to avoid them until now.

USA

The USWNT (United States Women’s National Team) are the team to beat in women’s football and have done their best to demonstrate that fact at every opportunity. This approach has not exactly won them any friends though. A 13-0 drubbing of Thailand drew condemnation for the eager celebrations of every single goal, while Alex Morgan’s tea sipping goal celebration against England didn’t do much for US-Anglo relations.

As mentioned above, Jill Ellis’ side have not had an easy route to the final, facing France in the quarter-final and Phil Neville’s Lionesses in the semi-final. On both occasions the US ran out 2-1 winners, a feat they also managed in the round of 16 against Spain. Alex Morgan is currently top of the goalscoring charts, on six goals, alongside England’s Ellen White. Should White draw a blank in the 3rd place play-off against Sweden, a goal in the final will bag the golden boot for Morgan. Should both players remain level, Morgan will win the tie-break due to her greater number of assists.

Netherlands

The Netherlands may not have entered the tournament among the major favourites, despite winning the most recent European Championships on home soil, but they were certainly considered a strong team with a good chance of making it into the knockout rounds. In only their second World Cup appearance, having debuted in 2015, the Dutch have certainly exceeded expectations.

While they’ve had an easier run through the knockout stages than their opponents, the Netherlands did top a tricky group that contained a decent Canada side. In the knockout rounds, the Netherlands conceded only one goal, overcoming Japan, Italy and Sweden along the way. The semi-final against Sweden was a dull affair, with the only goal of the match being scored by Jackie Groenen in extra-time. Midfielder Sherida Spitse has been the team’s creative catalyst and has the most assists in the tournament, with four to her name.

USA VS NETHERLANDS: FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP FINAL BETTING ODDS

USA are clear favourites to win the final and retain the World Cup at 2/5. The Netherlands are very much outsiders at 63/10.

USA vs Netherlands: FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Betting Tips

Anything other than a USA win would be a complete upset. They are ranked number one in the world for a reason and have seen off some pretty big sides in hosts France and much fancied England.

With such little value to be found in backing the USA to win, we’d opt for a specific bet relating to the scoreline. The USA have won each of their three knockout games 2-1 so we’d back them to repeat that feat and win 2-1 against the Netherlands at 32/5.

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.





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