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.

Charlton Athletic vs Sunderland AFC: League One Play-off Final Betting Preview

On Sunday, Charlton and Sunderland will face-off at Wembley stadium for promotion to the Championship, in the League One play-off final.

Rewind 13 years to 2006 and this fixture would be taking place in the Premier League. Unfortunately for both clubs, a lot has changed in the intervening years. Sunderland were relegated at the end of 2005/06 and Charlton would follow a year later. Whilst Sunderland would return immediately to the Premier League, and stay there for the next decade, Charlton have not been seen since, going through various promotions and relegations between the Championship and League One.

Charlton Athletic

Following a run that saw just a single loss in their last 15 league games, Charlton secured a third-place finish, entering them into the play-offs for the first time since 1998, when they also met Sunderland in the final.

On paper, Charlton had the easier semi-final fixture, meeting sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers, who finished 15 points behind them and 12 points adrift of fifth-placed Sunderland. They didn’t make easy work of it though, winning the first leg at Keepmoat Stadium 2-1, but losing 3-2 at The Valley. Extra-time and penalties were needed to send them through to the final.

Sunderland AFC

Despite suffering the fewest losses in the league, Sunderland would miss out on an automatic promotion spot due to their league-high 19 draws. Their hopes for automatic promotion were further harmed by an awful run of form in their last nine fixtures, comprising only two wins, four draws and three losses.

It’s not all doom and gloom though for the Black Cats, with the team showing plenty of mental resilience in the play-off semi-finals. They held onto a 1-0 lead in the first leg despite going down to ten men only five minutes after scoring, and at Fratton Park, in the second leg, Jack Ross’ men were able to grind out a 0-0 draw and seal progression into the final.

CHARLTON VS SUNDERLAND: PLAY-OFF FINAL BETTING ODDS

This is the closest matchup of all the play-off finals, with not a lot to choose between the two sides. Sunderland are marginal favourites at 13/9 (2.45) to seal promotion, with Charlton slight outsiders at odds of 13/7 (2.85).

Charlton vs Sunderland: League One Play-off Final Betting Tips

It might seem a little surprising that Charlton, the form team in League One over the last 15 fixtures, aren’t entering this game as favourites. Especially given Sunderland’s poor finish to the season. As ever, context is key. Sunderland’s poor run was against top-half opposition in all but one of their last nine games. And while they haven’t been winning, they’ve not been getting beaten.

Sunderland have edged it over the two fixtures between the sides this season, winning at home and drawing away, and have an experienced squad who shouldn’t wilt under the pressure of the occasion. However, they’ve been leaky of late, with both teams scoring in seven of their last ten fixtures, so we’d opt for Sunderland to win and both teams to score at 39/10 (4.9).

*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of going to print.

Premier League – week 10

More Misery for Moyes: Sunderland 1 – 4 Arsenal

David Moyes’ Sunderland can’t catch a break, after being defeated again on Saturday, this time by a confident Arsenal. The Gunners looked strong throughout with Sanchez opening the scoring at the 19’mark, despite Defoe equalising for The Black Cats at 65’. The visitors sealed the deal with 3 goals in just 6 minutes and 20 seconds; two from Giroud at 71’ and 76’, and another from Sanchez at 78’. The win briefly put the Gunners at the top of the league, before Man City ousted them later in the day.

Mourinho Loses His Cool Again: Man Utd 0 – 0 Burnley

Burnley held United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Mourinho continued his downward spiral to chaos. The United manager was sent off, after letting his temper get the better of him again, and forced to watch from the director’s box for most of the second half. Midfielder Ander Herrera was also sent off, after his second yellow card, in the 68th minute. United slipped to 8th in the table, while Burnley climbed to 13th at the end of the match.

The Boro Get a Win: Middlesbrough 2 – 0 Bournemouth

Middlesbrough got a Premier League win, finally, at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday – their first in 8 games. Victory came courtesy of Ramirez and Downing, with a goal each; backed up by impressive action from Middlesbrough keeper Víctor Valdés, and constant pressure from Adama Traoré. Middlesbrough ended up climbing to 14th in the league, while the Cherries remained at 10th.

Foxes Find a Point: Tottenham 1 – 1 Leicester

The current champions secured their first away point by holding Spurs to a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. The home side had several attempts and took the lead thanks to a penalty from Vincent Janssen, but seemed to lack spirit in the second half – maybe missing Harry Kane.  Musa equalised for the Foxes in the 48th minute, and the match ended with Leicester climbing to 11th and Tottenham to 4th.

Hull Torpedo Themselves: Watford 1 – 0 Hull

It looked like it was going to end in a draw at Vicarage Road, but Hull’s captain, Michael Dawson, found the back of his own net in the 82nd minute after deflecting Daryl Janmaat’s cross. Its Hull’s 6th Premier League defeat in a row, and the Tigers were struggling throughout. Hull manager Mike Phelan needs to find a way to rally his depressed side as they languish in the relegation zone at 18th, meanwhile The Hornets ended up sitting above Manchester United, 7th in the league.

Baggies Go Down Fighting: West Brom 0 – 4 Man City

The Baggies were destroyed by a resurgent Manchester City, at the Hawthorns on Saturday. Despite a valiant attempt to fight back in the second half, West Brom never found a break. City were on the attack and two goals each from Agüero and Gündogan ended Pep Guardiola’s troubles, and kept them at the top of the league.

Serious Action at Selhurst Park: Crystal Palace 2 – 4 Liverpool

After a thrilling clash at Selhurst Park on Saturday, The Reds moved up level on points with the league leaders. Four goals from Can, Lovren, Matip and Firmino secured victory for Liverpool. They didn’t have it all their own way though, with Palace’s McArthur equalising in the 18th minute, and then finding the net again in the 33rd.

Toffees Chew Up the Hammers: Everton 2 – 0 West Ham

The Toffees clinched a win over West Ham on Sunday, securing victory by the way of goals from Lukaku and Barkley. Slaven Bilic’ side, that had looked the stronger in the first half, is now just 3 points ahead of the relegation zone teams. It wasn’t all bad for West Ham though, with Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini Michail Antonio proving that the Hammers do have some serious talent if they could just find focus.

A Hazard to the Saints: Southampton 0 – 2 Chelsea

Sunday also saw Chelsea soundly beat Southampton, with an organised and confident team. Eden Hazard proved that he’s getting back to top form, supplying one of the winning goals after just 6 minutes, and displaying the style we saw back in 2014-15. Another goal came from Diego Costa in the 55th minute. Chelsea ended the day moving up to 4th, snapping at the leaders with just 1 point separating them from the top 3.

Potters Pummel Swansea: Stoke 3 – 1 Swansea

The Potters claimed their third Premier League victory in a row, beating Swansea at the Bet365 stadium on Monday. Stoke dominated from the start, with so many chances that it victory was inevitable. The Potters were leading after just 3 minutes thanks to Bony, before Routledge levelled things at the 8th minute mark. However, Bob Bradley’s side were unable to handle the relentless pressure being piled on by the Potters, and Swansea’s Mawson found his own goal in the 55th minute. The deal was sealed with another goal from Bony at the 73’ mark. Swansea languish in the relegation zone, still looking for their first win of the season.

 

Photo by Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

Premier League – Week 2

Here is a highlight re-cap of the second week of the Premier League 2016-17 season:

Pogba debut and PL on Friday

The highly anticipated return of Paul Pogba to Old Trafford, happened on Friday’s match against Southampton. The most expensive player in the world did not disappoint, however Zlatan was one to shine once again. After his 2 goals, Man Utd secure their second win and it looks like it will be very difficult to beat them this season. “We are becoming better and better. It’s a good start. We need to get used to winning,” Ibrahimovic said.

Citizens on Top of the Table

Manchester City started last week with an unconvincing win against Sunderland, but their second game at Stoke looked totally different; a comfortable 4:1 win after goals from Nolito and Aguero. Sergio has already 3 goals in 2 games and together with Zlatan is joint top goal scorer. It seems that we will have an excellent battle between both teams from Manchester this season.

Good Start for Conte

A solid start from The Blues so far, although Conte’s side is not looking as impressive as his biggest rivals from Manchester, but six points in two games says that they will be one to watch. Batshuayi’s first goal for Chelsea, and late goal from Diego Costa, were enough to win at Watford.

Others Struggle

Liverpool once again proved that defence is not their strongest point after losing 2:0 to Burnley. Klopp said: “We have to accept it. Burnley deserved to win with a very passionate performance. We have to say it was not enough today”. Last year’s champions, Leicester City, were unable to get 3 points once again after drawing with Arsenal 0:0 at the Emirates Stadium. The Foxes have now gone 20 Premier League games without a win against The Gunners. At last another team to fight for a title, Tottenham won 1:0 after a 82’ goal, by new signing, Victor Wanyama.

 

Photo by André Zahn / CC BY



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