As you’ve probably read and heard from all and sundry regarding the football leagues, these will be quickfire summings up of League One and two. We start with League One….
Title: All three clubs to finish above Portsmouth last season were promoted and Pompey themselves were actually just three points behind second-placed Barnsley. Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness are excellent wide additions and Ross McCorie adds a high-class contracts option to a squad that has already proven its quality. They make far more appeal than Sunderland, who didn’t manage to land the same prices last season and who struggled badly going forward. It is a surprise that Peterborough do not go off shorter given the brilliant summer they’ve had in the transfer market and it’s that which makes them more appealing as a betting option than the favourites Sunderland. Rotherham couldn’t quite handle the Championship but they’ve got plenty going for them at this level and Paul Warne has a glut of helpful recent Championship experience.
Advice: 2.5 pts each/way Portsmouth (6/1 SkyBet), 1 pt each/way Peterborough (11/1 Unibet, 10/1 general), 1 pt each/way Rotherham (12/1 general)
Promotion: 5 pts Portsmouth (15/8 Bet365), 2 pts Peterborough (10/3 Ladbrokes), 1.5 pts Rotherham (4/1 general)
Relegation: I take no pleasure in writing this but Bolton would do well to stay up even without a 12-point penalty. In a table based only on results in the second half of the season Southend were fourth from bottom and two of the sides to finish below them were relegated. A host of key players are still injured and the squad looks even thinner now.
Advice: 10 pts Bolton (8/11 Betway), 3 pts Southend (4/1 general)
Top Scorer: John Marquis scored 25 goals for Doncaster last year and if their playoff semi-final defeat hasn’t scarred them too much then they should be there or thereabouts and he can surely go well. Kieran Agard scored 20 goals for MK Dons last season in their successful promotion bid but he has been at this level before and scored 22 goals in 2013/14 with Rotherham. 25 goals won this award last season and 18 would have earned you a place so the 33’s about him seems to be value.
James Norwood is already favourite but he scored 29 goals in League 2 last season and if Ipswich go half as well as the market expects then he should surely be going for 20 goals.
Advice: 2 pts each/way Kieran Agard (33/1 general), 1.5 pts each/way James Norwood (9/1 Paddy Power), 1 pt each/way John Marquis (10/1 Betfair)
Handicap: If we fancy Portsmouth and Peterborough for the title, then it makes sense to back them with starts of 5 and 6 points. For an outsider, Coventry might surprise despite being homeless.
Advice: 1 pt Portsmouth +5 (18/1 Bet365), 1 pt each/way Peterborough +6 (18/1 Bet365), 1 pt each/way Coventry +17 (18/1 Bet365)