Sky Bet Leagues One and Two will play their final fixtures this weekend, and all the remaining issues to be decided will be settled. Bristol City wrapped up League One a few weeks ago, but it will go right to the wire between Preston and MK Dons to decide who will join them in the Championship. The relegation battle is a wide open affair, with six teams going into the weekend knowing that three of them will depart for League Two.
Burton are just one win away from securing the League Two title, having already secured promotion along with Shrewsbury, and it’s a three-way fight between Southend, Bury and Wycombe to see who will also step up a division in the third automatic spot. The relegation fight is already over, with Tranmere and Cheltenham losing their football league status, and the only other issue to be resolved is the play-offs.
The promotion race is the big story in League One, with Preston and MK Dons fighting for the second automatic position. The odds on offer at the moment heavily favour the Lancashire side:
Preston are in 2nd place at the moment with 89 points and +40 goal difference, while MK Dons are a place and a point behind on 88 with a goal difference of +53. Preston have arguably the tougher game on Sunday as they travel to a Colchester side fighting for their lives to avoid the drop. MK Dons have a home tie against the leagues bottom club – already relegated Yeovil. We’ve already discussed this battle in detail in our Long Shots article, so bear that in mind.
The Play-offs are cut and dried in every other respect, with Swindon, Sheffield United and Chesterfield secured of their positions, and it just remains to be seen who will join them out of Preston and MK Dons. We’ve already backed Sheffield United to earn promotion via the play-offs, and there’s no reason to desert them now.
The relegation battle is as tight as its been in years, with six teams facing the possibility of dropping into League Two. Here are the current odds for relegation:
Notts County – +100 with Boylesports
Crewe – +1100 with Bet365
We’ve left out Colchester and Leyton Orient who are both heavily odds-on for the drop due to their positions at the foot of the table. Colchester need to beat Preston at home and hope other results go their way, while Orient need a win away at Swindon with all the other results falling in their favour.
Concentrating on the other four, Crewe look to have the best chance of survival. As it stands Coventry and Crewe are on 52 points, with Notts County and Crawley both on 50. Crawley occupy the fourth relegation spot at the moment as their goal difference is -25 to Notts County’s -16.
Crewe have a home game against mid-table Bradford and a draw would guarantee safety – partly because Crawley and Coventry face each other in a true relegation six-pointer. Crawley are at home and a win would take them above the visitors to safety. A Coventry win would consign Crawley to relegation, but a draw might be enough for Crawley to survive if Notts County lose at Gillingham.
It’s an incredibly complicated situation, but Notts County look to have a tough fixture away at Gillingham, and they’ve been poor on their travels this season. Crawley have a great chance of getting at least a point at home to Coventry – maybe three – and they might just save themselves on the last day and leapfrog County.
Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink has taken Burton to within a whisker of the League Two title, and a win away at Cambridge on Saturday will wrap it up. Shrewsbury have followed them to automatic promotion and are just two points behind. They’re at home to play-off contenders Plymouth, and a win could see them take the title if Burton fail to get three points at Cambridge.
The real battle is for the third automatic spot, where Wycombe and Bury are hoping to steal Southend’s 3rd position. The Shrimpers are on 84 points (Bury 82, Wycombe 81) after a run of seven straight wins, and victory away at Morecombe will see them promoted. Southend are heavily odds-on to go up, and more value can be found in the play-offs.
Stevenage and Plymouth are both assured of play-off places (unless there is a remarkable set of results involving Plymouth, Luton and a huge goal-swing), and it looks highly likely that Bury and Wycombe will be joining them in the end of season competition. Of the four Stevenage stand out at the odds to be promoted. Clearly Wycombe and Bury are very short in this market at the moment, as they still have a slim chance of automatic promotion. Plymouth are quoted at a best price of +333 but shouldn’t be ahead of Stevenage in the betting.
Stevenage made their way into the play-offs in early April and have stayed there over the last few weeks with a series of positive results. It’s often the team that comes into the play-offs slightly unexpectedly, and with good momentum that does well, and they could be the surprise package. Bury and Wycombe are bound to feel deflated after coming so close to automatic promotion, and its hard for teams to raise themselves again for the play-offs so soon. Stevenage are a value call at a decent price.
League One, Sunday 3rd May
Notts County to be relegated – +100 with Boylesports
League Two, Saturday 2nd May
Once or twice per month we will provide you with the latest sports tips and keep you updated about the biggest events.