The opening weekend of the English Football League divisions has thrown up some excellent match bets, albeit not in the English Championship but further down the pyramid. For some Championship bets, check our Watford bet from earlier in the week. In addition, we have already covered the pre-season and future bets earlier in the week for English League Two and English League One for your weekend punting leisure.
In English League One opening round of fixtures, there are three teams worth backing – Gillingham, Peterborough and Walsall – while Fleetwood and Newport leap off the English League Two betting coupon.
It is difficult to rank the attractiveness of the five bets in order so let’s discuss their merits in the order in which they are listed, starting with English League Two champion Gillingham to beat Colchester at odds of 2.15 at UK giant Coral bookmaker.
Gillingham boss Martin Allen is a good operator in England’s lower leagues and he managed to get the Gills into the third tier with his trademark no-nonsense style of football to the fore. Gillingham won English League Two despite losing the plot in the final few weeks of last season and Allen has improved the overall quality of the Gills squad over the summer months, bringing in three new attacking players.
Colchester struggled to remain in English League One and nothing that United manager Joe Dunne has done during the off season suggests that his side will be positioned anywhere other than towards the foot of the ladder.
Peterborough should be right in the thick of the English League One title race. The Posh were unfortunate to be relegated from the English Championship, posting 54 points after being the eighth strongest team in the second half of the campaign. Peterborough has lost Dwight Gayle to Crystal Palace – the Eagles paid big bucks for him to replace Wilfried Zaha – but it managed to retain Lee Tomlin.
Swindon qualified for the English League One play-offs last term but the Robins do not have a permanent manager and many of their most influential players have abandoned ship. Mark Cooper, who was appointed caretaker boss last month, has signed a number of Tottenham youngsters on loan but the outlook for Swindon does not look bright. Peterborough is acceptably priced at odds of around 2.00 for a home win.
Walsall defied the odds last season and Saddlers chief Dean Smith is confident that he has made the necessary signings to replace the 38 goals scored by Fabian Brandy, Will Grigg and Jamie Paterson. Smith’s side beat Leeds comprehensively in its most meaningful pre-season friendly and, also, gave Nottingham Forest a good game in a narrow defeat. Walsall will fancy its chance of getting off to a winning start, particularly as it welcomes Tranmere to Banks’s Stadium.
Tranmere led English League One for a prolonged period last term only to fall away terribly in the final third of the campaign. Rovers lost their last six away matches without scoring a single goal. Indeed, Tranmere failed to find the back of the net in any of their final half a dozen games, irrespective of venue. Heaven knows what has been going through the heads of Rovers players in the lead up to the new season but the chances are that there was nothing positive. Walsall appeals at odds of around 2.20.
Fleetwood is one of the English League Two title favourites and, even though bookmakers may be overrating the Cod Army since they did finish last term in 14th position, they have recruited well and their first assignment is a home match against a team that everyone is tipping to struggle big time, Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers survived by the skin of their teeth last season. They may not be so lucky again.
While Fleetwood is odds on at prices around the 1.73 mark with Coral again, English League Two newcomer Newport is odds against to put Accrington to the sword. County will have the support of a full house for their historic home game versus another side that most pundits are forecasting will struggle, Accrington. Stanley have a novice manager in ex-England striker James Beattie, who probably does not know how much he has bitten off in accepting the challenge of being their player-boss.
Home teams such as Queens Park Rangers (trading at odds of 1.87 at BetVictor to defeat Sheffield Wednesday) and Reading (available at odds of around 2.00 with BetVictor aswell to down Ipswich) could make a mockery of their prices but they are two sides probably best watched at this stage of proceedings.
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