The Skybet League One campaign kicks off on Saturday 8th August, alongside the Premier League, and it’s one of the toughest divisions to call. There are any number of clubs in with a shout of promotion, with the bookies making Sheffield United the tentative favourites for the title. They were short favourites at this time last year too but failed to make it past the play-offs, and if you think they can be opposed again, the league is wide open.
Sheffield United were an interesting side last season. As mentioned they started out as favourites for the league, but only really showed their best form in the cup competitions, taking the scalps of Premier League clubs, Southampton, West Ham and QPR during two sensational cup runs. Nigel Adkins has taken the reins this season, and the club have signed Billy Sharp and Connor Sammon – two very experienced strikers at this level – and they will be hoping to push on for promotion.
The odds are rather short for the title though, and Adkins hasn’t really had any success since his Southampton days. If the two new strikers hit the ground running they could fire the Blades to the top of the table, but more was expected of them last year than they delivered, and it’s hard to have too much confidence.
Wigan might have been at the head of the market, and they’re certainly the club with the highest profile in the division, having been part of the Premier League just two seasons ago. The bookies may be wondering how the Latics will respond to relegation and they’ve priced them up accordingly. They look worth a bet for promotion, on the assumption that they can follow in the footsteps of Wolves and Norwich to work their way back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
The appointment of Malky Mackay after the sacking of Uwe Rosler ended in absolute disaster last season, as the controversy that Mackay brought with him hung over the club. Wigan supremo Dave Whelan also found himself in hot water for disgraceful comments, and it’s a period that the entire club would probably prefer to forget. Ultimately the bad aura ended in relegation, and former player Gary Caldwell has been tasked with turning around the fortunes of the club. He’s probably the ideal man who can unite the fans and the players, and they’ve been very busy in the transfer market over the summer. If he can get his squad to gel, they could be a shoo-in for promotion at least.
Title Winners – +700 with BetVictor
Millwall are another of the sides relegated from the Championship last term, and another side who have appointed a former player in Neil Harris, to help lead them out of the wilderness. They were poor last season in the Championship, and the concern is that they look to be struggling to add any real quality to their squad. They’ll be competitive in the division, but there’s nothing about them that makes us want to back them from a betting perspective.
Peterborough were fancied by some to make the step up last season, but they were disappointing and finished some way adrift of the title challengers in 9th. Manager Dave Robertson took over as caretaker boss following the dismissal of Darren Ferguson last season, and he’s now taken permanent charge. Posh defender Michael Smith was quoted as saying it would be a ‘failure‘ if Peterborough don’t get promoted this season, but you have to question whether they’ll have the resources to make such a big improvement on last year. They’ve signed a lot of young players over the summer, and if they can reach their potential it could be an exciting season, but by the same token, it’s tough to expect youngsters to perform week-in-week-out over the course of a full League One season
The one club that does stand out as a value punt is Shrewsbury, who were only promoted from League Two last season. The Shrews were strongly fancied to win the title with the quality at their disposal, so it may have been a slight disappointment to lose out to Burton, but 2nd place and promotion was plenty good enough and they’ll be looking forward to a season at a higher level.
We’ve seen in the past how momentum can carry teams to successive promotions, and the gap between Leagues One and Two isn’t insurmountable. Shrewsbury invested in some quality players last season who should be able to make the step up, and they’ve already added several summer signings. The feel good factor around the club and the confidence it instills in players can’t be underestimmated, and the Shrews look a lively bet to challenge for honours this season.
Title Winners – +2500 with Bet365
Promotion – +900 with Bet365
One of our best tipsters has already pointed out the troubles that surround Blackpool at the moment, and has recommended backing them to make it successive relegations after dropping out of the Championship last season. Times are hard for the Tangerines, and they are one of those clubs suffering from eccentric owners.
Our other bets for the division surround promotion, and at the prices, both Wigan and Shrewsbury are worth and ante-post bet to work their way out of the division this term.
Skybet League One 2015/16:
To win Promotion:
Shrewsbury – +900 with Bet365
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