League Two, the fourth tier of English football, begins its 2021/22 campaign on Saturday, and here at BettingPro we have picked out a few betting angles on some of the main outright markets available as we preview another season.
What is Outright Betting?
As was the case prior to both of the last two seasons since they gained promotion from the National League, Salford City dominate the outright winner market in League Two, largely due to their significant financial backing.
However, The Ammies have failed to even reach the play-offs in either of their two seasons in the Football League so far, and while we expect that to change this season, there’s simply no value in backing them to win the division at around 6/1.
Instead, arguably the biggest club in the division in the shape of Bradford City have caught our eye with some strong recruitment on and off the pitch.
Despite gaining promotion with Morecambe last season, Derek Adams has chosen to depart them for Bradford this season, showing the undoubted potential the club has.
Indeed, the Bantams almost became a Championship side only four years ago when they were unfortunate to lose to Millwall in the League One play-off final, but they have not really come close to returning to that level since being relegated in 2019.
However, with Adams bringing the impressive defensive midfielder Yann Songo’o with him to Valley Parade – which of course will hugely benefit from fans back in a 25,000 capacity stadium – among several other proven players at this level, we think 14/1 is a big price for Bradford to win League Two.
With only two relegation places in League Two, it can be a tough market to call, but that in turn often makes for more generous odds than other divisions.
Last season, I bagged a 7/1 winner with Southend, who were disrupted by off-field issues and ultimately succumbed to the drop despite a much improved second half of the campaign.
Swindon Town are very much this season’s version of that, with huge uncertainty surrounding the club following their relegation from League One last season, but similarly to Derby in the Championship, most bookmakers are not offering odds for them to be relegated at the time of writing.
Two other sides catch my eye in this market.
Firstly, Scunthorpe United have been on a serious downward trajectory in recent seasons, having been a Championship side as recently as 2011 before reaching the League One play-off semi-finals in 2017 and 2018.
In their two seasons in League Two since being relegated, though, they have finished 20th and 22nd, suggesting it is only a matter of time before their status as a Football League club comes to an end.
Almost 20 players have left the club this summer, with only eight replacing them, illustrating the size of the task Neil Cox has on his hands. 5/1 is a more than fair price for the Irons’ luck to run out.
Next up is Hartlepool United, who returned to League Two via the National League play-offs last season after a four-year hiatus from the Football League.
Sky Sports’ presenter Jeff Stelling’s team, of course, this pick very much goes against stats and trends given that no promoted side has ever gone straight back down from League Two.
However, given that they were only promoted on 20th June due to the National League season being significantly disrupted, we just think time has been against them a little.
That becomes quite clear with their transfer business, which hasn’t been as strong as it may need to be in order to stay up. Much will depend on the strength of the sides around them, and they could well prove to be another promoted side who comfortably take to the fourth tier, but at 11/2 they’re worth a stab.
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