EFL fan Ben Levene (@benlevene96) has scoured the dozens of League One specials markets and has shared his best bets ahead of the 2018/19 big kick-off.
WLB Season Preview 2018/19 | League One: Specials
Burton Albion were unable to pull off another miracle last season and ultimately succumbed to relegation back to League One.
In the three seasons prior, the Brewers had achieved consecutive promotions from League Two to the Championship, and then survived against all-odds.
The Burton fairytale encountered an obstacle last season, but is too soon to say it’s all over?
Burton to be the Top Midlands Team (15/8 Bet365)
Challenges and adversity can be used to an advantage and two years of Championship experience will certainly stand this tight-knit Burton squad in good stead.
The likes of Kyle McFadzean, Damien McCrory, Lucas Akins and Lloyd Dyer have unknowingly soaked up minutes of high-level competitive action over the last two seasons. They are better players than they were back in the Brewers’ League One promotion campaign.
Nigel Clough is a pragmatic manager, and he knows what he wants. That’s probably why he’s brought in John Brayford to play under him for the four time in his career.
Over the past two seasons, Burton have regularly fielded a back-five, so the fact they’ve toyed with 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 systems over the summer is vindictive of how Clough aims to approach League One.
To be the best at any level, you need some form of X-factor. An extra-gear, if you like… Liam Boyce could be that missing piece.
The striker experienced an injury-stricken campaign after moving to the Midlands from Ross County. Boyce broke into the Burton side late last season and showed glimpses that suggest that he’s more than capable of firing at League One standard.
In the SPL Boyce scored 48 times in 99 appearances for a Ross County side that achieved finishes of ninth, sixth and seventh. To provide some context, Jason Cummings of Peterborough boasted an inferior ratio for Hibs in the division below.
Whilst multiple question marks can be posed at Burton, the market is underestimating them. It’s 15/8 that Albion finish as Top Midlands Team come May and I’m backing them to trump Coventry, Shrewsbury and Walsall to that tag.
Luton to finish in the top-six (7/4 William Hill)
Burton earned League One promotion straight after coming up from League Two, and Nathan Jones’ Luton will be targeting a similar feat.
Over the past 13 seasons, 50% of teams coming up from the fourth tier have finished inside League One’s top-half at the first-time of asking – 17% finished in the top-six.
The Hatters secured League Two promotion via a brand of football we rarely see at that level. Impressive recruitment this summer indicates they are set to evolve once again.
Sonny Bradley looks a shrewd addition at the heart of defence, while Jorge Grant add quality at the other-end. Jones has a deep squad at his disposal, and that’s a massive plus point coming into the new season.
The Hatters were League Two’s highest scoring team by a massive 15 goals. They have the attacking quality to seamlessly bridge the gap between divisions and can be backed to finish in the top-six at 7/4 (William Hill).
Southend +22 Handicap each-way (18/1 William Hill)
Another outfit with a deep pool of talent are Southend.
With a full pre-season to stamp his authority, Chris Powell could mount a challenge at a second League One title, this time with the club he featured for 290 times as a player.
Defensively they will be tough to breach and additions including Harry Lennon, Timothee Dieng, Luke Hyam, and Tom Hopper can all play a part.
The Shrimpers have a balance between wise-heads and youth, and physicality and skill. The likes of Anton Ferdinand, Ben Turner, Ben Coker, Jason Demetriou and Simon Cox have massive experience and that has to be beneficial.
With the quick turnover between games, Southend’s strong squad are well-equipped to have a positive campaign.
Southend can improve on successive finishes of seventh and 10th. Their squad is capable and with a +22 start on the handicap line, they’ll give you a run for your money at 18/1 each-way with William Hill.
2018/19 League One- Burton to be the Top Midlands Team (15/8 Bet365)
2018/19 League One – Luton to finish in the top-six (7/4 William Hill)
2018/19 League One – Southend +22 Handicap each-way (18/1 William Hill)