EFL League Two Season Preview, Tips & Analysis

EFL League Two Season Preview, Tips & Analysis

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EFL League Two has firmly established itself as one of the most open, chaotic and entertaining divisions in English football. Notts County were the favourites to win the title last season, but they ran into financial trouble and ended up being relegated. That highlights the madcap, unpredictable nature of the division. It can be exhilarating for neutrals, but punters must tread carefully, so we have analysed the key betting markets for you.

Top Title Challengers

Bradford City have been installed as the favourites to clinch the League Two title in 2019/20. The Bantams finished rock bottom of League One last term, but the best football betting sites believe they have what it takes to bounce straight back up. They have signed former Everton striker James Vaughan and handed him the captain’s armband, which should help their promotion bid. Clayton Donaldson is a livewire going forward, but the defence still looks leaky and it could take another year before this underperforming squad is overhauled.

Mansfield look a lot more stable and they might make a better option in the football betting. John and Carolyn Radford have ploughed a lot of money into the club and they are desperate to secure promotion. The Stags looked all but certain to go up last season, only to lose their final three games of the campaign. That saw them drop to fourth, and they suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Newport County in the playoff.

Mansfield’s players have spent the summer regrouping, licking their wounds and preparing for another assault on the League Two title. Neal Bishop and Krystian Pearce provide a strong spine, while Nicky Maynard looks like an excellent signing. He banged in 20 goals for Bury last season, and he should lead the line with aplomb for Mansfield in 2019/20. Bet365 are offering 9/1 on Mansfield to win the title, and at those odds you could afford to go each-way and still make a tidy profit if they finish second or third.

Promotion Candidates

Scunthorpe, Walsall and Plymouth all suffered relegation from League One last season, and they are likely to be in the promotion mix in 2019/20. The bookmakers also like the look of Salford City, Northampton and Forest Green Rovers. Plymouth at 9/4 with Unibet really stand out as a team capable of making a sustained promotion push. They had the best record of all four teams that were relegated from League One last season, and they were really unlucky to go down. They finished level on points with Southend Utd and AFC Wimbledon, but they were relegated due to their slightly inferior goal difference.

Yet they have not spent the summer wallowing in melancholy. New chairman Simon Hallett seized upon Bury’s financial woes by snapping up manager Ryan Lowe, his backroom staff and five players from the Shakers. Chief among them is exciting forward Danny Mayor, who is joined at Plymouth by Will Aimson, Dom Telford, Callum McFadzean and Byron Moore. Lowe led Bury to a second-placed finish in this division last season and they were the league’s top scorers, so it seems like a shrewd move from Hallett. Lowe will immediately have the spine of a team that is familiar with his system and Plymouth look well placed to yo-yo back into League One.

Another interesting choice for promotion might be Scunthorpe, who have pulled off a coup in recruiting Paul Hurst as manager. Chairman Peter Swann has deep pockets and he could bankroll a promotion bid, but thus far recruitment has been modest. Forest Green Rovers look strong in midfield, where Reece Brown, Lloyd James and Carl Winchester have the ability to dominate teams, and they could fight their way into the promotion mix if they invest in a striker.

A longer shot could be Exeter City at 25/1 each way with 888Sport to win League Two. Matt Taylor provides a passionate, energetic presence on the sidelines and they have a strong spine in Archie Collins, Jake Taylor, Pierce Sweeney and Dean Moxey, so they should be well placed to deal with the rigours of the long League Two season.

Relegation Contenders

Sol Campbell did well to keep Macclesfield afloat last season, but he faces an uphill struggle as he bids to repeat the feat in 2019/20. Players nearly boycotted the final game of last season and they are suing the club for unpaid wages so 7/2 with Black Type about relegation looks an appealing price. Their two most dangerous attackers, Harry Smith and Scott Wilson, have left for greener pastures and it would take a miracle for Macclesfield to beat the drop.

Morecambe are the longest serving club in this division, but they will also struggle to avoid relegation in 2019/20. They battled bravely to secure an 18th placed finish last season, despite operating on the division’s smallest budget. Manager Jim Bentley is now into his ninth year in charge of the Shrimps and he knows what it takes to battle to safety in League Two, but his thin squad will be stretched to breaking point over the course of the gruelling campaign.

Golden Boot Race

Many bookmakers have named Vaughan the favourite to finish the season as the top scorer in League Two after his high-profile move to Bradford. He endured a poor record in front of goal during recent stints at Sunderland, Wigan and Portsmouth, but he did manage 24 goals in 37 League One games for Bury in 2016/17, so he should be prolific in League Two. Adam Rooney looks like another strong contender after he scored 21 goals to lead Salford out of the National League last season. He scored 66 times in 151 league matches at Aberdeen, so he will also be dangerous at this level.

Yet Maynard arguably looks like the most appealing option at 12/1 with Bet Victor. He scored 20 goals in just 37 games for Bury last season and he should slot nicely into a dangerous Mansfield attack. He is now 32 years of age and he has bags of experience, but he remains as sharp and mobile as ever, so he should enjoy a strong campaign for the title-chasing Stags.

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