Ahead of the brand-new League One season, we take a look at who Sky Bet believe will be going up, fighting for the playoffs or heading for League Two next season.
After last minute heartbreak in the Playoff final last season, its Sunderland who are favourites to finish top of League One this season with odds of 4/1. With the likes of Will Grigg and Aiden McGeady still at the club, Jack Ross is to be expected to be able to achieve promotion and get the Blackcats back up the leagues. Behind them are recently relegated Ipswich Town with odds of 6/1 and Portsmouth with 7/1; both these sides probably believe that with the stature of the club and the experience in the squad that they should be aiming for promotion, if not the title.
Again, its Sunderland who are favourites with Sky Bet to achieve automatic promotion alongside Ipswich Town with odds of 2/1 and 10/3 accordingly, with most believing that this should be the only aim for the clubs after recent shock relegations from the second tier. Portsmouth and relegated Rotherham are just behind with odds of 7/2 and 9/2, and with their competitive budgets and wealth of experience its easy to see why.
Outside Sunderland and Ipswich, its Portsmouth who are the favourites to achieve promotion to the Championship via winning the playoffs with odds of 10/1. After narrowly missing out in the semi finals to the aforementioned Sunderland last season, the club are hoping to bounce straight back despite the loss of Matt Clarke and the expected sale of Jamal Lowe and have added to the squad strongly with the likes of Sean Raggett and Ellis Harrison.
In terms of making the playoffs, and ignoring the two clubs’ favourites for automatic promotion, Portsmouth, Rotherham, Peterborough and Doncaster are the favourites to occupy the 4 playoff spots, with odds of 9/4, 5/2, 11/4 and 10/3 respectively. Both Portsmouth and Doncaster made the playoffs last season, but both suffered defeat in the semi-finals of the competition, with Peterborough only missing out on the final playoff spot to Doncaster by only one point. All three teams are expected to follow suit and compete again this season. Recently relegated Rotherham always compete in League One and hold a strong squad with the additions of Freddie Ladapo and Carlton Morris.
The four clubs with the best odds to be relegated from League One this season are Bury, Bolton, AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley with odds of 4/11, 7/4, 3/1 and 3/1 to respectively. It comes as no surprise to see both Bury and Bolton as the top 2 of this list, with both Lancashire outfits in off-field turmoil, with Bolton already having a points deduction and the mere existence of Bury Football Club still hanging by a thread. AFC Wimbledon pulled off the great escape last year after a great run of results after the appointment of Wally Downes, but with the strength of the league this year it could prove difficult for the team to capture the same magic. Likewise, for Accrington Stanley, who although performed well at the start of the season, dropped off slightly towards the backend resulting in a midseason finish. Yet again, the sheer size and financial ability of some of the clubs now in the league compared to the notoriously small in stature Stanley means a difficult season could be in store.
Let us know your thoughts ahead of the new Sky Bet League One season.