With only a few days to go until the Football League gets up and running again excitement is in the air up and down the country as fans dream of a promotion winning season that despite what bookies and fans of other teams will tell them seem possible, if only for the briefest of moments.
A new season also brings around a wave of different betting markets to look at whether it be outright winners, relegation, promotion, leading scorers or even top of their local area. One market which offers genuine value for people who do a bit of homework is season match betting, this market pitches two teams against each other and the winner is whoever finishes higher come the end of the season. As with any bet placed you need a bit of luck along the way, no-one can compensate for a team suddenly lose five of their best players to injury or if they are forced to sell their wonder-kid to a Premier League big boy but that’s the beauty of betting. We’ve taken a look at all the season match bets on offer and come up with a list we think has a great chance of delivering us some profit come the end of the season. Hopefully we won’t be far away.
Blackburn had a cracking finish to the 2012/13 season narrowly missing out on the play-offs and after a few years of turmoil it looks as though Gary Bowyer has found some much needed stability at Ewood Park. The fans will be in optimistic mood and the signings of Alex Baptiste Chris Brown and Luke Varney will give them more depth but this is nothing compared to the major boost of Jordan Rhodes committing his future to the club. Rhodes has bagged over 25 goals in his last three seasons and with him leading the line Blackburn have a great chance of pushing for the top six. Bolton on the other hand have made a few decent signings but they look short of a few match winners in their squad. They don’t look in any threat of a relegation battle but mid-table looks the best they’ll achieve.
After a couple of season’s keeping out of trouble Huddersfield Town look as though they can start to become a stable Championship outfit and push towards mid-table. Mark Robins has got his side working hard and a settled team with a few handy additions means they should be able to progress once again. Rotherham on the other hand are coming into the Championship after back-to-back promotions and despite a few decent signings this will be a huge step up for the Millers and a season of struggle looks on the cards.
Ipswich were in and around the play-offs for a large part of last season but dropped off badly towards the end of the season as a lack of depth proved costly. In Mick McCarthy though they have a manager who’ll get the best out of whatever he’s given and you can expect Ipswich to be in the top half come the end of the season. Sheffield Wednesday on the other hand have had an unsettled summer to say the least after having a takeover stall meaning singings have been at a premium. The Owls moved away from the relegation zone well once Stuart Gray took over but with a lack of signings and an extremely thin squad, unless investment comes quickly they look set for another season of struggle.
Relegation last season means Barnsley have had a big rebuilding job this summer but in Danny Wilson they have a manager with plenty of experience and knowhow. Losing Chris O’Grady was inevitable in order to balance the books but they’ve signed Sam Winnall from Scunthorpe who is capable of adding goals to their team and with a couple of signings before the window shuts they should be battling for a play-off place at least. Bradford on the other hand have failed to replace their star man Wells and matching their 11th place last season looks a big ask for Phil Parkinson.
The Blades had a remarkable 2nd half of last season and go into the new campaign as favourites for promotion to the Championship. Nigel Clough has made several impressive signings and although they might not be quite as clear cut favourites as the odds suggest they should certainly be close to top spot come the end of the season. Doncaster have had a strange summer after relegation and then a takeover collapse. They have a good manager in Paul Dickov but mixing it with the favourite’s looks a huge ask this season even with the impressive looking strike force of Nathan Tyson and Theo Robinson and it looks like play-offs at best for Donny.
After losing out in the play-off final last year Burton Albion look set for another season fighting for promotion and with a settled squad added to with a few shred additions there’s no doubts The Brewers should be looking at the automatic promotion places instead of just the play-offs this time around. York were the big over-achievers last season after an incredible defensive record that looks all but impossible to match. They also look short of a quality striker to keep them battling in and around the play-off places. They shouldn’t be in any sort of trouble but making the play-offs again looks a big ask for Nigel Worthington’s men.
Luton Town are flying high after their promotion back to the Football League and with the jump from The Conference to League 2 not being the biggest of steps in the pyramid they should be able to build off last season’s success and have another enjoyable season under John Still. Despite losing main striker Andre Gray to Brentford The Hatters have signed enough quality to be pushing for a play-off spot and if they can keep the positive momentum going who knows what they could achieve. Stevenage on the other hand finished bottom of League 1 last season and are looking to rebuild after a dismal campaign. Red hot striker for Cambridge Adam Marriot is the big signing of the summer and if he can make the step up then they may not struggle as much as expected. Other than the signing of Marriot though it’s hard to see Stevenage battling for a promotion spot with plenty of teams having more appeal including Luton.