Football League Antepost

As I write this  we have witnessed in the last 24 hours the first 200 million pound transfer – a deal purported to be wirth 450 million in total – the game has truly gone. When your researching teams whose budgets are way less than 10 million in the lower leagues it is difficult to comprehend what is happening at the top of the game. Mor eon that in the Premier League preview next week.


The Championship kicks off tonight with a couple of games and it is a league I am growing more fond of. Good level of football very competitive and we were very close to a lovely touch with Brighton last year but of course they did trade very short odds on so profit could be easily guaranteed.

This year looks more open than most. Garry Monk and his Middlesboro side head the betting. They have made a couple of astute signings In Jonny Howson and Assombalonga if he can stay fit. There is a chance though that Ben Gibson could still depart for the Premier League before the month is out.

At a slightly bigger price I have to prefer Fulham who I got completely wrong last year. I thought after losing Dembele they woul struggle for goals but they proved me categorically wrong. Fulham finished the last 3 months very strongly, stronger than all the other promotion candidates collecting seven more points than Brighton since February. The manager knows the league and I expect them to be right up there this season.

Villa are hoping the experience of John Terry will make the difference. I am not so sure. Terry is used to playing with top world class players in a team that dominated 75% of its opponents. They were not great last year after 4 or 5 shambolic years and I think more time will be need, play-offs certainly on the agenda but I can’t have them at 7/1 to win the league.

Looking for the value and teams that may possibly trade lower. Promoted Sheffield United look interesting at a general 33/1 ( 40’s in places). Of the promoted sides they look most likely of replicating Southampton or Norwich who achieved back to back promotions from League One.

I then have to mention and have a punt on Nottingham Forest also available at 33/1 and 40/1. Warburton did wonders at Brentford in the Championship and knows this league and good football. The ownership problems that have dogged Forest for years are finally behind them and I think this is the start of better times.

At the bottom end Bolton and Millwall look to have a struggle ahead and I had them both below relegation market leaders Burton Albion but none of them look a bet at the prices the bookmakers have it all about right.

Of interest is Bristol City they shipped a boatload of goals last season and 6/1 looks a bit of value.

Recommended Bets – Follow at your own risk and money is tied up for the season, positions can be traded on the exchanges

Winner – Top 3 – 1/4 Odds – Fulham 1.5 Points Each Way 9/1 Ladbrokes,  Sheff Utd 0.75 Point Each Way 40/1 Ladbrokes, Nottingham Forest 0.5 Point EW 40/1 Ladbrokes

Relegation – Bristol City 1 Point 6/1 Ladbrokes


League One

Another club that have been in the doldrums for years Blackburn Rovers head the market at 4/1 after their last ditch relegation from the Championship in May. Tony Mowbray in charge I do feel had he been installed earlier they would not be in this league but that is a different proposition to getting them out of it.

Years of a toxic atmosphere against the owners this is all about price and at 7/2 to win the league I would rather be a layer.

Available at 8/1 over double the price I prefer Wigan. Historically the winner of this league comes from the first few in the betting and with a great young manager who left the next in the betting Portsmouth to take up this post it will depend how quickly he can get a largely revamped squad to gel. If they start firing quickly then the 8/1 will be tremendous value.

Portsmouth yet another troubled club that look to be on their way up, have Kenny Jackett in to replace their manager and he has twice won promotion from this league so knows exactly what it is all about. I just feel coming up from League Two this is a bit of a jump against the teams around them so 9/1 is skinny.

The only other interest I like is MK Dons at 14/1. Robbie Neilson shuttled them up the table last season form a position of despair and having had the summer to build on that and bring in new faces – Ebanks Landell – looks a good signing they may be the surprise package and certainly I cannot make them 14/1 when Portsmouth are 9/1. I am closer to the other way around.


Relegation wise the 9/1 with Bet365 about Rotherham looks standout. Hanging by a thread in the Championship for years the trap door always inevitably opens and 5 wins in 46 games and a goal difference of -1.34 per game is truly shocking football. A different class league yes but when your sliding down to that extent it takes some picking up and the fact Ladbrokes and Coral only go 5/1 is as good a clue as any.

Recommended Bets – Follow at your own risk and money is tied up for the season, positions can be traded on the exchanges

Winner – Top 3 – 1/4 Odds – Wigan 1.5 Points Each Way 8/1 Bet 365,  MK Dons 1 Point Each Way 14/1 Bet365

Relegation – Rotherham 1 Point 9/1 Bet 365

League Two

Mansfield head the market and their price has halved over the summer, 10/1 may have been interesting but 5/1 is one to swerve for me. A host of new signings to settle in and a demanding manager I can easily look elsewhere.

I like the look of Swindon at 14/1. Now Timmy and his gilet have moved on (what were they thinking?) and the club reverting to letting the manager run the show if they can maintain some stability then I think they look value to be in the mix ahead of the other market contenders most of whom are their colleague also relegated from League One. I also like the look of Luton who missed out agonisingly in may. I fancy them to win the league this season. They had a lot of needless draws last season where they just misfired but the signing of Collins shoud see the goals go in and I really like the look of them this season. ( FTS member Simon Dennis now has his head in his hands as I give them the kiss of death).

I am sure we can all remember Jeff Stelling bakc in May as the relgation from the football league went to the wire and his beloved Hartlepool slipped into Conference football as Newport grabbed an 89th minute goal. I have to take Yeovil to go down after a bright start they only won 3 games since Christmas and have lost some stalwarts of that side. Only Orient who went down lost fewer games than the. The squad looks weak, despite a summer break the current form is horrendous and at 5/1 they look too big compared to their rivals. Moreecambe and Newport will also be down there.

Recommended Bets – Follow at your own risk and money is tied up for the season, positions can be traded on the exchanges

Winner – Top 3 – 1/4 Odds – Luton 2 Points Each Way 6/1 Bet 365,  Swindon 1 Point Each Way 14/1 Bet365

Relegation – Yeovil 1 Point 5/1 Coral


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