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League Two play-off preview: Best outright bets 11 05 23

11 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
League Two play-off preview: Best outright bets 11 05 23

The end-of-season promotion scramble is upon us, so see who Will Rook is tipping to go up to League One.

SALFORD V STOCKPORT

Stockport come into the League Two play-offs as rightful {ODDS:946969012:7/4} favourites.

The Hatters finished the regular season with a 13-match unbeaten in the league, while they have only lost once in 19 – a run that stretches back to the end of January. That’s a formidable record, especially going into knockout football.

Since the turn of the year, Dave Challinor’s side have picked up 45 points – more than any other team in League Two – and only missed out on automatic promotion on the final day.

That they have the best record against the other teams in the play-offs is another reason to be positive about County’s chances – they took 12 points in six unbeaten games against teams between fifth and seventh.

Salford lost four of their six matches against the other play-off contenders during the regular season, taking one point off Stockport.

The Ammies didn’t have their play-off spot confirmed until the final day, when a 1-0 home defeat to Gillingham nearly saw them miss out altogether.

Even their seemingly decent form of four victories in their final six matches is slightly misleading, with three of those victories coming by virtue of goals from the 88th minute onwards.

BEST BET: STOCKPORT TO QUALIFY FOR THE PLAY-OFF FINAL {ODDS:1136964582:1/2}

BRADFORD CITY V CARLISLE

Carlisle finished the season in the worst shape of any team in the League Two play-offs, having won just two of their final 11 matches and failing to score in six of those.

The Cumbrians’ cause is not helped by the fact that key player Jon Mellish will be forced to sit out both semi-finals after a straight red card in a 3-2 home defeat to Salford in their penultimate game of the season.

On-loan Crystal Palace striker John-Kymani Gordon will also serve the last of a three-game suspension during the first leg, while it is unconfirmed whether regular wing-back Ben Barclay will be allowed to play by his parent club Stockport.

Carlisle ended the season with a 1-1 draw away to Sutton United, who had previously lost six on the bounce.

Against a Bradford City side who secured their play-off spot with a 1-1 draw against champions Leyton Orient on the final day of the season, they will have their work cut out.

While Mark Hughes’ tenure at Valley Parade has not been as spectacular as some expected, he has made his team tough to beat – they have lost just three of their last 22 league games.

The Bantams earned 40 points in 2023, with only Stockport, Gillingham and promoted Northampton accruing more.

Bradford City also have the Andy Cook factor. The League Two Golden Boot winner has scored 31 goals in all competitions this season, 28 of which came in the league. He comes into the play-offs in great form, with 15 goals in his last 20 matches.

BEST BET: BRADFORD CITY TO QUALIFY FOR THE PLAY-OFF FINAL {ODDS:1136964649:19/20}

BEST OUTRIGHT BET: STOCKPORT TO BEAT BRADFORD CITY IN THE PLAY-OFF FINAL

*Was price as of 11/05/23

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