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League One 2017/18 preview: Top tips for all outright markets

We pick out the best bets for promotion, relegation and plenty more as the third tier gets back underway this weekend.

02 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
League One 2017/18 preview: Top tips for all outright markets


Recently-relegated sides consistently perform well in League One, with four making an immediate return to the Championship in the past five seasons.

And after their misery last term, it’s Blackburn who look the best-equipped to take the division by storm in their first third-tier campaign for 37 years.

Rovers have spent £750,000 on Bradley Dack, who joins new signings Peter Whittingham, Ben Gladwin and Richard Smallwood in a Championship-standard midfield.

Retaining the services of Danny Graham, for now at least, is also evidence that they don’t plan on sticking around for long.

Wigan , who were relegated with Blackburn, represent their only realistic challengers for the top prize.

The Latics’ squad still closely resembles that of their League One title-winning campaign two seasons ago.

Having also brought in Paul Cook as manager, fresh from winning League Two with Portsmouth, there is value in backing them.


Bradford City have missed out in the play-offs for two seasons running – both times against Millwall – and a difficult summer of recruitment has left them worse off than after their Wembley defeat in May.

Key players Rory McArdle, James Meredith and Mark Marshall have all departed Valley Parade over summer, with little proven quality coming the other way.

At , they are simply too short to take a punt on.

Alternatively, newly-promoted Portsmouth are a safer bet.

The south coast club finally made it out of the basement division after four years and have reacted well to losing their manager.

Kenny Jackett, who already has two League One promotions on his CV, has done well to supplement a strikeforce that netted 79 last season with the addition of Brett Pitman.

MK Dons remain decent options, too.

After an improvement towards the back end of last season, which saw the Dons lose just two of their last nine, Robbie Neilson has strengthened heavily.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell, a league winner with Sheffield United last term, Aaron Tshibola and Gboly Ariyibi should provide enough for a sustained promotion push at Stadium MK.

The Addicks, meanwhile, raided play-off finalists Bradford City for the aforementioned Marshall and Billy Clarke.

Having won four of their final five matches last season, don’t write Karl Robinson’s side off.

Play-off spots

With 18 teams priced at 4/1 or shorter to make the end-of-season promotion shoot-out, this season is poised for another difficult-to-predict scramble.

Just as in the Championship and League Two, almost every side will be keeping tabs on the distance between themselves and the sanctity of sixth place.

Southend came within one and four points of the top six last season respectively and look well placed to go again.

Despite a similarly impressive 2016/17 season, Rochdale should be avoided.

Although Keith Hill’s side also finished just four points behind sixth, a lack of squad depth was telling as they endured a 10-game winless streak between January and March.

With injuries and suspensions inevitable over the course of a season, they will take their toll on Dale more than most.

Bury , meanwhile, have the financial muscle to compete at the top this season.

Fifteen new signings – including Jermaine Beckford and Nicky Ajose – should offset the loss of 24-goal James Vaughan, meaning the Shakers cannot be discounted.

But the best value is with Fleetwood at .

The Cod Army reached the play-off semi-finals last season and, with one of best managers in the division, will surely be there again.


At the wrong end of League One, things are a little clearer.

Firstly, apologies to Tom Clee and any other Gillingham fans, but your side are in for a slog.

Having survived by a single point on the last day of 2016/17, they have gone backwards.

Retaining the services of beleaguered manager Ady Pennock, who took over in January with the club 17th and eight points clear of the drop, inspires little confidence.

Nor does losing both Dack and Cody McDonald, who have accounted for 33 league goals between them over the past two seasons.

Next in the firing line are Walsall .

In their first full season under Jon Whitney, the Saddlers finished 14th with much of the same squad that reached the play-offs in the previous year.

Having managed just one win in 10 at the end of last term, and with little movement in the transfer market, it would be no surprise to see them in trouble.

AFC Wimbledon are also vulnerable.

Paul Hurst’s side have flip-flopped between the third and fourth tiers for the last six years, twice suffering relegation in their second season.

Oldham , meanwhile, can finally break the monotony of being consistent relegation strugglers and should be swerved.

They accumulated 34 of their 53 points from last season in the 22 matches under John Sheridan.

After a full pre-season together, the Latics should be well clear of any danger.

Golden boot

I’m backing Will Grigg to rediscover the incendiary form that inspired the soundtrack to Euro 2016.

The Northern Ireland international has won the Golden Boot in each of his past two seasons in League One, most recently two seasons ago.

With team-mate Omar Bogle agitating for a move away from the DW Stadium, he is set to be Wigan’s main man once again.

The only player who could come close is unsurprisingly from another promotion contender.

If Blackburn manage to keep hold of Danny Graham , he should also run riot.

The 31-year-old was playing in the Premier League as recently as the 2015/16 season and is still at least Championship quality.

But, having failed to hit double figures for the last seven seasons, Grigg is the more enticing bet.