League One has featured many fallen giants in recent times and former Premier League champions Blackburn are the latest to have dropped through the Championship trap door.
Rovers have been badly run by Venky’s for several years now and paid the price on the final day of last season when results elsewhere condemned them to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1980.
While there was little sympathy for the club’s owners, relegation was harsh on boss Tony Mowbray, who went agonisingly close to keeping them up. Under the former Celtic and Middlesbrough manager, Blackburn lost just three of their last 15 matches and took 11 points from their last five games but ultimately paid the price for a dismal start to the season.
Unusually for the Lancashire club, there has been both stability and investment this summer. Mowbray has been kept on and the likes of Peter Whittingham, Ben Gladwin, Richie Smallwood and Bradley Dack have arrived to add serious quality to a squad at this level.
Rovers are the 5/1 favourites in the League One title odds and punters could be forgiven for looking elsewhere given events at Ewood Park in recent times but it seems Venky’s are finally giving the manager the tools needed to be successful.
There is plenty to suggest they will be rewarded and Blackburn are our selection to win the title in our League One 2017/18 betting tips.
Blackburn went close to surviving in the Championship but the same cannot be said of Wigan. The Latics finished nine points adrift of safety and although new manager Paul Cook will want to take them straight back up, odds of 9/4 for promotion look too short.
Bradford have lost key players after a second successive play-off failure while Oxford must rebuild under Pep Clotet after Michael Appleton’s departure. So where is the value?
The first of our League One promotion tips is Portsmouth. It was Cook who guided them to the League Two title last season after a late-season charge and, having since departed, there is a sense that Pompey have upgraded with the appointment of Kenny Jackett.
He has twice enjoyed promotion from League One, winning the play-offs with Millwall in 2009/10 and then leading Wolves to the title four years later. Such a smart operator at this level commands respect and looks a good fit for Portsmouth, who are 11/4 to be promoted.
For longer odds in the promotion market, Bristol Rovers catch the eye at 6/1 and should go well under Darrell Clarke but our second selection is 8/1 shots Fleetwood. Uwe Rosler’s men were the surprise package last season and challenged for automatic promotion, eventually finishing just four points short of second-placed Bolton.
Rosler appears settled at the club and we fancy the Cod Army to make a mockery of their 16th place in the odds for promotion. Only Bolton conceded fewer goals in League One last season and although three key players have departed, their replacements look up to the job.
Nearly a quarter of clubs that finished in the bottom half in League One in the last 14 seasons were relegated in the following campaign and that should set alarm bells ringing at several clubs.
Gillingham stayed up by a solitary point last season and Ady Pennock has been kept on as head coach, despite the team dropping from 17th when he took over in January to 20th in May. Dack and Cody McDonald have left and odds of 3/2 for the Kent club to be relegated are too good to turn down.
Walsall were also glad to see last season end as they were propping up the form table with relegated Chesterfield after taking just six points from their last 10 matches. Fans called for Jon Witney to be sacked after a 4-1 thrashing at home to MK Dons on the final day but he remains and the Saddlers are fancied for the drop at 9/4.
Blackpool are perhaps fortunate to be back in League One after finishing seventh in the bottom division last season, winning only 18 games, so 7/5 for relegation is worth backing.
For the last of our League One relegation tips, we’re going for longer odds with Rotherham at 8/1. Paul Warne must stop the rot after last season’s nightmare in the Championship but there have to be doubts over whether the rookie manager is up to the job.
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