Betting fans are getting ready for the big Football League kick-off this weekend and will no doubt be thinking about which wagers they are going to place on the opening round of fixtures.
But there are also a number of great season bets on offer at bwin.com – not least the League One title and promotion markets – so what better time to get stuck into them than now?
Read on for our assessment of all the main runners and riders for the title. If you fancy a flutter on any match or market in England’s third tier, you can click here to see all our League One odds.
Odds for the title: 9/2
Odds for promotion: 7/5
Huddersfield were in the automatic promotion running for much of last season before eventually being forced to settle for a place in the play-offs, where they were defeated 4-0 by Peterborough in the final.
While key men such as Lee Peltier and Anthony Pilkington have been snapped up by Leicester and Norwich respectively over the summer, boss Lee Clark has brought in promising midfielders Donal McDermott and Oscar Gobern, centre-back Liam Cooper on loan from Hull and Bolton’s Danny Ward, who signed a permanent deal after a successful loan spell at the Galpharm last term.
Prior to the play-offs, the Terriers were unbeaten in 2011 and they should be in the frame again this term. They score plenty of goals (as well as letting in their fair share) and are strong at home, so it is not hard to see why bwin’s League One title betting market has them as the early favourites.
Odds for the title: 6/1
Odds for promotion: 33/20
Sheffield Wednesday’s continued presence in League One is one of football’s greatest mysteries. With their proud history and strong fan base, they should have at least bounced back to the Championship by now.
But after a turbulent first half of the 2010-11 season, Gary Megson was placed in the Hillsborough hot seat and the pressure is now on for the former Owls player to deliver promotion. So far, only three defenders – Rob Jones (free from Scunthorpe), Julian Bennett (free from Nottingham Forest) and Danny Batth (on loan from Wolves) – plus midfielder David Prutton have been brought in during the summer.
However, it is up front where Wednesday look particularly light, with Clinton Morrison only managing six goals last term. If Megson fails to bring in more attacking firepower before the transfer window closes, there must again be serious doubts over whether the Owls will be able to mount a realistic title challenge.
PRESTON NORTH END
Odds for the title: 13/2
Odds for promotion: 2/1
Preston are another club with a glorious past who arguably should not be scrapping around at this level, but they were cut adrift early in the Championship last term and never really looked like recovering.
Phil Brown has a major task on his hands to ensure the Lilywhites bounce straight back up, particularly with key winger Keith Treacy being sold to Burnley this week, following the departures of Sean St Ledger to Leicester and Billy Jones to West Brom. Nevertheless, keeper Iain Turner has been brought in from Everton and centre-back Clarke Carlisle has arrived on loan, which should make Preston solid and tough to beat.
And if attacking talents such as Neil Mellor and Iain Hume can dovetail effectively, perhaps Brown will be seen showing off his singing ‘skills’ again on the Deepdale pitch come the end of the season.
Odds for the title: 15/2
Odds for promotion: 9/4
As a side who were a regular fixture in the Premier League during Alan Curbishley’s time at the helm, Charlton have found their slide down the divisions difficult to take. After a promising start to 2010-11 fizzled out dramatically, Phil Parkinson was replaced by ex-Addicks stalwart Chris Powell in January.
The former England left-back has embarked on a major recruitment drive this summer, snapping up no less than 15 players, including the likes of Mikel Alonso, Danny Hollands, Danny Green, Dale Stephens, Michael Morrison and Paul Hayes. The Addicks have supplemented their squad with a number of promising home-grown youngsters, while also bringing in talented, hungry players from lower down the football pyramid, such as Bradley Pritchard, who starred in the Conference for Hayes & Yeading last term.
Powell’s main challenge will be getting his new-look side to gel quickly, but if he can succeed on that front – and with the goals of Bradley Wright-Phillips to call upon once more – Charlton could be very difficult to stop.
Odds for the title: 17/2
Odds for promotion: 5/2
Another season of turmoil for Sheffield United resulted in relegation from the Championship, with Micky Adams unable to prevent their downfall after taking over from Gary Speed at the turn of the year.
With Adams gone, the board opted for a controversial replacement in Danny Wilson, who played for and managed bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday. The former Northern Ireland international was sacked in March for sending Swindon plummeting towards relegation from League One, which will hardly inspire confidence in those Blades fans already fuming at the appointment.
Having said that, United should not find goals hard to come by. Wilson has an embarrassment of riches up front at this level in the shape of Ched Evans, Chris Porter, Richard Cresswell and Daniel Bogdanovic, with promising striker Daniel Philliskirk, recruited recently from Chelsea, thrown in for good measure.
One thing is clear, though. Wilson must get off to a good start to appease the fans who will be calling for his head at the first sign of weakness if the darks clouds over Bramall Lane are to lift and another season of upheaval and disappointment is to be avoided.
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