2010/2011 season Ante-post betting preview for the Championship, League 1 & League 2

The new domestic football season kicks off this weekend with what is certain to be 10 months fantastic quality football, excitement, passion, drama & all off that will combine to give millions of football fans great pleasure.

The Premier League action starts in 2 weeks time but this coming weekend is all about the tens of managers, the hundreds of players & millions of fans that make up the 72 teams in the football league & it is their big chance to shine in the spotlight.

English football is the most competitive in the world & that is certainly the case within the Championship, League 1 & League 2 as every year it becomes an ever increasingly difficult task to assess the leagues with confidence & deciding who will win the leagues, who will be promoted & who will be relegated can almost be described as mission impossible for punters.

While the task of finding the league winner is tough, we at http://www.bettingpreview.co.uk/blog/ have had a good look at the betting markets for the Championship, League 1 & League 2 and here are our own independent views on the teams we feel are worth following & who offer betting value at this stage:

The Championship:

Last year the ante-post market for the Championship had a rather obvious look to it with Newcastle United & West Bromwich Albion looking the two most obvious contenders for the title & promotion and so it proved to be no surprise that they both achieved automatic promotion.

This season, there does not look to be anything obvious about the ante-post scene in the Championship and the general consensus is that this is going to be one of the most wide open Championship seasons ever.

The general opinion in the football world is that anything up to 15 teams have a fair chance of at least reaching the Play-offs & even promotion and the way the market is framed we have to agree with that theory as well.

Middlesbrough have been the team for money during the last few weeks, with their price coming in from 10/1 to a general 6/1 and they are certain to start the Championship season as favourites so command respect with Gordon Strachan investing heavily in the squad but they don’t represent any value in our eyes & we are going elsewhere for a bet.

Next in the market behind Middlesbrough come Billy Davies’s Nottingham Forest who had a fantastic season last year in the Championship, finishing 3rd & in our view they represent the most solid bet in the Championship and certainly better value than Middlesbrough.

Admittedly Billy Davies & Nottingham Forest have not had the best of pre-seasons with players leaving to weaken the squad slightly but we were very impressed by the fantastic management of Billy Davies & his ability to generate such a solid, committed team spirit that made Nottingham Forest a hard side to beat & strong force to resist.

All those characteristics combined are what tempt up get stuck into the general 8-1 – 9/1 available for Nottingham Forest & we believe Nottingham Forest are an excellent each way value shot as they certainly have an outstanding chance of at least being in the first 3 & as stronger chance than most of winning the Championship.

Next on our list of value ante-post bets comes Brian McDermott’s Reading who were the form team in the Championship for the last 3-4 months of the season & that excellent form marks them down as serious contenders for this season in our view.

Brian McDermott had an immediate & emphatic response after he took over as Reading manager & he turned Reading into a really positive & potent attacking team who took on all comers which saw them finish the season with tremendous momentum including fantastic wins over Premier League opposition in the cups.

That combination of tremendous end of season momentum, confidence & Reading’s positive, attacking style looks a really tempting value proposition in our view & we believe they are well worth an each way interest at around the general 12/1 – 14/1 quoted as we write this.

Our final betting option for the Championship is admittedly ‘a bit of a flyer’ & may generate a ‘what are you talking about’ type reaction but we genuinely believe Coventry City have the potential to be a proper force & live outsider in the Championship this season & the main reason for that is their new manager Aidy Boothroyd.

Coventry City are a very well run club with a proud history & they are also a big club with the facilities & overall set up to handle Premier League football & in our view Aidy Boothroyd is a no nonsense manager who is proven at this level & he is exactly the right type of manager to take on everything that being Coventry City manager entails & making a real success of it.

Chris Coleman did an excellent job at Coventry City & he certainly built a solid enough base from which Aidy Boothroyd can improve things & priced at around 50/1 in the market, Coventry City represent each way value in our opinion and definitely worth a small investment in a league that is completely wide open.

Championship Summary:

Middlesbrough have been the team for the big betting money in recent weeks & they command great respect but the question is whether they can handle the expectancy & pressure while the likes of QPR, Sheffield United, Cardiff City, Burnley, Ipswich Town, Bristol City, Leicester City & Swansea will all believe they have an excellent chance of promotion and they all do warrant respect.

There is no doubting how fierce the competition will be in the Championship this season with so many massive clubs taking each other on & absolutely anything is possible this season as this genuinely looks the most wide open Championship for quite a few years but we are taking Nottingham Forest & Reading as our main each way value bets & rock solid promotion contenders while we also believe Coventry City are a massive priced each way value outsider & those three teams will hopefully give us some fun this season.

Championship Betting Recommendations:

Nottingham Forest each way, Reading each way & Coventry City each way

Nottingham Forest & Reading for Outright Promotion.


League 1:

League 1 is always fiercely competitive & it really is a tough test that any team has to pass & pass well if they are to win the League and that will definitely be the case again this season but we do believe one team do look outstanding contenders to take the main prize.

Those outstanding contenders in our view are Alan Pardew’s Southampton side who were absolutely magnificent last season & certainly would have stood a fine chance of promotion last year had they not incurred a 10 point penalty at the start of the season.

Southampton were the form side in League 1 for the last 4 to 5 months of the season and we believe that fantastic momentum & positivity can really drive them on to success this season & they do look the most solid option in League 1.

Admittedly the general price of 5/2 for Southampton is short for such a competitive League as League 1 but they have everything in their favour: great stadium, excellent manager, sound financial structure, the best squad in League 1 & importantly the extra motivation to get back to the Championship because there is no doubt they still believe they were hard done to by the F.A. & Football league authorities.

League 1 is obviously not a 1 team race though & our other main each way value contenders for the prize are Lee Clark’s Huddersfield Town & Gus Poyet’s Brighton and we do believe both of those teams will give Southampton a real run for the prize & certainly do look solid promotion contenders as a minimum.

Lee Clark’s Huddersfield Town finished 6th in League 1 last season but they were only 6 points behind 2nd place, only 5 points off 3rd & 4 points from 4th & we do believe they represent a very solid each way bet again this season with more improvement to come built around the basis of their incredible home form & their positive approach will see them win far more than they lose.

The case for Brighton is not so obvious as Gus Poyet’s team finished 13th, 36 points of the eventual winners & 21 points short of the play-offs so obviously they require massive improvement but we believe their is every chance that improvement will come.

Brighton were a much improved side for the last few months of the season & now Gus Poyet is totally settled into the job, we do believe a good, positive start for Brighton will give them the momentum they need & they do look great each way value in our opinion.

League 1 Summary:

Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough & Swindon are all teams who command respect & teams we expect to be in the mix but we do believe Southampton are the clear, outstanding contenders to win League 1 while Huddersfield Town & Brighton both have young, progressive managers and they can bring about the improvement required to see them challenge as strongly & consistently as any other side in League 1.

League 1 Betting Recommendations:

Southampton to win League 1, Huddersfield Town & Brighton each way

Southampton, Huddersfield Town & Brighton each way on the Handicap market

League 2:

Our feelings for League 2 are quite simplistic but entirely accurate in our view as we believe League 2 is & always has been a complete lottery & puzzle that looks almost impossible for punters to solve.

We have heard it said that the National Lottery would be entirely appropriate sponsors for League 2 because the chances of correctly & confidently predicting the winners of League 2 before a ball has been kicked are similar to the chances of winning the lottery.

Ok, that is an exaggeration on our part but a valid one as it perfectly portrays the difficulty in deciding which team or group of teams will go well in League 2 this season & fight their way to success through what must be the toughest & most competitive league anywhere, we certainly can’t think of another league that comes close.

The honest truth with League 2 is that all the teams are capable of beating each other, home or away, and that has always been the case in this incredible league.

The betting market is headed by Bradford City & closely followed by teams such as Rotherham, Gillingham, Wycombe, Morecambe, Stevenage, Torquay, Port Vale & Chesterfield and indeed they are all solid contenders with excellent managers whom all have the potential to challenge for promotion & win League 2 but the three teams we like as value each way shots are Northampton, Aldershot & Bury.

Aldershot, Bury & Northampton are all priced around the 14/1 – 16/1 mark and in our view that is the minimum price range which should be considered when betting in League 2.

Alershot finished 6th last season, Bury 8th & Northampton 10th and we believe a little improvement from all three sides will see them firmly involved in the mix for League 2 and are worthy of a small stakes each way bet.

League 2 Betting Recommendations:

Northampton, Aldershot & Bury all each way for League 2
Those are our own independent views on what we believe to be the best value betting options in the Championship, League 1 & League 2 and we hope they provide ideas & indeed betting success for the season ahead.

Whatever ante-post football bets you choose to go for, we of course recommend that you shop around for the best prices & best terms and we at http://www.bettingpreview.co.uk/blog/ of course wish you all the best of luck with your football bets for the season.

Posted in Championship, League One, League Two