Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
The new League One gets underway this weekend and we’ve taken a look over a few of the outright markets ahead of the big kick off.
Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers have dropped down into the third tier after relegation from the Championship last season, while Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United, Bolton Wanderers and Morecambe all secured promotion from League Two.
League One outright winner prediction
Ipswich at 7/1
The League One title battle has tended to be a close affair in recent years and the last team to truly dominate the division were Sheffield United in the 2016-17 season when the Blades reached 100 points. Since then, no team has won the league by more than five points and we could see another tight race this year.
Sunderland are among the favourites at 7/1 and relegated Rotherham may be in the mix at 14/1. The likes of Charlton, Wigan and Portsmouth are worth a mention but we feel Ipswich Town are one team who really stand out in this particular market.
The Tractor Boys brought in Paul Cook in March last season but he was unable to improve significantly on results and he managed just four wins in 16 games in charge. However, Cook remains a very capable boss at this level and after a full pre-season we’re expecting a better showing as he gears up for his first season in charge at Portman Road.
Ipswich have made some impressive moves during the summer transfer window and the arrivals of strikers Conor Chaplin and Joe Pigott really catch the eye. Chaplin joins from Barnsley and he managed 34 appearances in the Championship last season, while Pigott scored 20 goals of AFC Wimbledon’s 54 goals in the third tier last term as they avoided the drop down to League Two. Ipswich have also boosted their defensive options with the arrival of George Edmundson from Rangers and look primed to make a serious promotion push this season after finishing a disappointing ninth last time out.
League One promotion prediction
Rotherham at 9/2
Rotherham dropped down from the Championship last term but the Millers look well placed to push for an immediate return to the second tier. Boss Paul Warne has won promotion from this league twice before with the South Yorkshire outfight, via the play-offs in 2018 and as the runners-up in the 2019-20 season.
Under Warne’s tenure Rotherham have become a ‘yo-yo club’ between the Championship and League One and that pattern could continue. The Millers have lost a few big names over the summer, most notably Matthew Olosunde after he rejected a new deal and midfielder Matt Crooks, but they have largely managed to keep their squad intact and look well placed to bounce back at the first attempt.
League One relegation prediction
Cheltenham at 11/8
In the League One relegation market the first port of call is generally the promoted sides and Cheltenham Town stand out for value here. Morecambe are likely to struggle but they are odds-on at the time of writing so we’ll go with the Robins.
It was a massive achievement for boss Michael Duff to take Cheltenham up last season as the League Two champions but they haven’t brought in any significant reinforcements over the summer, and if they can’t bring in any new faces before the window closes they may well be set for a season of struggle.
League One top scorer prediction
Joe Pigott at 12/1
The top scorer market is always hard to call but there are some big prices available and we’ve identified a few forwards who could finish as League 1’s leading scorer.
As mentioned earlier, Pigott had an excellent scoring record for a poor Wimbledon team last season and with better players around him at Ipswich he has to be a contender. Newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers have a great striker in their ranks in Eoin Doyle and if he can pick up where he left off he can be a real threat in a higher division. The Irishman struggled initially at Wanderers with just two goals in his first 10 games but he finished up with 19 goals overall as he settled at his new club.
Charlie Wyke of Wigan and Portsmouth forward John Marquis are also likely to be among the top scorers in League One next season.
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