At this early stage Peterborough appear best placed to gain promotion back to the Championship in the 2013/14 League One season, while Brentford and Wolves should also mount significant challenges.
Posh could count themselves hugely unlucky to get relegated after the way they played in the second half of last season, and if they can extend that form they are an excellent 5/2 shot to gain promotion. They lost just four of their final 19 league games, picking up wins over Cardiff (twice), Watford and Hull over the course of the season.
Darren Ferguson is a proven manager in this division, having gained promotion to the Championship on two separate occasions with the London Road side.
Should they hold on to strikers Lee Tomlin and Dwight Gayle, who between them totaled 24 Championship goals in 2012/13, they should be in with a leading chance of repeating their efforts of 2010/11, when they gained promotion via the play-offs having been relegated the previous season.
Wolves have been installed as 6/5 favourites to bounce straight back up into that division, and in the newly-appointed Kenny Jackett have selected a manager with a solid grounding in lower league football, and who left Millwall after six years of relative success. He reached the League One play-off final with Swansea and won promotion with Millwall to the Championship, and so represents a prudent decision from the board.
However, one would expect much of the playing staff to be looking for moves elsewhere, and the extent to which the club can keep their core squad intact could be the decisive factor here.
Bristol City are a 3/1 shot, though considering they finished 13 points below Peterborough last term, they are difficult to back at the price.
The other obvious candidates are 4/1 shot Brentford, who faltered at the final hurdle last season. They have improved dramatically over Uwe Rosler’s two years at the club, finishing third last term after losing the joint-fewest number of games in the division. With a proven goalscorer in Clayton Donaldson (20 league strikes last term) up front they should compete again.
An outside chance could emerge in the shape of upwardly mobile Crawley Town, whose free-spending habits are showing little sign of abating. The club finished 10th in their maiden League One season under Richie Barker – just six points shy of the play-offs – and are reportedly close to confirming several signings according to chairman Richard Low. They are 8/1 to be playing in the Championship in 2014/15.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing