English football creeps back into view with a squeak this weekend, as all bar the Premier League big boys are wheeled out for opening-day clashes.
Seeing as it’s devilishly hard to predict form at the start of any campaign, we’ve dug down into the annals to flag up a League One accumulator’s worth of contenders that tend to enjoy the early-August sun.
It’s over 50/1 on them all coming in, with the return of Ladbrokes’ ‘One Out, Our Shout’ meaning your stake’s covered in the worst possible betting scenario*.
Sheffield United to beat Bristol City @ 1/1
The 5/1 favourites to top the third-tier have the best opening-day form of any side in the division.
Sheffield Utd have won each of their last three curtain raisers and haven’t lost an opening-day match since going down 1-0 to Birmingham in the Championship six years ago.
Opponents City haven’t won such a fixture since that 2008/09 campaign. Punt accordingly.
Crawley to beat Barnsley @ 3/1
The second-best team in League One based on the last few terms of opening-day results.
Crawley edged past Coventry at the start of last season having battered Scunthorpe 3-0 at the same stage of the previous campaign, and kicked off their 2011/12 efforts with a 3-2 victory over AFC Wimbledon in the Capital One Cup.
In contrast to this, Barnsley were taken apart 4-0 at Wigan in their first game of 2013/14.
Rochdale to beat Peterborough @ 2/1
The Lancashire side bossed Hartlepool en route to automatic promotion at the start of last season and have only lost one opening league game in six.
Posh have alternated winning and losing over the last four opening days. They won last year, so expect defeat for Darren Ferguson’s men at Spotlands.
Yeovil to beat Doncaster @ 6/5
Gary Johnson’s charges shocked the Championship by beating Millwall on the opening day of last term, after becoming one of the most unfashionable outfits to reach the second tier, via the League One play-offs the previous May.
Alas, Yeovil’s stay among such luminaries as Nottingham Forest, Leeds and Blackburn was all too short, but they look a good price to see off Doncaster at home.
Paul Dickov’s fellow relegatees were beaten 3-1 at home by Blackpool at the start of their 2013/14 Champo campaign, which was Donny’s second opening-day defeat in three seasons.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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