Why we’re backing Luton Town to triumph in League Two play-offs

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The League Two play-offs kick into life this weekend, with Carlisle United facing Exeter City, and Luton Town doing battle with Blackpool in the semi-finals.

But while the play-offs often have a reputation for being something of a lottery, the signs all point to one side making it up to League One this time around.

Step forward, Luton Town.

First off, history suggests they’ll have no trouble dispatching Blackpool.

The Hatters have beaten the Tangerines home and away in League Two this term, without conceding a goal. And their longer-term record against the Lancashire outfit is even more impressive, having won all of the last six meetings between the pair.

Meanwhile, on the note of form, Blackpool have taken 10 points from their last seven games, eventually wheezing over the line into the play-offs. Luton managed 17 points from their past seven outings of the regular season, remaining unbeaten throughout.

Beating Gary Bowyer’s men would set up a meeting with either of Carlisle United or Exeter City.

Either of those are opponents Luton would relish facing. That’s because they haven’t lost to either side this season.

Nathan Jones’ side took four points off the Cumbrians during the regular season, while they avoided defeat against Exeter in the league, and knocked the Grecians out of the Emirates FA Cup with a 3-1 victory.

And neither of those clubs are showing form which will worry those of a Luton persuasion.

Carlisle have won just three of their last 14 games, while Exeter’s problem is throwing points away. They led and lost on the final day of the season, taking the number of points they’ve dropped from winning positions this term to 20.

On paper, there’s also little doubt the Hatters have the best squad of the bunch.

Not only do they boast the second-best defensive record in League Two, but also have one of the league’s most effective and prolific strikers in the form of Danny Hylton.

Meanwhile, the Hatters have a good combination of steel and skill in midfield, with the likes of Jonathan Smith and Pelly Ruddock in the middle of the park.

Talking of those two, they’re survivors of Luton’s promotion from the National League (then: Conference Premier) to League Two back in 2014. So having players in the squad with experience of winning promotion is also an undeniable benefit to the Hatters.

That all means they look well worth backing to triumph in the play-offs, at odds of 2/1.

And those odds could be cut this weekend, if Luton grab a first-leg victory at Bloomfield Road.

There’s 15/8 about the Bedfordshire club winning on the day, while it’s 9/2 for them to beat the Tangerines to nil for the fourth time in succession.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.