We’re now one-third of the way through the League Two campaign. And though the table has begun to take shape, the promotion push remains extremely tight. In fact, just seven points separate Luton Town in the automatic spots from 11th-placed Stevenage.
With the league on a break this weekend as the FA Cup takes centre-stage, it’s the perfect time to look at where the value lies as regards promotion and relegation…
Who could go up?
The favourites – Luton Town
Promotion odds: 1/7 | Title odds: 4/6
Despite currently sitting two points off table-topping Notts County, the Hatters are hot favourites not only for promotion, but also to win League Two. And considering some of their displays this term, that’s little surprise…
Nathan Jones’ Hatters have already put seven goals past each of Stevenage and Yeovil Town at Kenilworth Road this season, as well as chalking up a 4-1 win at high-flying Exeter City last month.
While their promotion odds look pretty skinny, 4/6 seems a reasonable title-winning price for a side who boast the talents of James Collins, Danny Hylton and Pelly Ruddock – amongst others.
The odds-against men – Accrington Stanley
Promotion odds: 6/4 | Title odds: 12/1
Despite averaging the second-smallest crowds in the EFL, and operating on one of the smallest budgets, the little club from Lancashire continue to threaten in the higher echelons of the table. And this year, there’s reason to think they’ll win promotion.
For one thing, they have the division’s top striker, Billy Kee, in their ranks. The Northern Irishman has already struck 10 league goals this season, aided by the wing wizardry of Jordan Clark and Mekhi McLeod.
With boss John Coleman having over 15 years experience in charge of Stanley – over two separate stints – he also knows exactly what it takes to succeed at this club. Add a penchant for late goals and a superb team ethos, and this looks set to be the year the men from the Wham Stadium make it up.
And who knows, they could even top the League Two charts.
The dark horses – Swindon Town
Promotion odds: 3/1 | Title odds: 20/1
Robins boss David Flitcroft led Bury to promotion from this level in 2014-15, and is looking to repeat the feat with a revitalised Swindon side. The Wiltshire outfit have the division’s top away record with 18 points, and just need to match that form at the County Ground.
A typically solid Flitcroft side, Swindon have conceded just twice in four games in all competitions – winning four of those. Summer defensive additions like Olly Lancashire, Ben Purkiss and Chris Hussey have gelled well at the back, while the pacy Luke Norris has banged the goals in at the other end.
With the Robins now just three points off the automatic spots, and five points off top spot, we think they offer good value in both markets.
Who could go down?
The favourites – Chesterfield
Relegation odds: 5/6
To be honest, we’re surprised to see the Spireites as long as 5/6 for the drop, considering just how bad they’ve been. The Derbyshire club have shipped 31 goals so far this term, and sit marooned at the bottom of the table – five points below 23rd-placed Morecambe.
September’s appointment of rookie boss Jack Lester looks like another misstep at a club who seem incapable of stopping the rot.
October’s 2-0 home defeat to the Shrimpers emphasised just how far off the pace the Spireites are. We’d be surprised to see them playing their trade at this level next season.
The outsiders – Barnet
Relegation odds: 7/1
Admittedly, Rossi Eames’ side have been hampered by injuries in key areas – but that’s exposed the real lack of strength in their squad. The Bees are now 10 games without a win in League Two, failing to score more than a single goal in any of those matches.
As it stands, the London club sit in 21st stop, separate from the drop zone on goal difference alone, following Saturday’s 4-1 mauling at the hands of Accrington.
A real surprise, then, to see them at such long odds for the drop. We suggest backing them for the drop before their relegation odds finally take a real tumble.
Click here for the latest League Two odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing