FOOTBALL BETTING: Gillingham lead the betting in what has to be England’s toughest league to call this season – League 2. Chris Hutcheon attempts to figure it out before kick off on the 7th of August.
With at least six realistic title contenders and more than a dozen teams possessing the potential to mount a promotion Two looks widpush, League e open and punters face an unenviable task in trying to decipher football’s fourth tier.
Relegated Gillingham head the betting, but it’s a reflection of the market uncertainty that Andy Hessenthaler’s men are priced at as high as 9/1 with 888Sport, as favourites. The Gills only dropped out of League One on goal difference, their appalling, winless away record ultimately responsible for their demise and with the bulk of last season’s squad still together, they’re undoubtedly a threat at 5/2 (William Hill) in the promotion betting.
Experienced manager Peter Taylor starts his first full campaign in charge at Bradford, who have disappointed in recent seasons and the Bantams are strongly fancied to mount a fierce challenge; Partybets quoting them at 10/1 to clinch top spot and Ladbrokes making the West Yorkshire outfit 5/2 to reach League One.
At 12/1 (Victor Chandler), beaten play-off finalists Rotherham come next in the betting, but they could find the going tougher this season and will need Stan James’ 7/1 top scorer jolly Adam Le Fondre to enjoy another prolific campaign if they are to threaten the top three. Wycombe meanwhile, stand a better chance at an identical price, this time with Totesport, but they too are set to fall short.
Elsewhere, promoted pair Stevenage (16/1, Stan James) and Oxford (14/1, Ladbrokes), as well as Jaxx.com’s 14/1 shots Chesterfield could all find themselves in contention for play-off places but the stand out title flutter in a tough-to-call division, are Port Vale.
Manager Micky Adams almost guided the Valiants to the play-offs last term, missing out late in the day, but the former Leicester boss has a good record in getting teams promoted and having secured a few shrewd additions, he can make Port Vale into a formidable side. They’re a tremendous bet then at 14/1 with Paddy Power, who offer further incentive to each-way punters by offering four places.
At the bottom, in William Hill’s relegation market, Accrington (10/3) have punched above their weight over the last few seasons and could struggle, Stockport, at the same price, should steer clear of danger, but Macclesfield and Barnet, at 7/2 and 4/1 respectively, can expect to be involved in a basement battle.