An commonly held belief by sports betters is that you can get better value in football betting by focusing on the lower leagues. Because these leagues attract lower volumes of betting, it is perceived that bookmakers invest less time in determining the odds, hence there is more value to be found for whose who look hard enough.
With the plethora of information available on the Internet, there’s never been an easier time to do your research. A good place to start is the BBC football website. Also, Foxtel regularly plays championship games, as well as the occasional League One fixture.
To give you a bit of a head start, below are some betting tips for promotion and relegation in the English Championship, League One and League Two.
N.B. Any prices quoted are the best available with major online layers, as of 16th February 2011. These odds are displayed in fractional form. For the decimal equivalent add 1. For example 6/1 equates to 7.00 and 8/11 equates to 1.73.
QPR lead the way with a 5-point cushion over Cardiff, who are closely pursued by Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Swansea and Leeds. These 6 appear set to fight out the title battle. Cramped odds of 8/11 appear justified, with 60 points from 31 games, 50 goals and just 3 defeats, but offer little in the way of value. The 2nd-placed Bluebirds make limited appeal at 8/1, as they have started to leak goals of late, especially away from home. 3rd-placed Norwich offer far better value at 16/1, with a virtually identical record and more consistency. However, Nottingham Forest, with 53 points from 29 games, are unbeaten at home, have a respectable away record and appear to be running into form at the “business end” of the season.
Forest at 6/1 to regain top-flight status as champions.
An each-way interest in Norwich at 16/1.
QPR and Nottingham Forest seem the likely candidates for automatic promotion, but odds of 1/4 and Evens offer little value. Although speculative, some good value bets may lie amongst teams currently outside the playoff spots. Although languishing in 9th position, with 46 points from 31 games, Kenny Jackett`s youthful Millwall squad is talented and have adjusted well to the higher division. Their home form has been excellent and any improvement in their patchy away form will see them gain ground on the top 6.
Forest at Evens, Norwich at 3/1 and Millwall at 20/1.
A saver on Millwall at 8/1 for a top-6 finish.
Preston have performed poorly throughout the season and Scunthorpe`s dismal home record (1 win from 13) sees the pair propping up the table. However, at 1/5, neither makes any great appeal. Middlesbrough failed to fulfil expectations in 2009-10 and have fared even worse this time around, occupying 20th spot with 33 points from 30 games. There poor away form is cause for great concern and it would be no surprise to see them playing League One football next season.
Middlesbrough at 10/1.
NPOWER LEAGUE ONE
This appears a two-horse race between table-topping Brighton (19/20) and 4th-placed Southampton (11/5). The Seagulls have 56 points and the Saints have 48, both from 28 games. While both have impressed this season, some notable sides seem to have been overlooked in the outright win market. Bournemouth, with exemplary home form and 53 points from 30 games are as long as 16/1, while Huddersfield (50 points from 29) rate as a 12/1 chance, with Charlton (47 points from 28) at 20/1. The Addicks look a sporting bet.
Charlton at 20/1.
With automatic promotion apparently already decided, the above-mentioned sides are too short. Leyton Orient have always been essentially a “home” side. However, recent performances have been better and they only need a top-6 finish to secure a playoff berth. Rochdale are unbeaten in their last 10 league outings and also represent good value.
Leyton Orient at 20/1 and Rochdale at 20/1.
With 4 for the drop, the market is tight, with Bristol Rovers (3/10), Walsall (1/2), Dagenham & Redbridge (4/7) and Plymouth (8/13) all trading at odds-on. Swindon look a decent bet at 11/10, given their poor away form and leaky defence.
Swindon at 11/10.
NPOWER LEAGUE TWO
Chesterfield (11/10) are worthy favourites, enjoying a 5-point lead over Shrewsbury with a game in hand. Rotherham (18/1) and Wycombe (3/1) are a further point behind, the latter having 2 games in hand.
Chesterfield at 11/10.
An each-way interest in overpriced Rotherham at 18/1.
With 4 promotion spots, the battle is hot, with 10 teams at single-figure prices. The automatic promotion places seem destined for Chesterfield (1/4) and any two from Wycombe (1/2), Shrewsbury (5/4) and Rotherham (7/4). Bury (13/8) and Gillingham (5/2) are too short and some value may lie with Torquay (6/1).
Torquay at 6/1.
Of the market leaders, Barnet (1/3) cannot win away while Stockport (4/11) and Macclesfield (4/1) struggle anywhere. Burton Albion only rate as 14/1 chances because of their games in hand, but their home form is strong enough to keep them safe. In contrast, Hereford have an appalling home record (2 wins from 14) and their away performances have been mostly mediocre.
Hereford at 13/2.
Regardless of the fate of your author`s selections, free footy tips, e-mailed direct to your inbox, are a valuable resource.