League One 2017/18 | Preview & Outright Bets
Monday 3 July 08:29 Tweet
Despite their eventual relegation from the Championship on the final day of the season, Blackburn actually looked really tough to beat under Tony Mowbray in the final few months of the season. Rovers lost just three of their 15 league matches since his appointment in February - two of which came against promoted Brighton and play-off finalists Reading.
Rovers managed to go unbeaten at Carrow Road and Craven Cottage in March before ending the season with three wins in five. Despite the fact their spirited form under Mowbray ultimately couldn't save them, if they can continue it in League One this season then they are surely justified favourites?
Mowbray committed his long-term future to the club in June by signing a new two-year contract and then signed ex-Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham. Danny Graham scored 13 goals for Rovers last season and will play a big part if they're to make an instant return to the second tier.
Blackburn have been a very tough side to beat since Mowbray's arrival, they should find wins easier to come by in League One.
Our Prediction: 1st
Despite the fact they went for much of the Championship season as the league's worst home side, Wigan have actually proved pretty tough to beat at the DW Stadium in 2017 with Villa, Sheff Wed and Bristol City the only visiting sides to win there in 12 across all competitions.
Leeds, Cardiff, Barnsley, Rotherham, Nottm Forest x2, Preston, Norwich and Brentford all failed to win in Greater Manchester since mid-January and the Latics were also tough to beat on home soil in their most recent League One campaign just two seasons ago - losing just three in 23.
Paul Cook was appointed in May having led both Chesterfield and Portsmouth to League Two promotion in recent seasons and the bookmakers obviously fancy him to make a charge for the Championship with Wigan this season.
Will Grigg scored 25 goals for the Latics en route to promotion from League One two seasons ago, but following a decent start to last season which saw him score six goals in the Latics' opening 11 matches, he managed just one goal from their remaining 25 as they slumped to a 23rd place finish. January signing Omar Bogle scored 19 League Two goals in 27 for Grimsby in the first half of the season but managed just three in 14 for the Latics between February and May. The pairs' goals will be crucial in League One this season.
Our Prediction: 4th
Portsmouth are third favourites with bet365 to secure back to back promotions following their title-winning campaign in league Two last season. Despite being offered a lucrative deal to stay at Fratton Park, Pompey's manager of two years - Paul Cooke, took up the vacant post at promotion rivals Wigan in May, with the experienced Kenny Jacket taking the reigns on the south coast.
Jackett has a strong record in League One having lead Swansea and Millwall (x2) to the play-offs in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He then established the Lions as a Championship club until 2013 where he left for Wolves and won automatic League One promotion at the first attempt. He looks an ideal replacement for Paul Cooke!
Pompey will need to strengthen in key areas before people take the early season hype seriously. Kal Naismith (14) and Gary Roberts (10) were the only two players to make it into double figures last season and they will, without doubt, be in for a tougher test this season.
We think it's a bit early for Pompey to make a return to the Championship this season, but we expect them to have a solid season under Kenny Jackett.
Our Prediction: 9th
After two successive fifth place finishes and play-off campaigns which have been ended by Millwall, Bradford once again find themselves in the mix of promotion favourites. They won't want to risk another play-off finish this season and will be going all out for automatic promotion.
Valley Parade has become a fortress over the last two seasons - City lost just four league matches on home soil in 2015/16 and then went unbeaten there last season. Both seasons, their away form along with their love for draws has seen them miss out on a top two finish.
The Bantams are also missing an out and out goalscorer. Their top league goalscorers in the last three seasons have netted just 14 (2014/15), 13 (2015/16) & 12 (2016/17) - a really worrying stat considering the likes of Billy Sharp, Will Grigg and Joe Garner who have all netted 25+ goals en route to automatic promotion during the same spell.
Paul Taylor has made the move to Valley Parade from London Road, but considering he scored just three league goals in 39 appearances for Peterborough last season, he hardly looks the goalscorer Bradford are crying out for.
Bradford look set for a third straight Play-Off campaign.
Our Prediction: 3rd
MK Dons' debut season in the Championship (2015/16) ended in relegation and they could only follow that up with a mid-table finish in League One last season. After a strong end to 2016/17 which saw them win five of their last nine, losing only against Sheff Utd and Scunthorpe, manager Robbie Neilson will hope his side's strong form will resume in August.
Neilson is expected to make wholesale changes at the club in his first summer as boss and following Scottish Championship promotion with Hearts in 2015 followed by a third place finish in the following season's SPL, he'll be hoping to repeat his success at Stadium mk.
The Dons need a goalscorer, Will Grigg grabbed 22 goals for them whilst on loan in 2014/15 but top scorers Nicky Maynard (8) and Kieran Agard (13) have looked nothing like reaching a similar tally in each of the last two seasons.
The Dons struggled to maintain any sort of form last season and were incredibly inconsistent both home and away, they've got a big summer ahead if they're to make a return to the Championship in 2018.
Our Prediction: 10th
Just like MK Dons, Charlton struggled in League One last season following relegation from the Championship in 2015/16 - finishing just one place behind Milton Keynes in 13th.
Karl Robinson led MK Dons to League One promotion in 2015 and went on to be appointed Charlton manager in November 2016 following the Dons' relegation and Russell Slade's sacking at the Valley. Despite ending last season in strong form with four wins in five, Charlton have struggled for much of Robinson's tenure, managing just four wins in 24 between December and April.
Winger Ricky Holmes netted 10 goals in 19 for the Addicks towards the end of last season and will be key to their promotion chances this campaign if they're able to keep him away from Sheffield Utd's clutches.
Our Prediction: Mid table
After just one season in League One, Oxford United are among the bookmakers' favourites for promotion to the Championship this season. The U's enjoyed a fantastic season under Michael Appleton following promotion from League Two in 2016, but the managerial position at the Kassam Stadium has been given to Pep Clotet following Appleton's departure for the King Power.
Oxford finished eighth in League One last season, just four points behind eventual Play-Off winners Millwall in sixth. Their form between March and mid-April ultimately cost them a top six finish, they managed to win just three in 11 during that spell.
Ex-Swansea and Leeds assistant manager Pep Clotet was appointed manager in July.
We're finding it difficult to see why Oxford are among the pre-season favourites for promotion to the Championship. They exceeded expectations last season but their boss of three years has left the club, as has Everton loanee Conor MacAleny who scored 10 goals in 15 appearances since joining the club in January.
Our Prediction: Mid table
After missing out on automatic promotion by just four points and being knocked out of the Play-Offs by eventual winners Millwall, Scunthorpe will be going for promotion once again, with the bookmakers pricing them up at 6/1 to make the step up to the Championship next season.
Scunny have plenty of goals in the side with Josh Morris, Kevin van Veen and Paddy Madden combining for 41 goals in League One last season, and like Bradford, proved very tough to beat on home soil in 2016/17. The Iron finished second in last season's home table behind Champions Sheffield Utd - they lost just three times at Glanford Park all campaign with all three defeats coming during a bad spell between February and March.
Graham Alexander achieved League Two promotion with Fleetwood in 2014 and he came within inches of the Championship with Scunthorpe in his first full season at Glanford Park. He has goals in his squad and they're very tough to beat on home soil. If Alexander can make his side tougher to beat away from home and tighten up their defence (they conceded the second most goals in the top eight last season), we think they look real contenders this season.
Our Prediction: 2nd