League 2 is a strange division in many ways. It seems like half of the teams in it are fighting to avoid the dreaded drop to the non-professional ranks of the National League, while the other half rabidly duke it out for one of the three automatic promotion places and four play-off spots.
How will this season pan out? Let’s take a look at the pick of the League 2 betting tips:
League 2 Winner
Take away the three promoted sides and Luton were the best team in League 2 in 2016/17, finishing some six points clear of the rest.
The Hatters only lost nine games last season – fewer than any other side in the division, and if they can turn some of their draws into victories then they could canter to the title this time around.
It’s instructive that two of their players, Danny Hylton and James Collins, are the bookmakers’ favourites in the Top Goalscorer market. Hylton was prolific for the Kenilworth Road outfit last season while Collins joins from Crawley Town – he is a proven League 2 net-finder.
It’s somewhat surprising then to see Luton available as long as 6/1 with the sportsbooks to lift the trophy, behind 11/2 favourites Mansfield.
The Stags improved under Steve Evans’ robust leadership last term, but they still lost 14 games and finished with a paltry goal difference of +4.
They have invested heavily in the summer, and as we know such an overhaul can create a period of transition. The smart bet, with all that we know about the two sides, is for Luton to claim the spoils.
Top Seven Finish
If a promoted side can keep up their momentum from the previous season, there is no reason that they cannot enjoy a second campaign of success; particularly at this level, where the gulf between League 2 and National League is far smaller than, say, the Premier League and the Championship.
So two sides come under the spotlight in this market: Lincoln City (5/4) and Forest Green (3/1).
Of the two it is Lincoln who really appeal. The Imps have kept together the same set of players who performed so admirably last season, reaching the Fifth Round of the FA Cup amongst other things, including Billy Knott, whose loan deal has been made permanent.
Also signing on the dotting line is Michael Bostwick, a standout performer in League 1 last season with Peterborough. Everything about this Lincoln set-up screams continued success.
And there’s a lot to enjoy about the 15/8 available on Exeter City, a dynamic and progressive club who finished fifth last season. The bookmakers appears to be suggesting that some kind of regression is expected this term, but with the teams coming down from League 1 being weaker than those who went up from League 2 there’s no reason why that should be the case.
It wasn’t that long ago that Yeovil Town were plying their trade in the Championship; a small club patently punching above their weight.
Their demise since has been marked, ad last season they finished just four points above the hapless relegation fodder Hartlepool and Leyton Orient. There’s no obvious reason why they should improve this term, and so another campaign of struggle awaits. At 4/1 to be relegated, we’re involved.
And what about poor old Morecambe (9/4), who lurched from disaster to disaster last season off the field but who managed to just about tread water thanks to a fine team spirit and the impassioned cajoling of manager Jim Bentley.
But can the coastal outfit perform such a miracle two seasons in a row? It’s hard to make a case for them doing just that.
The Luton duo of Collins (9/1) and Hylton (12/1) deserve respect in this market, and really it is tough to see who can outfire one or both of them.
John Akinde (12/1) has a habit of finding the net but his Barnet side could face a tough campaign, ad would expect a regression of sorts from the powerful frontman.
An each way option is Scott Kashket (33/1), who boasted a fantastic minutes per goal ratio despite an injury-ravaged campaign at improving Wycombe.