Two of the automatic promotion places in the nPower League Two this season look as if they are going to be occupied by Gillingham and Port Vale. They have been the front runners in the division for a while now and both look well set to be heading up the English league tier next season. While Gillingham and Port Vale are battling it out between themselves to settle the not-so-small matter of winning the League Two title (with the Gills edging things narrowly in the nPower League Two Outright Winner market) the big race is on behind them to figure out who may join them going up to League One next season. There looks as if there will be a good scrap for the third and final automatic promotion spot, and four further teams will be hoping to squeeze in through the back door of the League Two play offs.
With three quarters of the 2012/13 League Two season having passed, there was a good nine teams still in the running to book themselves a play off spot. Some of the strongest showings heading into the final stretch of the season were coming from Burton Albion and Northampton Town. They were both trading at around 4/5 with a quarter of the season to go in the nPower League 2 2012/13 to reach play-offs betting odds. That should make them fairly solid bets to secure a top seven finish, and Burton in particular were showing the kind of form over the second half of the season that could get them to the third automatic promotion spot. But teams were so tightly packed that anything was really up for grabs, offering plenty of value around.
One team that was trending very well with a quarter of the season remaining was Cheltenham Town. Despite something of a stuttering start to 2013, when draws were coming their way more than wins, they were holding onto a play off spot, simply thanks to their resilience. So if they find their winning touch again, it won’t take them much to remain a very solid option in npower League 2 2012/13 Play-Offs betting. Rotherham looked to have found a hot streak to keep themselves in the hunt as well as the final stretch of the season approached and along with Southend were being offered at fair value to book themselves a spot in the play offs. With the play off race though in League Two looking fairly evenly matched and open, there is still some good value around in some outside shots.
Perhaps looking the best option to mount a late surge and muscle their way into the play offs is Morecambe. They started to come on strongly since the turn of the new year and were trending well towards a top seven finish. The question is though whether they will be able to keep form going, as well as seeing others above them slip enough for them to squeeze in. With a dozen games remaining in the League Two season, Morecambe were six points adrift of the play offs. Fleetwood started to drift a little in the race, but one team holding steady was Exeter. After the heroics of their League Cup run, Bradford started attracting more interest. After beating Premier League opponents on their way to the League Cup final, where they lost to Swansea, will that experience be enough of a catalyst to put them in the play off race? Or will it have simply been a costly distraction?
Total list of British Football Betting Odds
The jostling for position in the League One promotion and play off races look well set to go all the way right to the end of the season. With a whole clutch of evenly matched sides trying to gain the lucrative promotion up to the Championship, the thin lines between gaining automatic promotion and landing in the play offs look pretty narrow. Then of course, the teams hovering outside of the play offs, who, with a late surge could also get themselves in the mix, will want to have their say. One of the strongest sides of the season in League One, Sheffield United remained one of the favourites to take the League One title. But after coming under pressure from the likes of Swindon, Tranmere and Doncaster, there was a long way to go before anything was going to get settled. The form of the Blades though were at least putting them in a strong spot because of the all important confidence factor.
Still, with a quarter of the season still to go, Sheffield United were hovering around odds of 6/4 in npower League 1 2012/13 to reach play-offs betting odds, which wasn’t looking too bad value seeing as how only two points were separating top from sixth in the league (the final play off spot). So very fine margins and everything to play for, and because of such a close promotion race in League One, there was value abound in pretty much everyone in the race after three quarters of the season had passed. So it could all be about picking out the trending teams and west country side Swindon Town certainly look to be one of those. The Robins look to be growing in stature all the time, looking like very serious League One title contenders, and they strung together a thirteen match unbeaten streak in League One between the start of December and the end of February. That kept them around Evens to make the play offs.
Fellow west country side Yeovil were also trending very well and showing promotion promise. They suffered a really poor start to the season but then really came on strongly from December onwards, tightening up the defence and starting to find some great form as highlighted in their eight wins on the bounce through the end of December to mid February (keeping clean sheets in half of those matches). So they are making a great case to land in the play offs and to battle for promotion. They could be helped along in their progress with the likes of Tranmere, Doncaster and Bournemouth both letting their respective oot off the pedal a bit in the promotion race. Both have been strong challengers for the play offs all season, but wobbles could put them in jeopardy, but what does that mean? Good value.
So to the outsiders, those floating around on the periphery of the play offs. Realistically there is only one strong contender to potentially push their way into play off contention and that is Brentford. Their big moment of the season came when they picked up a draw in the FA Cup against Chelsea, but they could top that with a strong push towards the Championship. Anyone beyond that was looking a long shot at the stage of just over a quarter of the season to go. Representing the best of the long shots in npower League 1 2012/13 to reach play-offs betting odds were Notts County, Walsall and Coventry, but on such an even keel as the top seven already were, anyone outside getting in faces a tough task.