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Who you should put your money on: League One playoffs

Friday 5th May 2017
While playoffs are vastly open competitions possessing large degrees of unpredictability, bookmakers rarely sit on the fence. With certain teams surprising many by making the grade year after year, let's look at the odds from Bet365 in the League One playoffs and which teams I would back to make the final.


Scunthorpe have enjoyed a prosperous season. After missing out on the playoffs last year, finishing seventh, the club are hunting for the Championship. Having led League One for the first half's majority, Iron fans will be gutted their side didn't secure an automatic promotion spot.

Nevertheless, Graham Alexander's crew have made exceptional progress in the three years since being promoted from League Two. Alexander, himself, has made a promising start to his managerial career, Scunthorpe being just his second post.

Josh Morris, Scunthorpe's top goalscorer, will be key to bringing your bet in. Target man Paddy Madden may bring you success, too, following his move from Yeovil Town two years ago.

Odds of 11/4 are reasonable for a team which has done very well this season. Scunthorpe's relatively minor reputation could be a reason the bookies doubt their chances. Still, let's not forget the Iron were a Championship regular until 2011.

4th-Fleetwood Town-5/1

Priced as least likely to go up, Fleetwood are definitely the surprise team to make the League One playoffs. On the other hand, successive promotions through non-league saw the team produce one of England's most famous strikers, Leicester City's Jamie Vardy. Nowadays striker David Ball carries the momentum at Highbury Stadium.

Manager Uwe Rosler knows playoff heartbreak all too well, losing 2-1 to Yeovil Town in the 2013 League One playoffs while at Brentford.

Personally, I believe betmakers have this price spot on. While reasonable value, the Trawlermen finished 19th last season and are thus unlikely to beat favourites Bradford City in a two-legged playoff semi final.

5th-Bradford City-6/4

As mentioned, Bradford City enter the playoffs with added pressure from knowing Bet365 rated them favourites to make the jump this season. The Bantams' huge fan base has enjoyed FA and League Cup success over the years, proving time after time the side is a force to be reckoned with in one-off games. Perhaps that's the reason Bradford is priced at a respectable 6/4.

In his second spell at Valley Parade, Stuart McCall is using his wealth of experience to prepare his charges for a successful playoff campaign. Yet, it could be argued Bradford are poorly priced, having no Championship experience in the past decade.

Top goalscorer Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila has managed just nine goals all season, much to the relief of football writers on a deadline. The club has been in a goal drought since Nahki Wells' departure. While I believe this group will make the playoff final with ease, I don't think they've quite got it in them to go up.


Millwall snuck into the playoff places right at the end. The Lions' strong, experienced squad can count their lucky stars they can still make a swift return to the Championship following shock relegation in 2014-15.

Interestingly, Millwall are the only playoff team that hasn't featured in League Two in the past four years, a key advantage in experience that could propel them back up into the Championship.

Veteran striker Steve Morrison will be looking to carry his club over the line. Millwall are the side I'd back in the League One campaign. While Bet365 haven't made the Lions favourites, they're still in with a great chance to make the grade. They host Scunthorpe in a two-legged tie I believe they will win. Priced at 11/4, they're good odds to back.

Jack Drury
19 years of age. Sport and Exercise Science Student at Loughborough University. Peterborough United.

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