Monday 18th January 2021
In Across the Leagues today:
We’re approaching the half-way point in the English Football League (EFL) season…
In these 24-team divisions – the Championship, League One, and League Two – it’s a gruelling 46-game campaign.
Fixture postponements have jumbled things up a bit. But we’re just about at the half-way stage in the EFL.
In League Two, 11 teams are on or have just passed the 23-game marker, and everyone has played at least 20.
This seems a pertinent time, then, to take a look at the 2020/21 Outright prices – and see if we can snap up any mid-season value…
I’ve spent some time going up and down the leagues, taking note of the league tables, current form, and adding in the ongoing January transfers, too.
There are plenty of odds and options around, with the major firms still betting Each Way in the league Outright Winner and Top Goalscorer markets, for example.
League Two is my area of focus today…
So far in 2020/21, my ante-post picks have been a mixed bag. At the big prices that I go for, until someone patents a crystal ball, that’s always going to be the case.
For example, since the start of September, I’ve put up two Each Way picks in the Top Goalscorer market in League Two…
Danny Rose (33/1) has departed Mansfield to try his hand in League One with Northampton Town. So, he won’t be scoring any goals in League Two this season.
One man who looks like he will, though, is last season’s top scorer in this division, Eoin Doyle…
The Irishman got 25 goals for Swindon in 2019/20. Doyle looked a good signing for Bolton this summer, and so it’s proving, with 9 goals in 20 league appearances so far, including one at the weekend.
Flagged up at 33/1 on 20th November, Doyle currently sits one goal off a share of the Each Way places (1/4 odds 1-4 places).
One of the men above Eoin in the League Two chart, Max Watters, has just signed for Championship side, Cardiff, in a million-pound deal. So, Watters won’t be adding to his 13-goal tally for Crawley.
Elsewhere, 14-goal Leyton Orient forward Danny Johnson is now out injured, too.
Doyle is already doing well, and he could well climb higher in the charts, too. From 33/1 in November, Bet365 and Paddy Power now have the Bolton striker at 12/1.
Let’s see if we can anticipate a similarly positive price-shift in the Outright Winner market…
As it stands, just 5 points separate the top nine teams in the League Two table. With the top three gaining automatic promotion, and one other earning promotion via the Playoffs (teams finishing 4th- 7th). There’s all to play for in this division…
In terms of the prices, there are no prizes for guessing that I’m only keen on the teams trading at decent, outsider odds right now.
Leyton Orient (7th, 36 pts) could be one of those, at 50/1 and 40/1. Although as we’ve just noted, Orient’s top scorer Danny Johnson has picked up an injury (timeline as yet unknown).
And while 7 out of 8 home wins is mightily impressive, can Orient keep that up throughout the second half of the season? The next home assignment will be a big one, with 4th-place Forest Green visiting the Breyer Group Stadium this coming Saturday.
Another team currently available at 50/1 and 40/1 are Morecambe. And there’s a decent case to be made for them making a run for promotion, and even the title…
The Shrimps may have gone down 2-0 at fortress Leyton Orient at the weekend, but that came courtesy of two late goals, with an 88th-minute unfortunate own goal doing the damage. Indeed, Orient boss Ross Embleton acknowledged that the visitors had the better chances until that goal went in.
Prior to that defeat, Morecambe had won 4 in a row – including a 2-1 home win v Orient in December.
Derek Adams’ side have also won 4 in a row at home. And for the season overall, their 10 league wins have been split equally between 5 at the Mazuma Stadium, and 5 on the road.
Tomorrow evening (Tuesday), Morecambe are at home v Walsall. With the visiting side sitting below them in the table (11th), and without a win in 4 games, there’s a chance for the Shrimps to get straight back to winning ways here.
As it stands, Morecambe are 9th, on 34 pts. With the top of League Two bunched up as we’ve already noted, games in hand could prove significant. On that topic, four of the eight teams above them in the table have played a game more, while two sides have played two more than Morecambe.
Their upcoming fixture list, on paper at least, looks to have plenty of points up for grabs. After Walsall tomorrow night, the Shrimps are at home again on Saturday. Taking on Colchester, who are 12th, with just one win from 11 away games – and are winless in their last 6 matches overall.
That brace of home outings is followed by a trip to Exeter. Another side just below Morecambe in the table (10th), Exeter have managed just one win from their last 5 games as I write.
Looking further ahead, each of Morecambe’s next 9 games are all against teams currently below them in the table.
There’s certainly the opportunity for Adams’ side to outstrip odds of 50/1 and 40/1 in the weeks ahead – and mount a serious promotion push.
In the Outright Winner market, the bookmakers offer Each Way terms of 1/4 odds for 1-3 places (eg. automatic promotion).
In the Promotion market, Morecambe are 9/1 and 8/1 to go up via any means. I’m putting both options in the book.
From the analysis above, here are my picks for today…
League Two 2020/21
Each Way terms: 1/4 odds 1-3 places.
There’s another big week of football in store. With a hefty midweek schedule in the EFL for us to enjoy, which I’ll be turning my attention to in tomorrow’s analysis.