Northern Monkey Punter

UK Football ante post 2019/20

Here's my ante posts for the new season......


(3/7/19) - Premier League - Newcastle to be relegated 4/1 Black Type, 7/2 Ladbrokes, Coral

(24/7/19) - Premier League - Man City (season handicap) (+0) 12/1 Bet 365, each-way (see staking notes below)

(24/7/19) - Premier League - Liverpool (season handicap) (+4) 15/1 Bet 365, each-way (see staking notes below)

(3/8/19) - Championship - Charlton to be relegated 9/4 Bet 365

(3/7/19) - League 1 - Rotherham top six finish 11/8 Bet Victor, 5/4 Paddy Power

(3/7/19) - League 1 - Rotherham to be promoted 9/2 Paddy Power

(1/8/19) - League 1 - Portsmouth to be top south east club 5/6 Bet 365

(25/6/19) - League 2 - Bradford City to be promoted 5/2 William Hill

(25/6/19) - League 2 - Bradford City to win the league 10/1 Paddy Power, each-way

(3/8/19) - National League - AFC Fylde to win the league 7/1 Bet 365, each-way

(3/8/19) - National League - AFC Fylde to be promoted 9/4 Bet 365

(27/7/19) - National League North - York City to win the league, 5/1 Bet 365, each-way

In the top SE club market in League 1, Portsmouth are 5/6 against Oxford (7/2), Gillingham (7/1), AFC Wimbledon (9/1), Southend (10/1) and Wycombe (12/1).


These are fun bets, designed to give a long-term interest for small stakes. The reasoning (apart from the teams already mentioned in the main write-ups for each division) is clumped together at the bottom of this page....

(23/7/19) Acca 1 - pays 12.74/1 with Bet 365

  • Leicester to finish in the top half (Premier League)
  • Leeds to be top Yorkshire club (Championship)
  • Rotherham to finish in the top six (League One)
  • Bradford to finish in the top seven (League Two)

In the top Yorkshire club market Leeds (6/4) are up against Middlesbrough (10/3), Huddersfield (4/1), Sheff Wed (9/2), Hull (9/1) and Barnsley (20/1).

(24/7/19) Acca 2 -  (all seasonal match bets) pays 5.96/1 with Bet 365

  • Crystal Palace to finish above Brighton (Premier League)
  • West Brom to finish above Birmingham (Championship)
  • Leeds to finish above Huddersfield (Championship)
  • Rotherham to finish above Doncaster (League One)
  • Plymouth to finish above Exeter (League Two)

(24/7/19) Acca 3 - (all top team goalscorers) pays 5.46/1 with William Hill

  • Mo Salah (Liverpool)
  • Sergio Aguero (Man City)
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
  • Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

(25/7/19) Acca 4 - pays 15.86/1 with Bet 365

  • Leicester to finish top half (Premier League)
  • Leeds to finish top six (Championship)
  • Blackpool to be top north west team (League One)
  • Mansfield to finish top seven (League Two)

In the top North West club market in L1 Blackpool (5/2) are up against Fleetwood (2/1), Rochdale (5/1), Accrington (13/2), Tranmere (7/1), Bolton (12/1) and Bury (33/1).

(25/7/19) Acca 5 - pays 19.62/1 with Bet 365

  • Leicester to finish top half (Premier League)
  • Brentford to finish top six (Championship)
  • Sunderland to finish top two (League One)
  • Mansfield to finish top seven (League Two)

(25/7/19) Acca 6 - pays 9.29/1 with William Hill

  • Leicester to finish top half (Premier League)
  • Brentford to finish in the top half (Championship)
  • Sunderland to be promoted (League One)
  • Mansfield to finish top seven (League Two)

(25/7/19) Acca 7 - pays 193.9/1 with Bet 365

  • Leeds to be promoted (Championship)
  • Rotherham to be promoted (League One)
  • Bradford to be promoted (League Two)
  • York to win National League North

(1/8/19) Acca 8 - pays 6.59/1 with Bet 365

  • Leicester to finish top half (Premier League)
  • Leeds to finish top six (Championship)
  • Portsmouth top SE club (League One)
  • Mansfield top seven finish (League Two)

(1/8/19) Acca 9 - pays 10.45/1 with Bet 365

  • Leicester to finish top half (Premier League)
  • Leeds to be top Yorkshire club (Championship)
  • Portsmouth top SE club (League One)
  • Bradford top seven finish (League Two)
(3/8/19) Acca 10 - pays 23.37/1 with Bet 365
  • Charlton to be relegated (Championship)
  • Portsmouth top south east club (League One)
  • AFC Fylde to be promoted (National League)

Premier League

24th July 2019

Bet 365 have published their handicap prices for the Premier League this morning. 

MAN CITY (+0) and LIVERPOOL (+4) finished well clear of the rest of the league last year when finishing 1-2 and if they have similarly strong seasons this time around then they could feasibly cover the handicap again. 

Such is the way this market is framed, with 1/4 odds available EW on four places, it makes sense to back both selections to equal stakes each-way, then even if one of the selections places you effectively cover 3/4 of your initial stake outlay if Man City place and if Liverpool place you'd recover 94 % of it. 

If Liverpool win then you are effectively looking at a 9/2 ish winner on the market overall, irrespective of how Man City fare. If Man City place then even better. If Man City win you are looking at 10/3 ish winner. 

There is obviously the danger a surprise package emerges from nowhere and wildly outperforms the bookies' expectations, but with the fall back option of the place components of the bet for cover, the two big guns are worth getting onside before the odds are inevitably cut. 

Sky Bet, for example, are 9/1 about Liverpool and Man City, in their handicap offering.

3rd July 2019

After Rafa Benitez recently left the club in order to pursue an opportunity in China, rather than extend his time on Tyneside, NEWCASTLE UNITED could be set for a season of struggle and look value in the relegation market at 4/1.

The Magpies finished 10th in 2017/18 then 13th last season, but Benitez is the glue that has held the club together, following their promotion from the Championship and amid a backdrop of off-the-field issues. His departure, and the timing of it, has the potential to rock the boat.

A recent takeover bid appears to have failed to come to fruition and given most teams are now back in training and many begin their pre-season friendly schedule at the weekend, you can't help but think that Newcastle are going to be behind in their preparations when the season proper kicks off in August.

Just as worrying for their fans will be the news emerging, this morning, that the club are prepared to sell striker Ayoze Perez to Leicester for £30m. That follows on the back of top scorer Salomon Rondon returning back to his parent club, West Brom, upon the expiration of his loan spell, while there is also talk of Joselu returning to his native Spain. The club resume pre-season training tomorrow with Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto as recognised strikers at their disposal. Perez and Rondon accounted for 25 of Newcastle's goals last season between them.

If you knew every penny of the £30m was going to be re-invested in the first team then, for a player who cost £1.5m five years ago, £30m for Perez could be seen as a decent bit of business, but the given the way the club has been run under Mike Ashley - who wants out - you cannot be confident that the £30m will be utilised by the manager - that is if there was even one in place.

As Ben Mayhew's excellent scatter plots showed on his Experiemental 3-6-1 blog last season, Newcastle were already in trouble judging by their expected goals numbers last season. They were positioned in the 'worse attack, worse defence' quarter of the plot - exactly where you don't wish to be - and now they've seemingly lost their two top scorers.

The relegation market is obviously made by the promoted sides. However, there is a steely spirit in the Shefffield United camp under Chris Wilder and Aston Villa, who have finally atoned for several years of underperformance now the excellent Dean Smith has gone to Villa Park, are another on an upward curve. I think both sides could stay up on the basis of good home records.

Although Norwich topped the Championship table last year, perhaps their all-out attacking approach could leave them vulnerable in the top flight - like we saw with Fulham last year.

Ben's expected goal stats for the Championship last year suggested the Canaries might not have even been the best team in the league last year, so I worry for them somewhat, as I do for Brighton, who have lost Chris Hughton and appointed Graham Potter from Swansea.

The Seagulls looked dead men walking last year, with only relegated pair Huddersfield and Fulham faring worse on the expected goals stats, however, they are half the price of Newcastle to be relegated and at least they have some financial stability in the background with Tony Bloom at the helm.

Burnley continue to punch above their weight under Sean Dyche and although they could be set for another relegation scrap, they have shown in the past they have the characters in the squad who are up for a fight.

All things considered, 4/1 for Newcastle looks the value play at the prices.

League One

3rd July 2019

ROTHERHAM were always going to struggle in the Championship last term as they lived within their means and seemingly operated with one of the lowest budgets in a division littered with parachute payments and silly spending.

However, their prudence last term could count in their favour now back in League One, as there is no need for them to rip their squad apart and move on big hitters to slash the wage bill.

Will Vaulks has recently departed for Cardiff, Joe Newell has headed north of the border to join Hibs and Richie Towell and Marek Rodak have returned to their parent clubs following loan spells (Towell has since signed for Salford).

Nevertheless, Paul Warne has already been active in the transfer market in securing their replacements and the arrival of Freddie Ladapo in a club-record £500k deal from Plymouth was a clear statement of intent from their board - the Millers are bidding to secure an immediate return back to the second tier and arguably now have a stronger attack than they had in the Championship.

Whilst their style may not be the most attractive - hitting long balls to beanpole striker Michael Smith - they are certainly more effective in League One than the Championship, and Smith will relish having a strike partner again, rather than playing upfront on his own away from home - when the Millers regularly played a game of damage limitation and recorded the lowest number of away wins (one) in the division, scoring a paltry 20 goals.

Ladapo scored 19 times in the division for relegated Plymouth last season and was rumoured to have interested promotion-chasing Sunderland during the January transfer window.

The arrival of the well-regarded midfielder Dan Barlaser from Newcastle on a season-long loan deal looks a decent capture too - he gained plenty of League One experience during a productive loan spell at Accrington last year and was interesting several Championship clubs.

Shaun MacDonald brings a wealth of experience with him and looks another good signing at League One level, following his move from Championship Wigan, to add further strength to their midfield.

When Kenny Jackett left the club in the 2016/17 season it was Warne who was appointed caretaker manager for the remainder of that Championship relegation season, then he gained an immediate promotion back out of League One during his first full season in charge, finishing fourth behind the big-spending Lancashire clubs, Wigan and Blackburn, and beating Scunthorpe and Shrewsbury in the play-offs.

He's thus got experience of picking players back up off the floor and freshening them up following relegation, so prices around the 11/8 and 5/4 for his side to finish in the top six look really attractive.

I've had a good bet on them to make the top six but I'd even go so far as having a little nibble on the 9/2 with Paddy Power for them to gain promotion as well.

Sunderland and Portsmouth are the big clubs in the division with the hefty budgets (the Mackems especially), though relegated Ipswich have financial difficulties which may distract them and Peterborough do a magnificent job of fluffing their lines every year in this division - despite the fact they continue to unearth more and more attacking talent and sell on for profit.

Newly promoted Lincoln are respected under Danny Cowley and the capture of Jack Payne catches the eye, as he shone, at times, in a dismal Bradford side last season. MK Dons, another who came up from League Two last season, are another team I respect, given they have that momentum and good resources behind them.

However, this was a dire division last season - epitomised by an average Doncaster side securing sixth spot - and Rotherham could be firmly in the mix once they rediscover their swagger now back within their comfort zone.

League Two

25th June 2019

Their previous League One campaign was doomed from the outset, but whereas they scuffed their way through a poorly-planned pre-season with an imbalanced squad of misfits 12 months ago and were then relegated by April, BRADFORD CITY now appear to have a sense of direction under Gary Bowyer and could be well prepared for what League Two has in store in 2019/20.

Bowyer has experience of working under difficult owners, which is just as well as, together with CEO Julian Rhodes and remaining chairman Stefan Rupp (who has pledged his financial commitment to the club), he bids to pick up the pieces after Edin Rahic's calamitous reign as chairman. He spent many years working under the Venky's at Blackburn and then gained promotion out of League Two at the first attempt at Blackpool under Karl Oyston.

That experience of triumphing through adversity earmarked him as the ideal man to replace David Hopkin at Valley Parade in the spring, and while he was unable to prevent the inevitable last term, with City's relegation officially confirmed in April after a timid defeat at Coventry, his planning for the forthcoming campaign began months ago and Bowyer has been quite clear in what he desires from his new-look Bradford side.

He's spoken of the physicality of the division and sought to address the lack of height in the squad. He's also finally brought in a big unit upfront who can take the hits for a strike partner. The capture of Clayton Donaldson, despite his quiet year for Championship strugglers Bolton last term, represents a fine piece of business at League Two level.

Donaldson smashed in 28 goals in 43 appearances for Crewe the last time he graced this league in 2010-11 and he's since enjoyed spells scoring goals regularly for Brentford, Birmingham and Sheffield United in the League One and the Championship.

With his proven track record I am sure there would have been no shortage of suitors in League One, though Donaldson is now aged 35 and perhaps he just couldn't resist the one last chance to return to his hometown club, who he supported as a boy.

It was announced this morning that James Vaughan has also joined from Championship side Wigan and, together, they could form a lethal strike pairing at this level.

Vaughan earned himself moves to Sunderland and Wigan on the back of a fine 2016-17 season at Bury in League One (netted 24 in 37 appearances) and could be another key older figure in the squad as he drops into League Two for the first time in his career.

Although not as eyecatching as the Donaldson-Vaughan captures at first glance, I am excited by centre-half Paudie O'Connor arriving on a permanent three-year deal from Leeds.

League One clubs were sniffing around the Irishman, who arrived on loan last January, though he has experience of working with Bowyer at Blackpool as well as at City and was even handed the captain's armband on a few occasions when he finally broke into the side (was initially out of favour under Hopkin).

As the excellent scatter plots on Experimental 3-6-1 showed last year, Bradford have major rebuilding work to do this summer if they are to bounce straight back up.

Their horrific defence, which had the worse 'expected goals allowed' figure in the division needed a complete overhaul. It has thus been good to see Sam Hornby (GK), Adam Henley, Jackson Longridge, Ben Richards-Everton and Tyler French all arrive after several underperformers were shown the door.

As Ben Richards-Everton's former employers Accrington Stanley showed during their magnificent League Two promotion campaign in 2017/18, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts at this level. Organisation and discipline from a squad willing to play for their manager counts for plenty.

Bowyer showed during his promotion year at Blackpool he has the ability to organise a solid defensive unit (only Luton and champions Portsmouth conceded fewer than their 46 that season) and if he can do the same at Bradford this year then you'd fancy Donaldson and Vaughan, with their pedigrees, to fire in the goals needed to sustain a promotion push.

I've backed the Bantams each-way (3 places, 1/4 odds) at 10-1 in the outright market, with a stronger bet on them at 5-2 in the promotion market.

With nine new faces already through the door, I think most of the business may already be done. Misfiring Eoin Doyle, a marquee capture from Preston last year, may now be set to depart, following the arrival of Vaughan, though Sean Scannell, who missed most of last season with injury, has Championship back class and could be a huge talent at League Two level if he stays fit.

Shay McCartan is another to keep an eye on following his return from a season-long loan at League Two Champions Lincoln. He struggled in League One for City two years ago but has been productive for both Morecambe and Lincoln in the basement and will be working with Gary Bowyer for the first time. He could fill the number 10 void left by Jack Payne.

If we are being greedy, I would like to see Bowyer bring in a big bruiser in midfielder - someone in the Lee Cattermole or Gary Jones mould who will run through brick walls and not shirk any battles in central midfield. Even without any more additions I think 10/1 to win the title and 5/2 for promotion are good prices in a league in which moneybags Salford make the market.

I would have been more interested in Leyton Orient of the promoted sides, at their respective prices (20/1 as opposed to 7/1), but the tragic loss of their manager, Justin Edinburgh, from out of the blue has rocked the club and there will be a period of grieving which could understandably disrupt their momentum.

The two other relegated sides, Plymouth and Scunthorpe, will no doubt be thereabouts and Mansfield have to be respected with the resources they have at their disposal.

I am a big fan of Michael Flynn and thought he did a superb job to get Newport in the play-offs (as well as having their great cup run) last year, but, all things considered, Bowyer's record of promotion at Blackpool, allied to what appears a competitive League Two budget, convinces me Bradford are the bet.

Non-league - National League North

25th July 2019

My sole non-league bet this year is YORK CITY to win the National League North. 

Steve Watson left promotion-chasing National League side Gateshead and dropped a division to join the Minstermen last season when they were around nine points off the play-offs.

A series of pleasing pre-season results has seen them build up some momentum ahead of the new campaign and given the job Watson did at Gateshead, working on a budget, you'd like to think he could thrive at perennial underachievers York, who have a new stadium on the horizon. 

They've also secured the capture of experienced centre back Steve McNulty, who captained Tranmere to promotion out of League Two (via the play-offs) last season, as one of their main summer signings and he looks a terrific signing for the level.

Bet 365 are offering 1/4 odds on three places in this division so I've backed them each-way.

Accumulator/other reasoning

25th July 2019

Bradford, Rotherham and York write-ups are provided above, but for the other teams I've got onside in the accumulators but not provided reasoning for above, here's a few brief words on them....

Leicester finished ninth last season but went on a torrid run just after Christmas which saw them lose five in six before Claude Puel was sacked in February, with the Foxes sat in 12th. Brendan Rodgers came in and has slowly began to transform their style of play, as well as seeing the results pick back up. Jamie Vardy fluorished in the latter stages of the last campaign and with plenty of activity in the transfer market this summer - with £76.59m splashed on the likes of James Justin, Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez (only two other clubs have spent more this summer - Man City and Villa), you'd like to think they could cement their position in the top half and kick on towards finishing a couple of places higher in the table with no European involvement as a potential distraction.

Crystal Palace can beat anyone on their day - as their F.A. Cup run last season showed, and although they are a team I'd expect to finish in the bottom half, I have backed them in a match bet vs Brighton, who fared badly on expected goals stats last season and have appointed an unproven Premier League manager in Graham Potter. Typically poor travellers, they could be in trouble unless they continually pick up points at home.

Leeds were unlucky not to get promoted last season if the expected goals stats were anything to go by.  They were arguably the best team in the Championship based on the quality of chances they created and allowed against them, but a surprise play-off defeat to Derby County derailed their promotion bid. Crucially, the Leeds owner has activated a 12-month extension to the contract Marcelo Bielsa signed last summer, though, and with the main man at the helm, compensation may be in the offing. 

Brentford's form dipped dramatically once Dean Smith departed for Aston Villa in November but they recovered in the latter stages of the campaign and the underlying expected goal stats suggested they deserved to finish much higher than 11th overall last term. Pontus Jansson and David Raya look two interesting defensive recruits and if they keep hold of 25-goal Neal Maupay - who Sheffield United were chasing before landing Lys Mousset from Bournemouth, then they could be in for a productive campaign.

Birmingham sacked Garry Monk in June and have had a turbulent pre-season, also losing star striker Che Adams to Southampton and winger Jota to fierce city rivals Aston Villa. Dan Crowley has come in from Eredivisie side Willem II but West Brom, under new manager Slaven Bilic, potentially have much greater firepower and I fancy the Baggies to come out on top in the match bet.

Sunderland missed out on promotion from League One in the playoffs but a losing mentality had set in at the club going into last season and, given the changes made, with new manager Jack Ross coming in, along with several new faces, it was a perfectly understandable and acceptable season for the Mackems. I think they'll have a different mindset this year and if they convert several of their plentiful draws into wins (Marc McNulty adds further firepower to a strong attack that already contains Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg) then they have a good budget and enough quality in their squad to do real damage in the division. Keeping hold of star 'keeper Jon McLaughlin - who drew glances from sides in the Championship - has been another big plus. I've backed them to finish top two and also to gain promotion - I hope Rotherham are right in the mix with them though.

Blackpool interest me in the top 'north west' club market in League One. With Bury and Bolton likely to be battling relegation due to financial difficulties and potential points deductions, and with Rochdale and Accrington both teams with limited resources, you'd like to think this market could be settled between the two market leaders. Fleetwood head the market and made an eyecatching signing in former Sheffield United midfielder Paul Coutts, though manager Joey Barton is set to appear in court in October, after being charged with assault, and that could rock the boat somewhat. Blackpool, who were taken over by new owners last season, have made a shrewd managerial appointment in Simon Grayson. He's achieved promotion from the division with them before, along with Leeds, Huddersfield and Preston, so is the 'go to' man for sides looking to get out of the division. If he can get the Tangerines to finish in the top 10 then we'd probably have a good chance of winning this leg of the bet.

Plymouth were relegated from League One on goal difference last season but their hopes of an immediate return to League One were boosted when they lured Ryan Lowe from newly promoted Bury, who are experiencing financial difficulties and have had their League Two promotion-winning side torn apart in pre-season. Five Shakers players, most notably star midfielder Danny Mayor, have joined Lowe at Home Park this summer, along with Byron Moore, Will Aimson, Dom Telford and Kyle McFadzean. 'Bury mk II', as they are likely to be known next season, thus have a manager and core of players who know what it takes to get out of the division together. 

Mansfield came out favourably on expected goals stats in League Two last year, finding themselves performing similarly to promoted pair Bury and Lincoln, and although they were beaten in the play-offs they have retained a good core of League Two players and added proven quality upfront with the captures of Andy Cook, who scored goals for fun in the National League for Tranmere and fared respectably for relegated Walsall in League One last term, and Nicky Maynard, who has spent much of his career playing in the top two divisions before joining Bury and smashing in 21 goals in 37 appearances last season.

With regards to the Premier League top goalscorer bets, I've backed all four players on the assumption there could be VAR penalty carnage in the top flight this season. Aguero, Vardy, Salah and Aubameyang were all regular penalty takers last season (Milner was on several for Liverpool but wasn't a nailed on starter). 

1st August 2019

Portsmouth make some appeal in the 'top south east' club market at 5/6. Although they've lost star defender Matt Clarke to Brighton, Sean Raggett has come in on loan from Norwich and looks a decent signing for the level to fill the void. The capture of goalscorer John Marquis from Doncaster, yesterday, in a deal rumoured to be in the region of £2m, also caught the eye. 

Pompey, with a decent budget and Kenny Jackett at the helm, look well equipped for another title bid, whereas, personally, I'd be surprised if any of those teams pitched against them in this market were in contention for a top six finish. This looks one of the best ante post bets out there in the division this summer.

3rd August 2019

It's here! The Football League season kicked off last night with Luton and Middlesbrough fighting out a thrilling 3-3. 

Up to now I haven't had an ante post single in the Championship, though I've just added Charlton to be relegated. 

The Addicks did well to gain promotion via the play-offs last season but things haven't all gone to plan in the summer, with manager Lee Bowyer appearing to leave the club, after failing to agree a contract extension, only for the club to do a u-turn and agree new terms days later!

The Championship remains fiercely tough, though, and Charlton may struggle to compete with their budget, especially since star man Joe Aribo has departed for Rangers.  

In the National League, AFC Fylde make some appeal. They continue to improve under Dave Challinor and bounced back from their play-off final heartache inflicted by Salford by winning the F.A. Trophy to quickly get the disappointment out of their system. 

I've backed them each-way to win the league (3 places, 1/4 odds) and gain promotion.

Recent Winners

Some of the recent bets advised on NMP include:

Talia 6/1 - WON

Angel Shared 9/2 - WON

Buy The Dip 2/1 - WON

Tony Montana 5/1 - WON

Starlust 7/1 - WON

Mitbaahy 20/1 - WON

Pepsi Cat 5/1 - WON

Woodhay Wonder 7/2 - WON

Change Signs 7/2 - WON

Economics 5/1 - WON

Clarendon House 7/1 - WON

Shadow Army 9/2 - WON

Hiatus 4/1 - WON

Eldrickjones 10/3 - WON

Bellarchi 14/1 - WON

Voodoo Ray 4/1 - WON

Democracy Dilemma 9/2 - WON

Moonlit Cloud 9/1 - WON

Brummell 11/4 - WON

Bague D'Or 7/1 - WON

Key To Cotai 11/1 - WON

Desperate Hero 6/1 - WON

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