UK Football Ante Post 2023/24
Here are my ante posts for the forthcoming 2023/24 season.
- Premier League (30/7/2023) - Burnley +48 pts seasonal handicap 14/1 Bet 365, each way (4 places, 1/4 odds)
- Premier League (30/7/2023) - Bournemouth to be relegated 5/2 Coral, Ladbrokes
- Premier League (30/7/2023) - Marcus Rashford top scorer (w/o Erling Haaland), 12/1 Betfred, 10/1 Paddy, each-way (both 4 places, 1/4 odds)
- Championship (30/7/2023) - Ipswich top six finish 12/5 Bet 365, 15/8 Betfred
- League One (30/7/2023) - Bolton to be promoted 11/4 Paddy Power, 9/4 William Hill, Betfred
- League Two (30/7/2023) - Stockport outright 6/1 Bet 365, Paddy Power, each-way (3 places, 1/4 odds)
- League Two (30/7/2023) - Stockport to be promoted 11/8 Bet 365, 5/4 Coral, Paddy Power
- League Two (30/7/2023) - Andy Cook top goalscorer 12/1 Bet 365, 10/1 Betfred, Sky Bet, Bet Victor, (4 places, 1/4 odds)
- National League (4/8/2023) - Oldham to be promoted 4/1 Paddy Power, 7/2 William Hill
Acca 1 (pays 4.56/1 with Coral) (posted 30/7/23)
- Arsenal top four finish 4/9
- Ipswich top half finish 2/5
- Bolton top six finish 5/6
- Stockport top seven finish 1/2
Acca 2 (pays 5.62/1 with Coral) (posted 30/7/23)
- Arsenal top four finish 4/9
- Leeds top six finish 4/6
- Bolton top six finish 5/6
- Stockport top seven finish 1/2
Acca 3 (pays 75.78/1 with Coral) (posted 30/7/23)
- Bournemouth to be relegated 5/2
- Leeds to be promoted 9/4
- Bolton to be promoted 2/1
- Stockport to be promoted 5/4
Multi bet 4 (treble pays 23.28/1 with Bet 365 - see prices below - or 20/1 with Paddy/Betfred) (posted 30/7/23)
- Ipswich to finish top six 12/5 (Championship)
- Bolton to be promoted 2/1 (League One)
- Stockport to be promoted 11/8 (League Two)
Acca 5 (pays 5.91/1 with Bet 365) (posted 1/8/23)
- Burnley top PL newcomer (4/7 vs Sheff Utd and Luton)
- Leeds top Yorkshire club (13/20 vs Sheff Wed, Hull, Huddersfield & Rotherham, Championship)
- Derby top Midlands club (1/3 vs Lincoln, Burton, Port Vale, Shrewsbury & Northampton, League One)
- Bradford top Yorkshire club (Evs vs Doncaster, Grimsby & Harrogate, League Two)
Acca 6 (pays 5.14/1 with William Hill) (posted 4/8/23)
- Arsenal top four finish (Premier League)
- Ipswich top half finish (Championship)
- Bolton top six finish (League One)
- Stockport top seven finish (League Two)
- Oldham top seven finish (National League)
Multi bet 7 (treble pays 40/1 Betway, 28/1 Paddy Power, Bet 365, 24/1 Betfred, 22/1 Hills) (posted 4/8/23)
- Bolton to be promoted (League One)
- Stockport to be promoted (League Two)
- Oldham to be promoted (National League)
Multi bet 8 (3 x each-way doubles and each-way treble on these three outright picks, 3 places, 1/4 odds) (posted 4/8/23)
PaddyPower odds are 5/1, 5/1 and 15/2, respectively. Bet 365 are 6/1, 5/1, 6/1. Coral and Ladbrokes are both 11/2, 4/1, 7/1. Hills and Betfred are 5/1, 4/1 and 7/1.
- Bolton outright (League One)
- Stockport outright (League Two)
- Oldham outright (National League)
The Premier League looks a bit of a minefield punting wise this season. Last season we played it safe and backed Arsenal for the top six. They actually improved so much they emerged as huge title challengers and finished second, but getting them onside this year is tougher as their odds have understandably been trimmed in all markets - they are priced up as second favourites (5/1) behind Man City (8/11), and ahead of Liverpool (8/1).
What makes this season so tough to fathom is that Spurs and Chelsea, the latter especially, underperformed so much last season in finishing eighth and 12th. Liverpool, too, flopped badly and never looked in the title race, before they picked up a little in the closing stages to finish fifth. Then we had the likes of Newcastle, Aston Villa and Brighton all performing excellently (the latter two under new managers).
In Newcastle's case, they broke into the top four, though they now have to manage a Champions League campaign without their performance dipping in the league, which may be tough. West Ham, in the conversation for a top-six finish or in the 'without the big x' markets in the past, also bombed out badly in the league last season while they focussed on winning the Europa Conference League. You'd like to think they will finish higher than 14th this time around, but given star man Declan Rice has just departed for Arsenal and their summer recruitment has been very slow, who knows?
Can Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham bounce back to the level we'd expect, and can Villa, Brighton and Newcastle build on superb seasons last term, while juggling their European adventures?
The current situation surrounding Harry Kane also makes punting on the league - which starts a week on Friday (11th August) - difficult. Kane has one year left on his deal and Spurs now seem open to cashing in on him, rather than letting him leave on a free next summer. While chairman Daniel Levy would understandably prefer to sell him to Bayern Munich, to whom the player has supposedly given his word, the player is also rumoured to favour a move to Man Utd.
Man Utd have been chasing Atalanta forward Rasmus Hojlund as a contingency plan, and the press are reporting this weekend that the Denmark striker has agreed a five-year deal. I'm not sure £72m for him represents such good value when the figure banded about for Kane was £100m, but, basically, if Kane joins United, I would regard them as title challengers and tough to knock out of the top four.
Erik Ten Hag did a wonderful job last season to finish third. United probably paid the price for challenging on so many fronts, as they started to pick up injuries and their backup options undermined them in Europe, especially. Casemiro was outstanding. Marcus Rashford fluourished and Bruno Fernandes' form picked up once Ronaldo had been moved on. Without Kane, though, I wouldn't be interested in backing United in any of the outright markets.
If Kane stays at Spurs and decides against a move to Bayern (or elsewhere), then Spurs are no forlorn hope to squeeze their way into the top four - especially since Richarlison could be freshened up by the change of manager and James Maddison represents a superb capture from Leicester. Until Kane's situation is resolved, there are too many unknowns, though.
I've backed Arsenal for a top-four finish at 1/2 in some ante-post accumulators, as the summer arrivals of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber all help strengthen an already-strong squad.
ARSENAL's xGF ranked as joint second-best in the division (with Newcastle) behind Man City last season, while their defensive xGA was second only to Man City. Despite losing key players Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba to injury at various points, the Gunners finished nine points clear of third-placed Man Utd, even though they were five points adrift of Man City themselves.
Arteta's men appear better equipped to deal with injuries and balancing a European campaign this time, so they'd be my tentative pick for an interest in the Premier League.
Brighton, in the 'without the big 7' market, would have tempted me at 13/8 but losing Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool is a blow. The Seagulls have reinvested the £42m in bringing in striker Joao Pedro from Watford, 'keeper Bart Verbruggen from Anderlecht and centre-back Igor from Fiorentina, but all are unproven in the Premier League, so a watching brief looks best advised.
The same can also be said for Villa's signings of Moussa Diaby from Leverkusen and centre-back Pau Torres from Villareal, although their addition of Youri Tielemans on a free from Leicester looks a cracking, risk-free signing on the flip side.
I think last season's xG figures may be more useful in looking at the bottom end of the table. We often see newly promoted sides staying up now, capitalising on the 'element of the unknown', so BURNLEY, who walked the Championship, have to be of interest getting +48 points on Bet 365's seasonal handicap (William Hill offer a similar market in shop with slightly different handicaps assigned to each team). We have had seasons where the champions have notched 99-100 points (Liverpool in 2019-20 and Man City in 2017-18, respectively) but we've also had seasons where a total in the 80s was sufficient (89 for Man City last season).
If Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham improve at the top end and Man City end up winning the league with 80-something points again, Burnley would 'only' need to survive with 42 points or so to be real players in the handicap market. Only three of the last 10 Championship winners have been relegated from the Premier League and it will be interesting to see how the 'new-look' Burnley fare back in the top division.
Under Sean Dyche, in the past, the Clarets' approach was very much setting up to be tough to beat and effective. Under Vincent Kompany, however, the style has been transformed to being fast-paced and entertaining. Fingers crossed they can be the breath of fresh air Leeds were when they were promoted from the Championship under Marcelo Bielsa and finished ninth when playing without fear the following year.
In terms of relegation, BOURNEMOUTH look strong contenders for the drop. Their xG last season was poor and they ranked second-worst in the division for xGF (after Wolves) and worst in the division for xGA. Gary O'Neil kept them up after taking over as caretaker manager in November and, in fairness, finishing 15th with such a limited squad was probably an over-achievement.
The club have headed in a different direction over the summer and appointed former Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola, but the Spanish boss could have his work cut out keeping the Cherries in the top flight as he has been thrown in at the deep end with a difficult schedule of fixtures in the first few months of the season (they face Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal before the end of September).
Tough-tackling midfielder Jefferson Lerma has gone to Palace and their European recruits come with risk attached - Hamed Junior Traore (winger) joins from Sassuolo, left-back Milos Kerkez arrives from AZ, midfielder Romain Faivre arrives from Lyon and Justin Kluivert, a winger, joins from Roma. I'm just not sure I'd want to bank on all of those new recruits producing the goods if Bournemouth are locked in a relegation battle with a Sean Dyche-managed Everton side and Forest, who splashed big cash last year and managed to stay up under Steve Cooper.
Luton could be the league's whipping boys as their xG suggested they were only the fifth best side in the Championship last year, and Sheffield United were little better and could also be set for a difficult year (neither club has recruited heavily thus far), so I've gone with Bournemouth, from a shortlist also including Everton and Forest, for the third relegation spot.
Betfred and Paddypower are offering a 'w/o Erling Haaland' top scorer market with each-way betting available, which looks appealing. The Norwegian monster ripped the division apart for City and may do so again this season - so I've no intention of opposing him.
However, with doubts over whether Harry Kane will still be in the Premier League this season, and doubts still lingering over Mo Salah (since Sadio Mane departed), after his lacklustre campaign for Liverpool last term, surely the 12/1 for MARCUS RASHFORD (with EW terms available) in this side market wants taking (he's 25/1 in the full market)?
Rahsford scored 34 goals for club and country last season - 17 in the Premier League - and wouldn't need to improve much upon that total to be an EW contender in this market. Any player who scores 17 goals in a team whose line is led by Wout Weghorst needs a pat on the back, and United have upgraded this summer if they land the Dane or Kane to join new arrivals Onana and Mount at Old Trafford.
Ivan Toney is on the sidelines with his ban for breaking betting rules and the likes of Wilson, Isak and Watkins are now facing balancing European football with a domestic campaign and that eats into their each-way appeal.
Rashford is accustomed to that balancing act and still started most league games for United last year when fit (32 league starts in 2022/23).
The Championship looks a tricky one to untangle this year. The market is headed by Leicester, who have been all the rage in the ante-post betting, it seems.
However, under a new manager (former Man City assistant Enzo Maresca) and having lost Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans over the summer (to Newcastle, Spurs and Villa, respectively), I'm struggling to muster much enthusiasm for backing them at 4/1.
In terms of xG in the previous PL campaign, Leicester weren't that bad attacking wise last year (they were not in the lowest six for xGF) but losing Maddison and Barnes - their two main creators, will negatively impact them in that respect.
Their main issues last year were in defence, so Harry Winks arriving from Spurs to shield the back four, along with the long overdue arrival of a new keeper (Mads Hermansen from Brondby) and Conor Coady from Wolves (although he has picked up a knock in pre-season), could feasibly see them tighten up at the back.
There is still a strong core of players for Maresca to work with, but this season is a bit of baptism of fire for the new boss, following their sudden demise under Brendan Rogers and, later, Dean Smith, last year.
The big hitter in the division is undoubtedly LEEDS. The Whites, themselves, have a bit of a summer rebuild taking place and they seem to be playing catch-up after their prolonged takeover and appointment of former Norwich boss Daniel Farke.
Farke twice won the Championship at Norwich and I believe he will prove a good managerial appointment, longer-term. However, in the short-term, there is quite a bit of work to do with this current Leeds side, which has lost Marc Roca, Robin Koch and Brenden Aaronson on loan, while Rodrigo has joined the flock of players moving to Saudi Arabia.
There were a lot of average players in the Leeds squad last year that struggled in the top-flight, who will be more comfortable dropping back down to the Championship, but there still look to be gaping holes at centre-half and in central-midfield that need addressing before Farke's men can be considered for the title - and the season starts in a week.
I expect they may start the season slowly but finish with a real rattle - a bit like Middlesborough did last season. I am not confident enough to back them for the title but I've backed them at 8/11 to finish top six in some accumulators.
Southampton were the other side relegated from the Premier League last season. Former Swansea manager Russell Martin has taken charge and they do not seem to have suffered from notable departures to the same extent Leeds and Leicester have, yet........
Inbound are youngster Shea Charles from Man City (£12m) and the return of striker Nathan Tella from a productive loan spell at Burnley last term, which saw him bag 17 times in a 31-game spell.
Outbound, Ibrahima Diallo and Mohammed Elyounoussi have left for small fees, but the big departures may still follow before the start of the Premier League season, as Tino Livramento and James Ward-Prowse have both been heavily linked with moves away from St Mary's this summer.
The combination of the new manager trying to stamp his own ideas on the dejected squad, and the potential loss off the talismanic Ward-Prowse, and others, so late into the summer, means I am happy to overlook the Saints for betting purposes, too.
I think there could be a case argued for backing Middlesborough, who were 21st when Michael Carrick took charge in October and went on to win 16 in 22 at one point, catapulting themselves onto the heels of Sheffield United (who we'd backed for promotion) and gave us a bit of a scare! They ended up dropping points in the final weeks and had to be content with a play-off berth, but, with Carrick in charge for a full year, 'Boro could feasibly finish in the mix if their best form can be extended over a full campaign.
What worries me for the Teesside outfit, though, is that they have lost key loan players including 'keeper Zak Steffen (Man City), Aaron Ramsey (Villa version, not Welsh one), Cameron Archer (also Villa) and Ryan Giles (has now linked up with Rob Edwards at Luton).
Carrick has made a number of low-key captures, including a couple from the Australian A-League, so I'm not quite sure they will be as strong as last season and I've not pulled the trigger.
I've backed newly-promoted IPSWICH to finish in the top six instead.
We saw last season with Sunderland that a promoted side with momentum can be a danger to all. The Mackems finished in sixth, despite having horrendous luck with injuries, and maybe the Tractor Boys can emulate them under well-regarded boss Kieran McKenna.
McKenna, a former coach at Man Utd under Jose Mourinho, guided Ipswich to automatic promotion last season on his first full season in charge and the xG numbers his side produced were breathtaking.
A figure of +93.4 xGF was miles clear of Sheff Weds (who had a corresponding figure of 76.4 and were second best on that KPI), while their xGA of 38.0 was also the best defensive number in the division.
While Plymouth ended up winning the title by three points, second-placed Ipswich look a proper side themselves.
In the final third of the season Ipswich won 13 of their final 15 games so they come into season with real momentum and they can be expected to improve under McKenna.
George Hirst has made his move from Leicester permanent and midfielder Jack Taylor has joined from Peterborough. Omari Hutchinson, a young attacking midfielder from Chelsea, has also arrived on loan.
Hopefully Conor Chaplin, who finished top goalscorer in League One with 26 last season, enjoys another productive campaign.
Derby head the League One outright ante post betting at 4/1 and should be in title contention under Paul Warne, who secured promotion from the league several times with Rotherham.
The departure of 22-goal David McGoldrick has left a hole in their attack, though, despite the arrival of Conor Washington, and Warne has stated he would still like a new number 9, number 10 and a centre-back before the season starts.
With Jason Knight moving on to Bristol City, handing a blow to their midfield, I am overlooking them at the prices, even though I am expecting them to improve on last season's effort, when they narrowly missed out on the playoffs, once Warne's areas highlighted for recruitment are finally addressed.
Ian Evatt has done a brilliant job at BOLTON, guiding them to promotion from League Two and then finishing ninth in League One the following year. Last year they snook into the play-offs in sixth, but they were stopped by Barnsley over the two-legged semi. Maybe this year could be the year they get over the line? They are my alternative bet to the Rams.
The Trotters look to have made a couple of solid signings in the summer and Dan Nlundulu has made his loan move from Southampton permanent. Carlos Mendes Gomes, who spent last season on loan in the division at Fleetwood, has signed from Luton and could hopefully beef up their shot-shy attack, which was their downfall last season, despite the productive season of 16-goal Dion Charles.
Bolton only conceded 36 times last year - a total bettered only by Ipswich - but, in attack, their total of 62 was someway short of their fellow promotion contenders (Ipswich knocked in 101 and the teams around them in the top six netted 82, 81, 80 and 75. Their xG was actually the joint-sixth best in the division, though, suggesting they might have been unfortunate not to have netted a few more).
If they continue on an upward trajectory then a top six or even top three finish is not beyond them.
I don't want to bore everyone bleating on about Bradford City and what went wrong last season so I'll try and quickly summarise. Despite having one of the best away records in the division (only four teams took more points than City on their travels), the Bantams had an average home record. Mark Hughes' men squandered a number of good opportunities to close in on the top three and were then beaten by Carlisle in the play-off semi finals.
If you look at Bradford City's overall 2022/23 performance based on the xG stats posted on Ben Mayhew's excellent Experimental 3-6-1 blog, there is good reason for thinking a sixth-place finish flattered the Bantams (xG would have suggested 10th to have been a truer reflection of their performances).
Mark Hughes very much adopted a 'safety first' approach to matches and several occasions at home, the Bantams were guilty of not putting matches to bed and then, entering the final stages of games with a slender lead, were guilty of conceding soft late goals and dropping cheap points.
Despite City's home record only being the 10th best in the division, they actually only lost four times at home. They did, however, draw 10 times at home - no side drew more times at home - and that timid performance was perhaps the reason why we finished seven points adrift of Northampton, who occupied the last automatic promotion place.
I am not totally convinced the summer recruitment will address the club's problems because, in my opinion, our failure to win promotion last term was more to do with the approach adopted by the management, rather than the quality per se in the squad.
There have been suggestions from Hughes that he may look to play more on the front foot this year, though, which would be a move welcomed by many fans, myself included. That said, I think League Two looks tougher this year than it did in 2022/23 due to the strong teams coming up from the National League (Wrexham and Notts County are both well backed financially) and due to MK Dons being relegated from League One.
Throw in the likes of Stockport and Salford, the former of whom were ante post favourites last year, and the latter, who have long been considered ready to mount a serious promotion push at some point as another team with money behind them, and I do wonder if Bradford will do well to match last season's sixth-place finish.
Gillingham are spending again and made progress mid-way into the season under Neil Harris, while Mansfield performed well on xG and wouldn't be winning promotion out of turn if they finally pulled their finger out after years of underperformance (I've had my fingers burned one too many times on the Stags now). It could be a really competitive league.
With respect to a Bradford-related bet, though, I've backed ANDY COOK for top scorer (12/1 with Bet 365 or a best price of 10/1 in certain shops). Considering Cook was clear top scorer in this division last year I think the 12/1 on offer looks big. Coral, by comparison, go 6/1 about him, which seems a fairer reflection of his chance.
While the league does now have Wrexham's Paul Mullin (who won the League 2 Golden Boot in 2020/21 when smashing in 32 for Cambridge, before his move to Wales) and Notts County pair David McGoldrick (who scored 22 in all comps for Derby last year following his move from Championship side Sheffield United) and Macauley Langstaff (who scored 42 in all competitions), Cook should remain on penalties for Bradford and if Hughes is, indeed, looking to play more on the front foot, it might be that chances still come his way and he can again finish towards the top of the scoring charts. Each-way looks the way to go.
It is worth noting that Wrexham's Mullin suffered broken ribs and punctured lung after a collision in a pre-season friendly with a Man Utd second team last week, so he is likely to be out for the first six weeks of the season or so. Cook smashed in a hat-trick for Bradford in a friendly versus Middlesborough last week by comparison and, with Vadaine Oliver injured for the Bantams, Cook should be getting plenty of game time to give the bet some mileage.
With respect to backing a team to win the League and gain promotion, I've sided with STOCKPORT. Dave Challinor's men failed to justify favouritism last year following their promotion from the National League but their main striker last year, Kyle Wootton, struggled to find the net in the opening months following his move from Notts County. Stockport had done well to snare him to Edgeley Park when the likes of League One Portsmouth had been sniffing, but it took him a while to find his feet, before normal scoring service resumed in the second half of the year.
Stockport finished the season really strongly and although they missed out on the top three by four points, their underlying xG numbers were fantastic - only Mansfield created a higher xGF figure and they boasted the meanest defence in terms of xG against.
The summer arrivals of Nick Powell from Wigan and Ibou Touray look cracking signings. Powell, once of Man Utd, has spent most of his career in the Championship with Stoke and Wigan and left-back Touray, a Gambia international, was Salford's captain last season and knows the division well.
Right-back Jayden Richardson has arrived on loan from Aberdeen and winger Louie Barry has arrived on loan from Aston Villa. Both players were involved in Stockport's 2-0 friendly victory over Preston North End at Edgeley Park yesterday.
Barry, who signed a three-year deal at 16 to join Barcelona's academy before his £880k move to Villa, has spent time on loan in the division at Swindon and Salford previously. Those summer arrivals at the club softens the blow of having Wootton sidelined with injury for several months.
There looks to be a bit of stability at the club and Challinor has just penned a new three-year deal, even though the Hatters didn't quite manage to secure back-to-back promotions last term. That should steady the ship while the current injuries in the squad clear up. Hopefully County can get points on the board early and not leave themselves with too much ground to make up again.
They do have the likes of Antoni Sarcevic and Paddy Madden on their books, too, so Challinor still has a very capable pool of talent to pick from.
Chesterfield head the ante post betting at 9/4 after just missing out on promotion via the play-offs to Notts County last season, but the National League has become a fiercely competition division in recent years and, in the last decade, only Wrexham (last year) have justified favouritism.
The Spireites have made a couple of notable additions - including Will Grigg from Wigan - and look set for another strong campaign under Paul Cook. However, Grigg isn't the only high profile striker who has dropped into the division and, following the arrival of James Norwood at Boundary Park yesterday, I want to get OLDHAM onside at a bigger price - for promotion at 4/1 but also in a couple of accumulators to finish in the top seven.
Norwood could have been playing in the Championship for Barnsley this year were it not for their playoff heartache at the hands of South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the playoff final last term. Barnsley stayed down and Norwood, who netted 11 league goals in 42 appearances at that level last season, was still under contract, so it looks something of a statement of intent that Oldham have managed to persuade the 32-year-old to drop to non-league level this week.
There is no doubt he will have been made a nice offer, and he has signed a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, but he won promotion from this division with Tranmere several years ago and then scored 32 goals (all comps) the following year for Tranmere in League Two, before earning a move to Ipswich in League One in the summer of 2019.
There is no doubt Norwood has the quality needed to spearhead a promotion campaign and hopefully the club, which had been beset with off-the-field issues prior to a takeover last summer, now has some stability in place.
David Unsworth was appointed in September last year (there are Everton ties with former Oldham/Everton boss Joe Royle, whose son, Darren, is now chief executive at Oldham) and guided the Latics to a mid-table finish.
While finishing 10 points adrift of 7th-placed Bromley last season was nothing to shout about, it is worth looking at Oldham's form in the second half of the campaign, in which only promoted pair Wrexham and Notts County took more than their total of 40 points.
In that second half of the season Oldham were not prolific scorers at home (20 in 12 home games, as opposed the 32 lashed in by Wrexham and Notts County) but hopefully the addition of Norwood, and Kurt Willoughby, who scored plenty of goals for Chester in the National League North, can beef up their attack and turn more of their draws into wins.
Many of the legs in the accumulators are covered in the league-by-league reasoning but, for those which are not:
I have done a fun little acca on Burnley to fare best of the teams promoted from the Championship in the Premier League and then Leeds to finish top Yorkshire team in the Championship. I do not see Hull and newly-promoted Sheff Wednesday (who parted company with Darren Moore soon after he got them promoted) as anything other that mid-table challengers, at best, while I would regard Huddersfield, who have persuaded caretaker Neil Warnock to stay on for another season, and Rotherham, as bottom half, if not relegation, candidates from the other teams in this market.
Leeds might be a little behind in their recruitment relative to many, following the late appointment of Daniel Farke, but with parachute payments to soften the blow of relegation and many of their PL squad still at the club including, for now at least, midfielder Tyler Adams, you would think the expectation would be Leeds will be looking for a top-six finish at the very least and, ideally, an immediate promotion back to the big time once they find their feet. Farke has won promotion from the division twice at Norwich and knows the winning formula.
In League One, Derby might be short-priced but they look worthy of their market status against Lincoln, Burton, Port Vale, Shrewsbury and Northampton. As things stand, it would be a surprise if any of those teams finished in the top six and they may be vying for top 10 spots at best. Derby are strongly fancied to win promotion. If they finish outside of the top two it would be a disappointing season and if they finished outside of the top six, it would be considered a disaster.
In League Two, there was a bit of temptation to get Notts County onside at 4/5 in the top Midlands market, but given Mansfield are also in that market, and have been posting strong xG figures for years, I've tentatively overlooked them for a League Two regional bet leg (Walsall were the only other team in that market, for what it is worth).
Stockport have Salford in the top North West market and Gillingham have relegated MK Dons to worry about in the top South East market, so instead I've backed Bradford again, after they won this market last year. The Bantams have Doncaster, Harrogate and Grimsby to beat this year. I'd have Doncaster down as top 10 challengers under Grant McCann, but Harrogate and Grimsby are teams I could see finishing in the lower half of mid-table.
Although I said in my preview I think Bradford might struggle to replicate last season's sixth placing, I still think they will be in and around the play-offs - so effectively I think you are getting evens about the Bantams in a match bet with Doncaster. Andy Cook and his goals could be difference maker between these two clubs, so in Mark Hughes' men go to complete an across-the-EFL fun acca.