If the Premier League and Championship are both divisions that are looking fairly predictable at the top of the table, then the same can’t be said of the English League One division where many sides are capable of engineering a promotion campaign and there will be lots who think that they can clamber into the top six and make a play-off place at the very least.

Sunderland are a team who have been struggling to climb the greasy pole and return to the Championship, with the Wearside club now under the management of Lee Johnson who helped them enjoy a taste of success last term when winning the EFL Trophy although they were ultimately found wanting in the play-offs and the Black Cats will be desperate to avoid this lottery again.

Twelve points from five matches played is a handsome return and a continuation of this ratio will see the team go up without a fuss, with Ross Stewart looking like the answer up front and the only defeat suffered was a 1-0 reverse at Burton where the home side had one shot on target in contrast to Sunderland’s seven.

Wigan Athletic lost at the Stadium of Light at the beginning of the season although Leam Richardson’s side seem to be a team who are likely to challenge for promotion on early evidence. The League One side have kicked on to secure ten points from their past four games and their budget is clearly one of the biggest in the division.

Defensively, the Latics are looking spot on and claimed a 1-0 win over Portsmouth following a 2-0 triumph away to Charlton, with Callum Lang and Charlie Wyke likely to be the players who can chip in with the goals to make it a successful season.

Rotherham were another team playing Championship football last season before a somewhat unfortunate relegation and the Millers are now looking capable of an immediate return to the second flight. Paul Warne is now a long serving manager at the New York Stadium and has a squad who are proving hard to break down right now.

Sheffield Wednesday are another defensively stubborn side and the Owls are going well under Darren Moore, with the Yorkshire side having been hit with a points deduction last season which saw them leave the Championship. However, they have managed to retain some quality players and they look a tough nut to crack in the third tier.

Portsmouth are the only other team trading at single figures and Danny Cowley is widely regarded as one of the more talented young managers of the lower leagues although Pompey are yet to catch fire. Paul Cook used to be the boss at Fratton Park, with the Liverpudlian now hoping to steer Ipswich to the higher level although it’s been a slow start.

League One looks as competitive as ever this season with some big clubs down in the third tier of English football. Teams like Wigan, Coventry and Sheffield United will feel they are too big to be languishing down in League One but it is results that count and if they are to progress to the Championship they’ll have to fight hard to earn that right. As we approach the halfway mark of the season we take a look at the outright winner market in League One and offer up our predictions and betting tips for who will win the title this term, as well as providing the best betting odds, both for the outright winner betting and the individual matches along the way.

At the start of the 2015-16 season many people fancied that Sheffield United would be real contenders to win League One but things haven’t gone to plan for the South Yorkshire club. They are down in 12th after a poor start to the season and at betting odds of 25/1 with BetVictor it would be a bold move to back them for glory. They have some good individuals and finances that most sides in League One envy but it isn’t quite happening for the Blades and we think they’ll have to wait till next season to challenge, although a late run to the play-offs is certainly not beyond them.

Wigan were another side that were well fancied, having won the FA Cup as recently as 2013 when they were a Premier League side. They’ve had a rough time of things since then and slipped into League One but will seek to bounce straight back into the Championship by winning the title this term. They are the favourites in the outright winner market, priced at odds of 10/3 by Bet365 and have to be respected. Currently in fifth place they have made a solid start to the season and are only five points off the top at the time of writing. They have some classy players and 10/3 looks about right, especially if they add a little depth to their squad in the transfer window.

Wigan are joined at the top of the outright betting by Coventry, who can be backed at the very slightly longer odds of 7/2 with Sky Bet. Coventry have given their fans a pleasant surprise this season and lead League One after 19 games, with an impressive 28 points. They are a very well balanced side and are strong at home, indeed they are unbeaten in front of their own fans, winning all but two of their games despite having played many of their main League One rivals. In Tony Mowbray the Sky Blues have an experienced and talented manager and we predict they will go very, very close this term.

Walsall, Gillingham and Burton complete the list of realistic contenders for the outright crown this year, at best odds of 6/1 (BetVictor), 8/1 (Sky) and 9/1 (Sky) respectively. Those three teams currently have 33, 37 and 35 points and whilst all will fancy their chances they lack the resources and experience of the two leading contenders. Of those three Gillingham look best value but on balance we feel they will fall just short this term.

So, who, then, is our main betting tip in the outright winner market? It’s very tight at the top in terms of the League One table and the betting odds but we predict it will be Coventry who come out on top, with odds of 7/2 offering very solid value for a club that has the infrastructure and stature to compete in the Championship, let alone League One.


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