It is only natural that when we focus on the most popular soccer bets in the UK, we tend to focus on the teams competing at the highest level in England and across Europe.

Competitions like the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, will all tend to feature the top teams and especially, in the case of the cup competitions, when we get down to the final rounds of the tournament.

However, if you reserve your betting on English football solely to the top division and its teams, then you are missing out on some fantastic other betting opportunities, namely from the three divisions below the Premier League in England.

They are the Championship, League One and League Two and within each of these three leagues, plus the cup competitions that these teams compete in, you can find some fantastic value bets both outright markets for performances over the course of the whole season, as well as week-to-week betting markets on the different games taking place.

Bet365 Sport offers an excellent range of betting markets on the lower leagues of English football, as well as those teams in the Championship with Premier League aspirations and in this article, we are going to take a look at some great value bets, especially now that the season is under way.

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We’re going to divide this article into three sections looking at some of the best outright markets you can bet on for the Championship, League One and League Two.

Finally, one last point to note is that this article was written a good while before publication date and odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing but may well have changed in the meantime.

English Championship Betting Markets & Tips

Teams Competing & Outright Division Winner Odds

  • Norwich City – 6/1
  • Watford – 7/1
  • West Brom, Middlesbrough – 9/1
  • Sheffield United – 10/1
  • Burnley – 12/1
  • Swansea City, Huddersfield Town – 16/1
  • Millwall, Stoke City, Sunderland – 20/1
  • Blackburn Rovers, QPR, Coventry City, Cardiff City – 25/1
  • Preston North End, Hull City, Luton Town – 33/1
  • Blackpool, Bristol City, Wigan Athletic – 40/1
  • Birmingham City, Reading – 50/1
  • Rotherham United – 100/1

The Championship usually has three main ‘races’ going on in it each season. A small number of teams will challenge for the top two spots and automatic promotion back to the riches of the Premier League. A much larger number of teams will be battling it out for the playoff spots and then there will be the teams trying to preserve their Championship status for next season.

I feel this year the race for the Championship title and the other automatic promotion spot will be between four teams. Norwich City, who won the division the last time they were relegated from the Premier League, Burnley, who I think are the strongest in terms of the quality of their squad but who do have an untested new manager in Vincent Kompany and West Brom, who are perennial challengers at the top of this table.

Battling for the playoff spots will be those teams listed above, plus a host of others and Watford, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers, QPR, Sheff Utd, Swansea City, Huddersfield Town, Stoke City, Coventry City and Luton Town could be involved in that battle.

The teams battling against the drop this year I feel will be Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United, Blackpool, Reading and Hull City.

With that in mind, here’s my top tips for the Championship for this season:

  • Outright Winner – Norwich City – 6/1
  • To Be Promoted – Norwich City (6/4) and Burnley (9/2)
  • To Be Relegated – Blackpool (3/1), Rotherham (13/8), Reading (9/4)

English League One Betting Markets & Tips

Teams Competing & Outright Division Winner Odds

  • Ipswich Town – 9/2
  • Sheffield Wednesday – 5/1
  • Peterborough United – 10/1
  • Derby County – 11/1
  • Barnsley, Portsmouth, MK Dons, Oxford United, Bolton Wanderers – 14/1
  • Wycombe Wanderers – 16/1
  • Plymouth Argyle, Charlton Athletic – 20/1
  • Shrewsbury Town – 33/1
  • Burton Albion, Lincoln City, Forest Green Rovers, Bristol Rovers – 40/1
  • Fleetwood Town, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale, Exeter City – 50/1
  • Cheltenham Town – 66/1
  • Cambridge United – 80/1
  • Morecambe – 125/1

League One this season is a real mix of teams that you think should be playing at a much higher level, such as Ipswich, Sheff Wed and Derby County and teams that are relatively new to life in the third tier of English football, such as Forest Green, Port Vale and Morecambe.

League One is a very tricky one, there are some good teams in this division that should be playing at a much higher level, plus some much smaller teams and that does create a division with perhaps the second-most imbalance within it after the Premier League.

Three teams get promoted from League One and the battle for top spot will likely involve Sheff Wed, Portsmouth, Derby County, Barnsley and Ipswich Town.

In the playoffs, the teams above plus Oxford United, Wycombe, MK Dons, Peterborough, Plymouth and Charlton will likely be the main contenders in my view.

Four teams go down and I think the likes of Port Vale, Bristol Rovers, Lincoln City, Burton Albion, Cambridge Utd, Morecambe, Cheltenham Town and Accrington Stanley will be amongst those battling the drop into League Two.

  • Outright Winner – Sheffield Wednesday – 5/1
  • To Be Promoted – Derby County (4/1), Portsmouth (4/1)
  • To Be Relegated – Morecambe, Accrington Stanley, Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United – odds not yet available for this market at time of writing.

English League Two Betting Markets & Tips

Teams Competing & Outright Division Winner Odds

  • Stockport County – 7/1
  • Salford City – 8/1
  • Bradford City – 9/1
  • Mansfield Town – 10/1
  • Swindon Town, Northampton. Town – 14/1
  • Doncaster Rovers, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Tranmere Rovers, Walsall – 16/1
  • AFC Wimbledon – 20/1
  • Crewe Alexandra, Grimsby Town, Newport County, Sutton Utd – 25/1
  • Carlisle United, Crawley Town – 33/1
  • Colchester United, Stevenage, Harrogate Town, Hartlepool Utd, Rochdale – 40/1
  • Barrow – 66/1

As you can see, the spread in odds in League Two’s outright winner market is much smaller than the other two divisions, which gives you a clear indication of just how tricky it is to predict a winner from the fourth division of professional football in England.

In League Two, you can make a case for any team to win the division really, though I think the way Mansfield Town finished last season means that they are excellent value at 10/1 for the outright winner market and also for the to be promoted market.

With four teams promoted, three outright and one via the playoffs, the teams battling for the promotion and playoff spots will likely be numerous and it may well be the case that come the last month of the season we may have more than half the division still in with a realistic chance of the playoffs at the very least.

My favourites for promotion or to make the playoffs are therefore Mansfield, Northampton, Salford City. Swindon, Tranmere, Doncaster, Leyton Orient, Bradford City, Stockport County, Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon.

Two teams go down from League Two to the Vanarama Conference and I think Stevenage and Rochdale could be the teams to struggle this year.

  • Outright Winner – Mansfield Town – 10/1
  • To Be Promoted – Mansfield Town (12/5), Northampton (10/3), Leyton Orient (4/1)
  • To Be Relegated – Rochdale (9/1), Stevenage (6/1)