English League One Betting Guide
League One is the name given to the third highest division in English football. It is a fully professional league and home to 24 teams and is officially a part of The Football League along with The Championship and League Two.
You can read about other English football leagues and competitions here.
League One was formerly known as the Third Division in the days before the English Premier League came into being in 1992, and it was also known as the Second Division after the formation of the Premier League but before the formation of The Championship in 2004. League One and League Two are currently without a sponsor, but were most recently sponsored by bookmaker ‘Skybet’ until 2016. Former sponsors include Coca-Cola and Nationwide Building Society.
In recent years League One has been home to some former big names in English football like former European Cup runners up Leeds United, along with Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United.
League One is a great league to bet on due to the fact that it requires some specialist knowledge and the bookmakers don’t put as much work into setting their prices as they do with the higher leagues. For that reason if you know the teams, the players, and the injury info you should have a decent chance at making some money from betting on League One.
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League One Format, Promotion and Relegation
The 24 teams of League One play each other twice over the course of a season, once at home and once away for a total 46 games, making it one of the longer seasons in domestic European football. As normal, three points are awarded for a win with one for a draw and none for a loss. At the end of the season, the top two teams in the standings are automatically promoted to The Championship.
The teams placed from third to sixth take place in a two round playoff to determine who gets the final promotion spot. In the semi-final third place sixth and fourth place fifth over a two-leg home-and-away tie, where the team with the highest aggregate score advances. If the tie is drawn then the team with more away goals goes through and if the teams can’t be separated by this metric then extra time and penalties are used to determine a winner. The final is played over a single match at a neutral ground with extra time and penalties being used if necessary to produce a winner on the day.
The playoffs are the most exciting and closely followed matches in League One each year and both the semi-finals and final are typically shown live on pay-TV channel Sky Sports. The most exciting playoff victory in recent years came in 2006 when Barnsley lost 1-0 at home to HuddersfieldTown in the first round but went on to win the away leg 3-1. After a thrilling final with Swansea City that finished 2-2, Barnsley took the final promotion spot by winning a penalty shootout 4-3.
Swansea went on to win promotion to the Championship in 2008 and then to the Premier League in 2011, finishing the year in a respectable 11th place with a victory over eventual champions Manchester City. Barnsley meanwhile have struggled in the Championship and are regular relegation battlers. They finished the 2011/2012 in 21st place, narrowly missing out on relegation back to League One.
Norwich are another former League One team that made it all the way to the Premier League. Their feat was even more impressive as they won promotion from League One to the Championship and The Championship to the Premier League in back-to-back seasons.
Teams promoted to the Championship are replaced with the three teams that are relegated from The Championship. Similarly, at the bottom of the League One table, the three teams with the lowest points totals are relegated to League Two meaning that overall, six new teams are introduced each season to join the eighteen that remain.
Media Coverage, Sponsorship and Following
Most media coverage of League One is in the local press of the clubs that compete in the division, but BBC and other websites do have comprehensive sections of their websites dedicated to it. BBC also hold the rights to a highlights package for the Football League in which League One features prominently.
Generally, most of its following is from fans of clubs involved and there is little national or international coverage or exposure, with the exception of the playoffs which always attract a huge neutral viewership. All League One clubs have shirt sponsorship deals and though most are with local companies, there are some notable international sponsors such as Party Gaming’s deal with Leyton Orient.