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EFL Antepost League One Tips: Portsmouth's time to shine

League One returns on Saturday 5th August, as a host of big names battle to get in the promotion mix or avoid the trapdoor.

Racing Post football ace Steve Davies has picked out a couple of outright tips for England's third tier. 

Steve Davies' EFL League One Betting Tips

Portsmouth to win @ 10/1
Barnsley to win @ 9/1

Odds were correct at time of writing and are subject to change.

Setting the scene….. 

The new League One season is almost upon us and it promises to be a keenly fought battle at either end of the table.

A trio of former Premier League clubs - Reading, Blackpool and Wigan - have arrived via relegation from the Championship to add some pedigree and glitter to the mix.

Meanwhile, Leyton Orient, Stevenage, Northampton and Carlisle have emerged from League Two, all with ambitions of making another push for promotion - while acutely aware of the perils of getting dragged into a relegation scrap.

And joining that mix are a number of sides who are under pressure to make a genuine dash for promotion, the likes of Derby, Barnsley, Peterborough and Portsmouth.

And certainly two of that latter quartet are worth focusing on to reap the rewards and top the pile at the end of the campaign.

WhatEngland League 1 2023/24
WhereEngland
WhenSaturday 5th August 4, 2023 – Sunday 27th April, 2024
How to watchSky Sports
OddsDerby 9/2, Bolton 7/1, Barnsley 9/1, Peterborough 10/1, Portsmouth 10/1

Portsmouth to win League One @ 10/1

Pompey are one of seven ex-Premier League clubs in tier three, all desperate to get back up the pyramid, and the disappearance of class acts Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday in the summer will have done their prospects no harm at all.

There are still lots of good sides in the third tier with three potentially strong ones having just come down.

But Portsmouth have served their apprenticeship at this level, flattered to deceive for too long but now look ready to launch a palpable title push.

Encouragingly, they signed off 2022-23 in style. The Danny Cowley reign had gone stale and the punt they took on John Mousinho, not a universally popular selection around Fratton Park when he took the reins, has looked inspired.

They signed off last term unbeaten in 11 and had they managed to turn a trio of seven draws into victories they could have found a play-off place.

Sporting director Richard Hughes and Mousinho have overseen a massive summer buying spree and clearly there is more to come.

The foundation stones of a top team were already there - Ryley Towler looks a quality central defender, Marlon Pack and Joe Morrell represent a star-quality midfield pairing at this level and Colby Bishop has 20 goals to build on.

And some of the additions look outstanding, notably Northern Ireland international Gavin Whyte and also Abu Kamara, picked up on loan from Norwich, a striker who could light up this division. 

Steve Davies' tip:

Portsmouth to win League One @ 10/1 

After six seasons in the third tier, six campaigns in which they have never finished lower than tenth and last term came in eighth, the time is right for Portsmouth to prove that patience pays off. 

Barnsley to win League One @ 9/1

Barnsley were the best of the rest last season, finishing a remote fourth behind the promoted trio, and then having their hearts broken by neighbours Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley.

Neill Collins has arrived from the United States to succeed Michael Duff, who was snared by Swansea, and the Scot inherits a good squad and healthy bank account.

The Tykes raked in millions from the sale of Mads Andersen to Luton and in compensation from Duff's move to Wales, and Collins has embarked on a meaningful pre-season splurge.

Keeper Liam Roberts from Middlesbrough looks a smart piece of business, Neill still has defensive reinforcements to secure but the engine room of Luca Connell, Herbie Kane and Adam Phillips remains pivotal for the Tykes.

And up front James Norwood was back among the goals last season despite no pre-season. This time round he is prepped and ready to go.

Steve Davies' tip:

Barnsley to win League One @ 9/1

Barnsley are a side with recent Championship pedigree - they made the play-offs in that competition just two years ago - and look exceptionally well organised. Once Neill has found a defender the Tykes can take off.

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