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EFL Trophy outright odds: Bolton fancied to defend the crown

The 2023/24 EFL Trophy, the 42nd edition of the competition, is up and running with clubs from down the pyramid and selected academy sides dreaming of a day out at Wembley in April.

All forty-eight clubs from Leagues One and Two, plus youth teams from 15 Premier League clubs and one Championship side, do battle over the autumn in 16 regionalised groups.

The top two from each group go into the knockout stage, all with eyes on winning the trophy won last season by Bolton.

WhatEFL Trophy 2023/24
WhereEngland and Wales
WhenSeptember 2023 – April 2024
How to watchSky Sports
OddsDerby 10/1, Bolton 10/1, Wrexham 12/1, Barnsley 12/1, Peterborough 12/1, Portsmouth 14/1, Blackpool 14/1


Current outright odds – 10/1 

Bolton will be acutely aware that no team has ever successfully defended the EFL Trophy, but Ian Evatt's side have obvious claims to become the first.

Like last season, the Trotters would expect to be involved in a promotion push, but they managed to juggle both demands in 2022/23 so won't shy away from a run in the Trophy.

And having thumped Salford City 3-0 in their group opener, it's clear that they mean business.

Hot shots Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo are already in the goals for one of the strongest squads in League One, whose 4-0 thumping of Plymouth in last year's final is the heaviest in the tournament's history.


Current outright odds – 10/1

It is proving a mixed start to the season for Derby, another fallen giant like Bolton, whose pedigree alone means they have to be highly regarded in a competition like this.

Last season they appeared in the EFL Trophy for the first time since 1985/86 and, just like then, they finished bottom of their group.

Manager Paul Warne is under strict instruction to get the Rams back up to the Championship and will be wary of putting too much of a workload on the shoulders of a veteran group of senior professionals.


Current outright odds – 12/1

League Two's most fancied club and arguably the most talked about team in the bottom two tiers courtesy of their Hollywood ownership.

They barely put a foot wrong winning the National League which certainly added to the hype but they are finding life in the basement a bit tougher.

Things have calmed down following a hectic start – three of their first five matches produced six goals or more – and they are off to a winning start in the EFL Trophy after beating Newcastle United Under 21s 1-0.

The return from injury of last season's 47-goal hotshot Paul Mullin is another reason for Wrexham fans to be confident of winning a trophy they won back in 2005.


Current outright odds – 12/1

Barnsley, beaten play-off finalists in May, sent out quite the statement when they crushed Port Vale 7-0 on the opening day, but results have been mixed since.

Neill Collins' Tykes are, however, a big fish in League One and may well be in the EFL Trophy. Ironically, it was Vale who ended their interest in the competition last season.

Winners in 2016, the South Yorkshiremen beat Grimsby 2-0 to get their group stage campaign off to the perfect start and they look a very strong side.


Current outright odds – 12/1

Posh are the highest-rated side from the southern section of the draw and manager Darren Ferguson knows how to win this tournament having guided Posh to Wembley glory nine years ago.

They are in pole position in Group D in the southern half of the draw courtesy of a 2-0 win over Cambridge, while penalty shootout successes over Swindon and Portsmouth in the League Cup show they mean business in cup competitions.

Fergie Jr is under pressure to mount a promotion challenge firstly, and their start to the season is certainly mixed.


Current outright odds – 14/1

Portsmouth held their nerve to beat Fulham's youngsters in a shootout in their opening group game of this year's competition, one they won as recently as 2019.

They were quarter-finalists last season – they beat Ipswich en route to the last eight – and after the opening six rounds of League One games this term were the only side still unbeaten.

John Mousinho's side are a class act with a formidable defensive record who will be hard to budge.


Current outright odds – 14/1

Blackpool already have three points on the board courtesy of a 2-0 win at talked-up League Two side Barrow, so that's a massive plus.

Another plus is the fact that the Tangerines have real pedigree in this tournament as one of only six clubs in this year's competition to have lifted the trophy more than once.

Having just dropped out of the Championship and with the well-respected Neil Critchley in charge, Blackpool have every right to be bullish about their prospects.

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