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EFL League Two Preview and Best Bets

english league two

Colchester United v Leyton Orient

Both Teams To Score – 10/11 (1.9)

Leyton Orient are among the early pace-setters in League 2 after making an unbeaten start to their campaign and I’m backing them to keep that run going against Colchester.

Orient pegged back hosts Swindon just three minutes after their 4th-minute opener on Tuesday night but, despite bossing possession and dominating the match stats, they just couldn’t find a second goal.

Boss Richie Wellens described it as two points dropped as his side were knocked off the top of the table by Salford on goal difference.

They had however won their opening three games without conceding a goal, including a 1-0 success on their previous road trip to Crawley.

For their part Colchester picked-up a morale-boosting win at home to Bradford on Tuesday, Tom Eastman heading home the only goal deep into stoppage time to break Bantams hearts.

While they have lost both their games on the road, United have scored in each of their home games and picked up four points from two sides expecting to battle it out in the upper reaches of the table, so I don’t exactly expect them to step aside to make like easy for the visitors.

I do wonder if they might have half an eye on the visit of Premier League Brentford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, however, and I have a sneaky feeling Orient might be able to pick up another win, but I’m actually really taken with the odds on offer for BTTS.

The bookies have it at 1.9 for both sides to find the net and I’m all over that, Orient have scored in every league game so far while Col U have scored in 12 of 14 at home dating back to January. I fancy a 1-1 or perhaps a 2-1 away win might be the order of the day, but it’s BTTS where my money is going. 

Doncaster Rovers v Salford City

Both Teams To Score – 4/5 (1.8)

This is an intriguing clash between a newly-relegated side and one who has been tipped for promotion in recent seasons – just don’t take your eyes off it, no matter what the score is with five minutes left.

Salford are finally looking like a side who might live up to their hype and finally launch a sustained push for promotion to the third tier.

It’s early days but new manager Neil Wood, brought in from the Manchester United academy, looks to have a good thing going and City are the early-pace setters in the division.

The manner of Tuesday night’s 3-2 win at Newport will have delighted Wood, they scored two in three minutes after the break to take charge at Rodney Parade, and although he’ll have been bitterly disappointed to see them concede twice in two minutes inside the final 20 minutes to lose their advantage, they rolled up their sleeves and found a way to win it thanks to Ryan Leak seven minutes from time.

The victory followed hot on the heels of the 3-0 win over Crewe on Saturday – a Crewe side who are freshly relegated from the league above and who had won their opening two games.

Brandon Thomas-Asante made it four goals already for the young season in that match and 

Despite having kept clean sheets in their opening three matches, Newport gives me hope that Doncaster will also be able to find a way through infront of their own fans.

Rovers stunned promotion-tipped Stockport with a last-gasp Kieran Agard strike to win 2-1 on Tuesday night and also won their opening home game by the same scoreline, incredibly with Agard snatching the points in stoppage-time. In between those games Rovers came from 2-0 down with four minutes remaining to draw 2-2 thanks to another last-ditch strike, this time from Ro-Shaun Williams.

I’m not sure the drama will be quite as late this weekend, but I certainly wouldn’t bet against it.

This is a clash of two of the six unbeaten sides remaining in the division and it would not surprise me at all if they remained unbeaten by Saturday tea time. I guess Salford would be my pick if I had to choose one, but I’m far more taken with the fact that it’s 1.87 on BTTS, that seems way too chunky for me and that’s where my cash is going.

Crewe v Northampton Town

Both teams to score – 4/5 (1.8)

League 2 is clearly the division for late drama already this season.

Kieron Bowie snatched the stoppage-time winner on Tuesday night as the Cobblers edged Crawley Town 3-2. Town favourite Sam Hoskins also made it five goals in four league games on his 300th Northampton appearance to sit top of the top-scorers charts going into this weekend.

It’s another match-up between a side who want to get back to League 1 at the first attempt and another that is longing to be promoted.

Each of Town’s four league games and their Carabao Cup clash with Wycombe have seen both the Cobblers and their opponents on the scoresheet.

In their four games thus far they have netted nine goals, which is more than anyone else in the division, and conceded six, more than all-but four other sides, which is in stark contrast to the tight defensive record which took them within a whisker of promotion in May.

Despite looking a little leaky, they are only off the top of the table on goal difference with 10 points from a possible 12. Saturday’s hosts Crewe are only a point behind after they picked-up their third win at home to Sutton on Tuesday night.

They have kept clean sheets in both their home games, against Harrogate and Sutton, but I fancy the visitors to find a way through once again. The Alex defence has itself looked pretty porous on their travels, with Rochdale notching on the opening day and Grimsby netting four in the Carabao Cup, while Salford bagged three against them in Manchester last Saturday.

They’ll appreciate the home comforts of Gresty Road and though I suspect there will be at least a point, if not three, for the visitors to take away with them, that’s not where I’m looking here. Once again the odds on BTTS are too good to ignore. 1.8 is very generous considering Town have seen both sides on the mark in each game so far this season and seven straight league games spanning two seasons.

Mansfield Town v Stockport County

Over 2.5 goals – 10/11 (1.9)

While this one might currently look like a mid-table clash, I would have picked this as one of the biggest games of the League 2 season if you’d asked me just a few weeks ago, and it might yet prove to be so.

The Stags roared back from 2-0 down after just 16 minutes to demolish AFC Wimbledon 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Five different players scored on the night and their six league goals have now been scored by six different players.

Last season’s beaten play-off finalists failed to register on the road at Salford and Leyton Orient, two sides I expect to be up there in the promotion race, but they did get the better of Tranmere 1-0 in their previous league game at Field Mill and also registered in the Carabao Cup clash with Derby too, despite losing.

I fancy both teams to find the mark in this one. Stockport have scored in each of their four league games and also their Carabao Cup clash with Harrogate so far this season. They have however actually lost their two previous away league matches in stoppage time, going down 2-1 at Stevenage, having led after 88 minutes, and then coughing-up a share of the points at Doncaster on Saturday in the dying seconds. Their ludicrous opening day match saw them 3-0 down at home to Barrow after just half an hour before they rallied to almost snatch a point. 

While I fancy Mansfield as the more likely a winner at a ground where they have lost just once in 20 league games, a draw would absolutely not surprise me and I am reluctant to have a go at the result market. While the 1.73 on BTTS is pretty generous, more tempting odds is the 1.9 on over 2.5 goals in the match. Both sides relied heavily on their defence last season but with 11 and 12 goals in their four matches so far respectively, I’m expecting at least three more here… just don’t worry too much if there are only two by the time we go into stoppage time.

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