Sky Bet EFL 2019/20 season: Special bets for the Championship, League One and League Two

We pick out four specials to back for the 2019/20 Sky Bet EFL season

With the 2019/20 Sky Bet EFL season fast approaching, we pick out four 'special bets' to consider backing in the three divisions.

Blackburn to finish in the top-half of the Sky Bet Championship - 11/8

Bradley Dack

Rovers finished 15th last season, four points short of the top-half, but they are well equipped to push themselves up the standings under Tony Mowbray.

Blackburn have made some clever additions during the summer transfer window and look like a squad who could challenge the top-six, a huge ask, but one they are capable of doing.

Beyond the squad though is a positive atmosphere. One created by Mowbray as he looks to re-build the club to push back up the football pyramid.

"I feel as a manager you have to have honesty, integrity and humility in everything you do on a daily basis," Mowbray told Sporting Life in February.

"You have to set the standards - not by telling players, but by doing. Show your work ethic - be the first one in in the morning and the last one out at night.

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"Have an open door policy for the players, so they know they can come and discuss their problems with you at any time and that no problem is too small or too big.

"Try to create an environment where players want to improve and get better. They feel included in how you select your style and how you are going to play."

The squad has seen improvement, but Mowbray's men are ready to make the next step in the process and finish in the top-half of the Sky Bet Championship table.

We've also taken a look at Blackburn's chances this season, and explain why they could make a push for the play-offs.

Birmingham to be the bottom Midlands club in the Sky Bet Championship - 6/4

Pep Clotet

Birmingham made headlines last season when they were hit with a 12-point deduction for breaking the EFL's Profit & Sustainability rules, meaning they finished in 17th rather than 12th.

That has impacted their ability to improve this summer. Gary Gardner has made the switch from rivals Aston Villa, while Jayden Reid and Dan Crowley make up the other business done in the off-season.

The big loss though is Che Adams. The striker had a huge impact last season, scoring 22 goals in 46 Sky Bet Championship games.

He's joined Southampton in a £15m deal and there's little indication that those goals will be replaced.

Combine that with the fact that popular manager Garry Monk has also departed and all the signs point towards a tough season for the Blues.

Sky Bet make it 6/4 that they are the worst-performing Midlands side in the Sky Bet Championship this season, which looks great value when you consider the teams they'd be up against in that market.

Nottingham Forest, Derby, Stoke and West Brom should all be in the top-half, with the latter duo capable of a top-six finish.

Birmingham could be facing relegation problems, but the value in the specials markets is in backing them to struggle compared with their nearest rivals.

Peterborough to be the top Midlands club in Sky Bet League One - 7/4

Matt Godden celebrates

Posh have had to suffer without play-off football for the past five seasons, although everything points to this being a successful campaign for the London Road club.

Peterborough narrowly missed out on a top-six place in May with a managerial change coming too late to make a real impact. Make no mistake though, they have built what appears to be a really strong squad for 2019/20.

There's been improvements in all areas of the pitch. Goalkeeper Christy Pym can represent an excellent bit of business joining from Exeter on a free, while Mark Beevers will provide an experienced head in defence having played near 400 games in the Football League.

Two signings stand out though. The first being the addition of forward Mohamed Eisa from Bristol City. The 25-year-old struggled to adjust to the step-up to the Championship last summer, but his efforts at Cheltenham offer plenty of encouragement.

He netted 23 goals in 45 League Two games, contributing a further seven assists. He's the type of forward who will thrive on the creativity of the likes of Marcus Maddison and Siriki Dembele.

The other signing, which looks like the best move of the summer at this level, is George Boyd. He's won promotion with Peterborough before under current manager Darren Ferguson, and should be the bit of quality required to allow Posh to do it again.

He's a player who should still be playing at Championship level, so for Peterborough to tempt him back to London Road can be seen as a huge coup.

I'd back them to win the League One title this season, but if you're looking elsewhere, then take the 7/4 available on Ferguson's men to be the best performing Midlands side in England's third tier. They go up against Burton. Lincoln, Coventry and Shrewsbury in this market.

Bradford to be the top relegated side in Sky Bet League Two - 7/4

Bradford manager Gary Bowyer

For clarification, this market is betting on the best performing team of the four who were relegated to Sky Bet League Two last season.

Considering the squad they have and the fact that they are joint-favourites to win the title, Bradford to be the top relegated side looks great value at 7/4.

The squad needed a re-build given the horrendous season they endured during the 2018/19 campaign. They finished bottom of the table, a significant distance away from safety.

Under Gary Bowyer, the club have welcomed nine new faces, but all of which will add real quality to the squad.

James Vaughan and Clayton Donaldson should contribute goals at this level, while the signing of Paudie O'Connor brings young talent to the heart of the Bantams' defence.

Matt Palmer and Zeli Ismail also add competition to the midfield places, while the outgoings have seen players moved on who weren't good enough for the club.

Their transfer window has been extremely positive, but they also have a manager in Bowyer who seems determined to push Bradford back up the football pyramid.

The ingredients are there for success at Valley Parade this season, after years of displeasure at the way the club was run, and they should finish as the highest of the division's newest recruits.


Our best bets for the Sky Bet EFL top goalscorer markets

Odds correct at 1500 BST (23/07/19)

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