EFL expert Tom Carnduff looks at the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One and has selections for winner, top-six, top goalscorer and relegation.
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EFL expert Tom Carnduff looks at the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One campaign and has selections for a winner, a top-six finish, top goalscorer and relegation.
With the money circulating around the Premier League increasing every year, so too does the quality of player in Sky Bet League One and this season is no exception.
Sunderland's nosedive down the English football pyramid sees them line-up as favourites in the third tier, while Barnsley and Burton return after time in the Sky Bet Championship.
Shrewsbury look to rebuild after a wonderful season saw them narrowly beaten in the play-off final in May, with their manager and a number of key players from last season no longer at the club.
Scunthorpe, Portsmouth and Peterborough will all carry optimism given their recent flirtations with promotion to the division above, while beaten play-off semi-finalists Charlton will start the season under the guidance of Lee Bowyer.
Coventry and Luton come into the league as strong fancies for promotion in some quarters, despite joining from League Two, and underdogs Accrington will look to survive their first 'third division' season since 1958 after winning the League Two title by a five-point margin in May.
Jerome Sinclair joining Sunderland and Luke Garbutt's arrival at Oxford are just two examples which show the appeal of the this league to players of quality, and they should contribute to another entertaining season.
Tom Carnduff picks out his best bet for the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One campaign.
Sunderland find themselves as the clear 3/1 favourites to wrap up the Sky Bet League One title in May, but Portsmouth provide the real value as 14/1 shots.
Kenny Jackett's men missed out on the play-offs last time out, their eighth-placed finish leaving them five points adrift of Charlton, who occupied the final spot.
Winger Kai Naismith may have departed for Championship side Wigan, but Pompey's additions have been largely impressive and should help provide just what they need.
Tom Naylor comes in from Burton and is expected to establish himself as a key figure in midfield, while Louis Dennis' arrival from National League side Bromley is an intriguing addition.
Dennis scored 13 and assisted a further eight in a Bromley side who finished ninth last season and much is already expected of him.
Speaking to the Portsmouth News, Jackett said: "Louis is a very natural number 10, he has good balance, touch and can release people at the right time, which is a big part of that job.
"You have to be able to keep the ball moving and play the runners in at the right time, he has that pretty naturally – and getting a couple of goals in a pre-season friendly always helps settling in."
He has the potential to be a key man for not just Portsmouth, but in League One this season.
Alongside the playing staff, they have a manager who knows what it takes to achieve success at this level.
Jackett took Wolves back up to the second tier in 2014 after they had suffered consecutive relegations. He managed to galvanise a team who had suffered under previous management and turn them into title winners with a staggering 103 points.
Millwall's play-off victory in 2010 was also led by Jackett. His management skills are proven here given the fact that the Lions were bitterly disappointed to miss out on automatic promotion on a dramatic final day in League One.
You can also factor in Pompey's strong finish to the end of the 2017/18 campaign. Jackett's men lost just one of their final seven games, that coming on the last day against Bradford, but they did wrap up the points against eventual title winners Wigan.
At 14/1, they look outstanding each-way value in a market which puts too much faith in Sunderland's ability to move quickly back in the right direction.
Recommended bet: Portsmouth
They may have lost star striker Jack Marriott, and top playmaker Marcus Maddison could still depart, but Peterborough have made an incredible 14 signings so far during the summer transfer window.
Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was a standout performer for Accrington as they secured League Two glory last season, with Louis Reed, Tyler Denton and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts exciting prospects.
Alex Woodyard was a regular in the Lincoln midfield and has since decided to join the Posh, while Matt Godden struck 14 last season for Sky Bet League Two side Stevenage and is expected to cope with the step up in class.
Jason Cummings, who arrives on-loan from Nottingham Forest, can be viewed as a bit of a coup at this level given his track record in Scotland.
The 22-year-old scored 55 and assisted a further 19 in 97 second-tier games north of the border before moving down south to join Forest from Hibernian.
It's also worth mentioning that he made the Scottish Championship Team of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, the first inclusion coming at the age of just 20.
He is capable of leading the line for Posh, and there's even an argument saying that his parent club should have probably kept hold of him for the upcoming campaign.
Judged purely on the strength of their summer business, Peterborough look a good bet for a top-six finish, but confidence is further enhanced by their manager, Steve Evans.
Evans guided Rotherham to League One as runners-up in 2013 before securing consecutive promotions as the Millers won the League One play-off final in 2014.
Promotions with Boston and Crawley earlier in his career shows that he knows what it takes to galvanise a strong group of players and that's exactly what I expect him to do, guiding Peterborough to a top-six finish and, perhaps, promotion to the Championship.
Recommended bet: Peterborough
I touched upon him when discussing Peterborough's top-six chances, and there is a real case for backing Jason Cummings to pick up the Sky Bet League One Golden Boot award at 20/1.
His form for Hibs was excellent, and even more impressive given his age and lack of experience at the time. In 2015, Cummings struck 21 goals for the Scottish Championship side and followed it up with a further 25 the following season.
Last season he went on loan to Rangers, where he still scored six in 18 appearances, and it's only Forest's heavy-spending summer which sees him drop down to this level in a real coup for Posh.
The combined 53 goals scored by Jack Marriott, Marcus Maddison and Danny Lloyd last season highlight Peterborough's attacking intent - even with a managerial change shortly after the midway point.
Given the calibre of teammate surrounding him, Cummings has all the right ingredients to cook up a storm for Posh and his odds could well collapse if he makes a bright start. Let's hope Forest, my fancies for the Championship, are coping well enough without him.
Elsewhere, Danny Hylton is well worth considering at around the 16/1 mark.
The 29-year-old was a key figure in helping Luton secure promotion from Sky Bet League Two, scoring 23 and providing four assists.
He's been a bit of a League Two stalwart during his career, but he is making the step up to the next level in great form having scored a hat-trick in Luton's recent friendly against St. Albans.
The Hatters are fancied to challenge at the right end of the table and will need goals to do so. Hylton has already shown he is capable of being a top-end striker in the division below, and it's well within his capabilities to prove just as dangerous at this level.
Recommended bet: Jason Cummings
Recommended bet: Danny Hylton
They flirted with the drop last season, but Walsall will likely find themselves in that bottom four by the end of this campaign.
The Saddlers finished two points clear of Oldham, who occupied the final spot in the drop zone, and they've done little this summer to suggest improvement will be forthcoming.
Their bright spark throughout his time at the club was Erhun Oztumer, but he has departed for Championship side Bolton.
Oztumer's loss will be massive for Walsall, and you have to question how they will adapt to not having him in their starting XI most Saturdays.
Even with Walsall nearly dropping down a division, Oztumer scored 17 and provided a further seven assists, nine more goals than Amadou Bakayoko and Joe Edwards who shared the second-highest scorer tag at the club.
The attacking midfielder also scored 15 the season before last, with another seven assists to go with it, and they haven't adequately replaced the significant impact that they will lose with his departure.
Zeli Ismail has been the 'big name' addition for them during this window, but his three goals and five assists for Bury at this level last season doesn't do much to fill you with confidence.
The one positive is Andy Cook's arrival from Tranmere. The 28-year-old striker scored 28 in the National League and will be looked upon to fire Walsall to safety.
The big question surrounds his step-up to this level and if he can adapt to the increased standard. He's played his entire career at non-league level and this will be his first attempt at the EFL, so he does have something to prove and it's asking a lot for him to guide Walsall to safety.
Walsall managed to finish third in 2015/16, but dived down to 14th in 2016/17. They are clearly a side on a downward curve, with a number of key players leaving across the seasons which they're struggled to replace.
That again looks to be the case and at 2/1 for the drop, they look banker material.
Recommended bet: Walsall
Updated at 1515 BST on 31/07/18.