EFL League One & League Two

League Two Play-Off Tips: Back Donny to breeze through on Monday in 4/1 acca

Grant McCann
Grant McCann's Doncaster were superb in the final three months of the season

The League Two semi-finals start on Bank Holiday Monday and with both games on Sky, Alan Dudman has a 4/15.00 Bet Builder to consider...

  • Two games on Sky for play-off double header

  • Dons look the value to qualify

  • Rovers are the strongest bet so far


Crawley Town v MK Dons
Monday 6th May, kick-off 15:00
Live on Sky Sports Football

Dons out to end play-off hex

MK Dons and Doncaster head a rather lop-sided Promotion Market on the Exchange - with Mike Williamson's side favourites to go up at around 2.89/5 and Donny at 3.2011/5.

The Buckinghamshire side have not been lucky in the past when it comes to play-off football and are featuring in their sixth different play-off campaign, failing to reach the final in any of their previous five (2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12 & 2021-22). It's the most different play-offs a team has played in without ever once reaching a final.

That has to be a massive worry if you are taking the 2.89/5 for promotion, as were the goals conceded at the back-end of the season.

They were involved in some crazy games with a 1-4 loss to Mansfield, a 5-3 win at Harrogate and a final day 4-4 with Sutton United. Yes, Sutton scored four!

Play-off debutants look up against it

This is Crawley Town's first ever experience of the Football League play-offs, becoming the 105th different side to feature in a play-off campaign. The last team to win promotion in their first ever play-offs were Coventry City in 2017-18 who won the League Two play-offs.

At 6.411/2 in the Promotion Market, that's a fair reflection of their chances. And if you do get involved in that price, there is chance to trade if they can edge a result on Monday.

Crawley got the final spot by a point ahead of Barrow and the unlikely late challengers Bradford, but they were solid both hone and away throughout the season with 11 and 10 wins.

Match Odds - too close to call?

It finished all square in terms of the head-to-head this season. Crawley won at home 2-1 in August in a game of few chances, while MK won the return 2-0, but that was back in December and a lot can change in a few months (see Bradford and Doncaster).

The market on the Sportsbook appears undecided, with the hosts at 6/52.20 and MK Dons at 6/42.50 in the 90 minutes market, while the 7/52.40 and 31/20 appear on the outright.

If you are backing the Dons to win here, I would rather play the To Qualify Bet at 8/131.61. And that makes more sense to me with the return leg rather than take 6/42.50 in 90 minutes. More minutes is usually a good thing.

Go against Dons' crazy goal end of season finish

Crawley are one of the lowest scorers of the top seven sides at home with just 37 scored (Crewe had 35), and their 'for and against' record both home and away is almost identical.

Their xG at around 1.50 is on a par too with their xA, so the fact they tend to stay in games means it could be quite close here.

Plus, with the two matches over the course of the season including a 2-0, I like the BTTS 'No' Bet here at 15/82.88. Crawley finished the season with just one win in five and the focus will need to be on taking the game back to MK and staying in the tie.

Excluding the 2019-20 season which was curtailed early, Crawley's 70 points this season is the fewest by a side to qualify for the play-offs in League Two since Blackpool in 2016-17 (also 70).

Max Dean has had a hand in 10 goals in his last six League Two appearances for MK Dons (6 goals, 4 assists). Among players to play 1,000 minutes this season, only Hakeeb Adelakun (one every 95 minutes) has scored or assisted at a more frequent rate than Dean (15 goals, 5 assists, one every 96 mins).

Back BTTS 'No' @ 15/82.88

Bet here

Crewe v Doncaster Rovers
Monday 6th May, kick-off 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football

Crewe's first-half season form deserted them

This is the Alex's seventh play-off campaign and their first since the 2011-12 League Two play-offs which they won 2-0 at Wembley against Cheltenham.

Doncaster have only featured in two EFL play-offs, beating Leeds in the 2007-08 League One final but losing the 2018-19 League One semi-final to Charlton Athletic on penalties after a 4-4 aggregate draw in Grant McCann's first spell in charge.

Crewe's second-half of the season was a real mixed-bag and since the start of March, they only won twice - and those victories were against Morecambe and Sutton - two of the more woeful foes in the division.

Rovers charge into the play-offs was superb

A run of 10 straight victories for McCann's Donny was the best part of the League Two season. And backers of Rovers week in week out would have made a tidy profit as it took a while for the markets to cotton on.

"People will talk about the Sutton game changing things but for 31 games we've been outstanding. We've put ourselves in the top seven and it's a credit to the players, the fans who have supported us up and down the country and it's a credit to everyone associated with the football club," said the manager on the charge into the play-off places.

They scored 28 goals in their final 11 games and duly beat Crewe at home 2-0, and I think the 3.02/1 price on Promotion is worth a second look.

Doncaster have only won three of their last 12 games against Crewe in all competitions (D2 L7), although one of those was in the most recent meeting in March, a 2-0 home win, but they meet the Alex at a good time.

Donny can set up return leg

Such is Doncaster's form, and they meet Crewe who have tailed off, the visitors look a good bet here to win the first leg.

If you like the word 'momentum', then Donny have it. I know golf fans like that word.

They ended their League Two season with just one defeat in their final 18 matches (W13 D4). At the start of February, Rovers were 22nd in the table but from the start of February onwards, they won seven more points than any other side (43) and 22 more than opponents Crewe managed (21).

At 13/102.30 on the Sportsbook, we'll take that, and it might be worth playing up on a Bet Builder double with that price.

From the start of March until the end of the League Two season, only Newport County (6) won fewer points in the competition than Crewe Alexandra (10). The Railwaymen scored the fewest goals (7), had the worst shot conversion rate (5.2%) and underperformed their expected goals by the biggest margin (7 goals vs 13 xG, -6) of any side in that timeframe.

Hakeeb Adelakun finished the season off so well for Rovers, as did Joe Ironside with six in his final five matches.

Ironside as Anytime Scorer at 12/53.40 in the Bet Builder with Donny to win pays around 4/15.00 for the double.

Back Doncaster to win @ 13/102.30

Bet here

Back Donny to win and Ironside to Score @ 4/15.00

Bet here

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