The 2019/20 Non-League season starts in early August with the flagship tournament, the National League, set for a Saturday 3 August kick-off. All 12 fixtures take place that day and it’s the beginning of a frantic month with no less than eight rounds of matches crammed in to five weeks.
The National League sees 24 teams aim for three automatic promotion places with a fourth side gaining access to League Two through the play-offs. At the opposite end of the table and the strugglers will battle to avoid four relegation slots, clubs finishing 21stto 24thdemoted.
Haven for fans
It may not be the most glamourous level of football in Europe, but the National League enjoys a healthy support and is a haven for fans who feel disconnected and out of touch with the multi-million-pound transfers now commonplace in the Premier League and Championship.
It also rates as one of the most competitive competitions in the UK today and a strong case could be made for anything between 10 and 12 teams winning the title. Pre-season is a time of promise for fans who allow themselves to dream of what could lie in store in the months ahead.
It’s also a great time to be a sports bettor as bookmakers serve up a host of interesting betting markets on the upcoming National League season. Who will be the winners and losers? Which teams will aim for promotion and which will spend the majority of the year fighting against the drop? At this stage it’s anyone’s guess, but we can take a hint or two from how traders expect things to go.
Bet on the action
Place your punts at one of the top betting sites for UK punters, having a say on the outright winner of the National League and who will gain promotion. You can also predict one of the four teams to be relegated when the curtain goes down.
The outright betting is a wide-open market at the time of writing and that will come as no surprise to followers of football at this level. The money men have Notts County chalked up as favourite but it’s a far from convincing stance with the 9/1 price tag also attached to Chesterfield and the progressive and ambition AFC Flyde. Football traders have put together their book and are in no way embarrassed by sitting on the fence, offering prices and allowing bettors to decide.
That approach will catch the imagination of value hunters who make a steady profit from pouncing on any uncertainty on the trading floor. Could AFC Flyde be the team to have your money on? The Mill Farm outfit will certainly give backers a run for their money as they aim to continue their journey through the divisions.
Taste of success
Dave Challinor’s side finished fifth last season, missing out on promotion through the play-offs, but they have worked hard over the course of the summer to learn the lessons of that campaign and build on the positives. The Coasters won the FA Trophy back in May with a 1-0 over Leyton Orient and having had a taste of glory they will go all out for more of the same.
Cup success is nice, but National League glory tops the club’s list of priorities at this time of year. The board have invested in the playing squad, backing their manager, and will want to see a return on that. A place in the play-offs will be the least they expect, although an extended season is a lottery where anything can happen. Gaining automatic promotion to League Two is the preferred route.
Having already made a host of impressive signings, boss Challinor informed the media in a recent interview that he is targeting more new faces and the number he brings in will depend on the budget afforded to him from the board. He wants to see competition for places and that should result in an improved performance on the pitch.
Down in the relegation betting we find Aldershot priced like they are already down with odds-on circling for them to take the drop. Maidenhead are 6/4 second favourites, ahead of Boreham Wood and Dover.