Away from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, the EFL is the Non-League football pyramid, with National League betting having become increasingly popular recently. The National League – or Conference as it was previously known – is one division below League Two and one division above its two regional leagues, known as the National League North/South respectively. Despite its lowly standing, these leagues are becoming a favourite among punters looking for great value.
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Tournament Structure for the National League
The National League consists of 24 different teams from across England and Wales. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. In the case of two teams being on equal points comes the season’s end, they will be separated by goal difference.
There is only one automatic promotion spot in the National League, which goes to the side who finishes top. The only other way to progress into the EFL League Two is via the playoff.
Teams placed second through to seventh compete in one-legged, straight knockout playoff matches. The teams who finish second and third receive a bye into the playoff semi-finals, while everyone else is placed into the quarter finals. The winner of the final – usually played at Wembley in June, although had to be moved to the London Stadium in 2022 due to England playing at Wembley – is set to receive a trophy and a place in the Football League.
At the other end of the table, there are four available relegation spots. The bottom-four teams each season are relegated to the National League South or National League North, depending on their location.
National League Betting Odds
The 2022/2023 National League is set to be one of the closest campaigns in recent memory. Here are the very best odds for the most popular markets, provided by some of the best bookmakers for football.
Odds to Win National League 2022/2023 (Outright Winner)
|Dagenham & Redbridge||16/1||William Hill|
English National 2022/23
National League Betting Tips & Predictions
- Wrexham are the favourites for the 2022/23 title. Much was expected of the team owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney last term, but they were not able to justify the expectations. They are the PSG of non-league football, though, so bookmakers are clearly taking no chances with them.
- Chesterfield and Notts County, two of the bigger clubs in the National League, are the second and third favourites. Chesterfield were cruising the division last season until some off-field turmoil came their way. Notts County can’t quite get the job done at this level.
- Solihull Moors suffered the ultimate heartache when losing out to Grimsby Town in the promotion playoff final last season, and have lost Kyle Hudlin, one of their more important players.
- Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic were relegated out of the Football League and will be looking to bounce back at the first time of asking. A new takeover will perk up the Latics, while ‘The Iron’ were relegated early enough to turn their focus towards building for their bounce-back season.
- Southend United are slowly turning things around under the experienced guidance of Stan Collymore and John Still, with much more expected of the Shrimpers this season.
- Halifax lost in the playoffs last season, but have since lost their manager and a host of players to Barrow, which we imagine will dent their hopes of repeating the heroics of last term.
- Dagenham and Redbridge and Borehamwood have been at this level for a lot longer than they would have wanted to be. The Daggers always seem to be on the fringes of the playoffs, while Borehamwood showed just what they can do with their run to the fifth round of the FA Cup. They will look to translate that into a positive league campaign.
- Wrexham have already made the eye-catching signing of Elliot Lee in the close season, so there is no evidence that they are going to stand still. They only missed out on the title on the final day, getting dumped out of the playoffs in the semi-final by Grimsby in a wacky tie which ended 5-4 after extra time.
- They look worthy favourites and we imagine that, just like in the 2021-22 season, whoever finishes above the Welsh outfit will win this league.
- Those who don’t like 6/4 shots over the course of a season will look further down the betting for a bit of value. Chesterfield will be popular under Paul Cook, who holds a fine record with the Spireites – that said, the best outsiders could be Solihull Moors.
- Moors were 20 minutes away from winning the playoffs last season, and although the loss of Hudlin isn’t ideal, they have currently kept hold of Joe Sbarra and Andrew Dallas. Neil Ardley is doing a fine job with Solihull and has enough contacts in the game to get good quality loan players in. At a double figure price, they could be the best value alternative to Wrexham.
The National League 2021/2022 Season Overview
The 2021-22 National League season was one of the most dramatic campaigns there has ever been.
Stockport County were the ones who were celebrating the most at the end of it. They won the title by six points from Wrexham, but only secured the champions tag on the final day of the season.
That left Wrexham to join Notts County, Halifax, Solihull Moors, Chesterfield and Grimsby Town in the playoffs, and after a playoff series that had a number of brilliant matches, it was Paul Hurst’s Grimsby side who were the ones to follow Stockport back into the Football League.
They won away to Notts County, Wrexham and then beat Solihull Moors in the final to achieve promotion at the first time of asking, while Solihull beat Chesterfield to get to that point. Chesterfield earlier saw off Halifax.
Chesterfield were the ones looking back and wondering what might have been, as at Christmas it looked like they were firing their way to the title; however, off-field issues with manager James Rowe derailed their title charge, while injuries didn’t help either. Eventually, they succumbed in the playoffs.
Southend United were the other team relegated into this division in 2020-21. They were always going to need a season of transition with a new set-up in place, though, and will be hoping for much better than 13th in 2022-23.
At the other end of the table, Dover Athletic knew their fate from a very early stage and finished bottom of the table, while Weymouth and Kings Lynn Town were relegated to the National League South and National League North respectively.
The top scorer honours went to Paul Mullin, the expensive recruit at Wrexham. His 26 goals was enough to win the Golden Boot by two goals from Kabongo Tshimanga, whose season was curtailed early because of injury.
Popular England National League Betting Markets
This is one of the most popular forms of National League betting. Simply put, bettors place a wager on who they think will finish top of the pile come the end of the season. The odds for this will shorten as the season progresses. In order to maximise the value of this bet, make sure you decide on which Conference team you will be backing in the first few weeks of the campaign.
To Get Promoted
As the National League employs a playoff system – more about that below – bettors can also select which teams they think will get promoted, but not finish top of the league. As the playoff is a lottery, there is often great value to be found in this market. In the past, many National League teams have shocked the pundits by securing an unlikely promotion. It’s your job to select the next great underdog story.
Along with betting on a team’s performances, there is also a lively Top Goalscorer market for the National League. This is the player who scores the most goals in a specific season. Make sure you check out which players have been in hot form before selecting your bet for this one.
To Be Relegated
There are multiple relegation places on offer in the National League, which gives bettors some room to manoeuvre when selecting which teams they are tipping to struggle. An analysis of each side’s summer transfer business can help with this particular wager.
National League North and South
Situated one step below, the National League are its two feeder leagues. As their names suggest, the National League North and National League South are regionalised divisions, but with a similar structure to the league above.
National League North
The National League North is made up of 22 teams, largely situated in the northern part of England. There is one automatic promotion spot on offer for the title winners, while there is also a playoff system in place.
Much like the National League, teams who finish from between second and seventh place qualify for the playoffs, while the top two get a bye into the semi finals. The final of the playoffs is not held at a neutral ground; instead, it is hosted at the stadium of the team who finished higher in the league.
At the bottom, there are four relegation spots. Those teams who end up getting relegated get placed in one of the National League North’s four feeder leagues, normally the Northern Premier Division.
National League South
The National League South has 24 teams – thanks to an upcoming restructuring of the Non-League pyramid – as well as a promotion and playoff system identical to its Northern counterparts.
This season, there are four relegation spots on offer. The demoted teams will end up being placed in one of the National League South feeder leagues.
National League Past Winners
|2021/22||Stockport County||Grimsby Town|
|2020/21||Sutton United||Hartlepool United|
|2018/19||Leyton Orient||Salford City|
|2017/18||Macclesfield Town||Tranmere Rovers|
|2015/16||Chetenham Town||Grimsby Town|
|2013/14||Luton Town||Cambridge United|
|2012/13||Mansfield Town||Newport County|
|2011/12||Fleetwood Town||York City|
|2010/11||Crawley Town||AFC Wimbledon|
|2008/09||Burton Albion||Torquay United|
National League Key Stats
- Aldershot (2007/08), Crawley Town (2010/11) and Fleetwood Town (2011/12) are tied for the most wins in a single season with 31.
- Barnet (1990/91) and Hereford United (2003/04) are tied for the most goals scored in a season with 103.
- The fewest points total in a season is 10, recorded by Hyde in 2013/14.
- The highest a team who have played in the National League has reached in the Football League pyramid is the Sky Bet Championship. Six teams have achieved this – Colchester United, Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil Town, Luton Town, Burton Albion, and Wycombe Wanderers.
- Oldham Athletic will become the first team who has played in the Premier League to play in the National League when they begin the 2022/23 season.
Upcoming Sporting Events
Vanarama National League FAQs
During the 2022/2023 season, 24 different teams will play in the National League. Each team will play each other home and away for a total of 46 games.
Teams that finish second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh qualify for the Vanarama National League playoffs, while the second and third receive a bye to the semi finals. All the ties are one-legged affairs, with the final being played at Wembley Stadium in June.
The National League North/South are two regionalised feeder leagues. Those who get promoted from these divisions – either by finishing first or winning the playoffs – are placed into the National League.
There are plenty of options for bettors wishing to place a wager on the Conference League. Outright markets such as title winners, the Golden Boot, and relegation are available, while bets can also be placed on specific games.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Do not be put off by the National League’s lowly status in the English football pyramid. The division is still a great option for bettors, with odds offered by the majority of UK betting sites. There is a lot of enjoyment to be had, so be sure not to miss out – join the Non-League revolution today!