The League Two play-offs begin on Monday, with four clubs battling it out to win promotion to League One for 2024-25. We look at the predicted chances of each side according to the Opta supercomputer.

It’s May, which must mean it’s time for the EFL play-offs.

We’ve already looked at the League One play-offs; now it’s the turn of League Two.

Stockport County, Mansfield Town and Wrexham secured automatic promotion, and it’s almost time to find out who will join them in League One next season.

MK Dons, Doncaster Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Crawley Town are the quartet who will fight it out for that place, and here, we ask the Opta supercomputer who it thinks is likeliest to succeed at Wembley Stadium on 19 May.

Who Will Win the League Two Play-Offs?

Despite the fact that teams who finish higher in the table often achieve success in the play-offs, the Opta supercomputer can barely separate two of the four teams in League Two.

MK Dons and Doncaster Rovers are expected to reach the final, but despite finishing one place and seven points higher, the former only win the play-offs in 3% more of the supercomputer’s simulations.

MK Dons head straight back up to League One in 33.5% of the supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations, while in-form Doncaster pip them in 30.5% of sims.

League Two playoff projections

There might be a sense of disappointment at Stadium MK after their quest for automatic promotion fell by the wayside in the closing weeks of the season.

MK Dons are trying to get back up to the third tier after being relegated last year but made a poor start to life back in League Two under Graham Alexander. He was sacked in October and replaced by Mike Williamson.

They have shown their strength on occasion but often struggled for consistency. MK Dons haven’t won three games in a row at any point in 2024 and haven’t won back-to-back games since early March.

Max Dean’s loan from Leeds United has been the success story of the season, only arriving in January and becoming their top scorer with 15 goals in 29 league appearances. Dean has had a hand in 10 goals in his last six League Two appearances (6 goals, 4 assists). Of players to play at least 1,000 minutes this season, only Doncaster loanee 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).

MK Dons 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.

They will look to end that unwanted record when they face EFL play-off debutants Crawley in the semi-finals, whom they lost to 2-1 back in August 2023 before beating them 2-0 in the reverse game in December. MK Dons are favourites to go through at 59.3%, though the supercomputer believes Doncaster have a slightly more straightforward semi-final, making the Yorkshire side the favourites to reach the final out of all four teams (61.0%).

Doncaster are undoubtedly the form team coming into the play-offs. Their rise in recent months has been absolutely remarkable.

Grant McCann’s side were languishing in 22nd place at the start of February, 16 points off the play-off spots. Three months and 18 games later, Doncaster finished in fifth place, two points ahead of a Barrow side who had been 22 points ahead of them three months prior.

That was largely thanks to a run of 10 wins in a row before the last game of the season when they drew 2-2 at Gillingham to secure their spot in the play-offs. Doncaster ended their League Two season with just one defeat in their final 18 matches (W13 D4).

Doncaster face Crewe in the semis and were beaten 3-2 by the Railwaymen away from home in late November but won 2-0 in the reverse fixture in March to begin that 10-game winning streak.

It was an emotional moment for Crewe when Elliott Nevitt’s stoppage-time equaliser secured their play-off place at Colchester United on the final day. As it turned out, perhaps they’d rather he missed.

As Barrow only drew with Mansfield, Crewe would have qualified even if they had lost 1-0, only they’d have been playing MK Dons in the semis instead of in-form Doncaster.

Despite qualifying, Crewe have not been in good form. Lee Bell’s side were going well up to the end of February, in third place and ahead of Wrexham by two points. After winning just two of their last 12 games though (D4 L6), they dropped to sixth place and ultimately finished 17 points behind Wrexham.

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 (10), who scored the fewest goals (7), had the worst shot conversion rate (5.2%) and underperformed their expected goals by the biggest margin (7 goals from 13 xG) of any side in that timeframe.

Bell’s side get past Doncaster in just 39.0% of the supercomputer’s 10,000 simulations and are therefore the outsiders to win the League Two play-offs at just 16.1%.

When Crawley went four games without a win before the final day of the season and dropped out of the play-off places, it was easy to forget that they probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

The (other) Red Devils survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season and were favourites with many to go down at the start of 2023-24. Scott Lindsey’s young side have surpassed all expectations, though, and spent most of the campaign in the top half.

A routine 2-0 home win against Grimsby Town on the final day saw them sneak back into seventh spot thanks to Barrow’s 1-1 draw with Mansfield, and they’re in the mood to upset the applecart again.

This is Crawley’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.

They will look to top scorer Danilo Orsi (19 goals) to lead them in attack, while Klaidi Lolos (13 goals) has hit a rich vein of form in the latter part of the season.

The supercomputer gives Crawley a 40.7% chance of getting past MK Dons in the semi-finals and an overall likelihood of 20.0% of eventually claiming promotion.

It also believes Monday’s first legs will be very close affairs, with none of the four teams winning in more than 39% of simulations. As you can see below, there is just a 1% difference between Crewe and Doncaster winning at the Mornflake Stadium.

League Two Play-Off First Leg Predictions

Crawley Town vs MK Dons

Crawley win: 39.0%
Draw: 26.5%
MK Dons win: 34.5%

Crewe Alexandra vs Doncaster Rovers

Crewe win: 36.4%
Draw: 26.2%
Doncaster win: 37.4%

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