EFL Championship Play-Off Betting Preview

EFL Championship Play-Off Betting Preview

EFL Championship Play-Off Match Previews and Promotion Tips

The regular Championship season has come to an end, and it was another enthralling campaign. Norwich City finished up as champions and won promotion to the Premier League with Sheffield United going up automatically alongside them.

At the other end of the table, it was bad news for Ipswich Town, Bolton Wanderers and Rotherham United who all suffered the agony of relegation to League One.

However, there is still one thing left to be decided – who will go up alongside Norwich and Sheffield United via the play-offs? Four clubs will go head-to-head for promotion in a couple of two-legged semi-finals before the two winners face off at Wembley.

We have taken a look at the two semi-finals and predicted who we feel will go through from each, before also giving our prediction on who will win the play-offs outright.

Aston Villa v West Brom Betting Preview

The first semi-final is also a local derby, as Aston Villa take on West Bromwich Albion. The two West Midlands clubs are not surprise inclusions in the top six with the pair of them having big budgets and therefore some outstanding players, but they do enter on the back of different circumstances.

West Brom have been in the top six for the whole season, and for the most part were also in contention for the top two. Ultimately they just fell short on that count, but have had several weeks to prepare themselves for the play-offs which could prove to be advantageous for them.

In Aston Villa’s case, they are relative latecomers having gone on an unbelievable run of form in the final two months of the season to finish in fifth place. Dean Smith’s side won a club record 10 matches in a row to propel themselves into the play-off picture and therefore have plenty of momentum heading into their tie against the Baggies.

The only real point of concern for Villa fans will be regarding the fitness are star duo Tammy Abraham and Jack Grealish. The Chelsea loanee is their leading goalscorer but has been missing since picking up a shoulder injury against Bolton on Good Friday. Grealish meanwhile missed their final day defeat against Norwich City and if he is missing it would be a major blow given it was his return to the side which sparked their incredible run of form. The club do though believe that both will be fit in time to play at least the second leg.

In terms of the head-to-head, in their two league meetings it was West Brom who had the upper hand. Whilst they could only manage a 2-2 draw with their rivals at the Hawthorns, they did pick up a 2-0 win against them at Villa Park – a result they would love to replicate in the play-offs.

Villa head into this as favourites, but we actually fancy Albion. They have been more consistent throughout the entire season and have match winners in Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez who have 45 goals between them this season. Those two are capable of winning any individual match and that is certainly a big advantage for the Baggies, especially if Villa’s main goalscorer Abraham is out injured.

Recommended Bet: West Brom to qualify at 6/5 with bet365

West Brom Championship

West Bromwich Albion’s Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez have both been clinical in the Championship this season.

Derby County v Leeds United Betting Preview

The second semi-final sees Derby County and Leeds United renew rivalries for the first time since the now infamous ‘Spygate’. Earlier in the season Leeds were caught sending a member of their staff to spy on Derby training sessions in the build up to their fixture at Elland Road, something which caused a major media storm.

Marcelo Bielsa was criticised for the antics, but had the last laugh when he guided his team to a comfortable 2-0 win against the Rams. They also won their first match of the season against Derby 4-1 at Pride Park, so they have certainly had the measure of Frank Lampard’s side in the regular season.

However, the Whites come into the play-offs on their backs having failed to gain automatic promotion. They were well in contention right up until the Easter weekend when they lost twice against Wigan and Brentford and ultimately handed the initiative to Sheffield United. They have now lost three of their last four fixtures, drawing the other and are in the worst form of the four clubs set to enter the play-offs.

As for Derby, they qualified for the play-offs on the final day of the season thanks to a win against West Brom and therefore will be in great spirits heading into this tie. The Rams have been in and around the top six for the most part, but have put together a good run of form in the final month of the season to seal their place, going unbeaten in six and winning four.

There is though a gulf in class between the two sides, as was shown in their two previous fixtures. We expect Bielsa to re-energise his players ahead of the play-off challenge and have them bak at their best for their games against Derby. If that is the case, they should have enough to win the tie.

Recommended Bet: Leeds United to qualify at 4/7 with BetVictor

Marcelo Bielsa Leeds United

Marcelo Bielsa has a huge task in picking his players up from the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion.

Which Championship club seals promotion through the play-offs?

So we’re predicting a West Brom v Leeds United final, which could be a thriller. Each side has claimed an impressive win over the other this season, with Albion beating Leeds 4-1 at the Hawthorns before the Whites returned the favour with a 4-0 home win later in the campaign.

This would be a game that really could go either way, but we are siding with West Brom to go on and ultimately win the play-offs. As already mentioned they have two top drawer Championship striker in Gayle and Rodriguez who can win games by themselves at this level, whereas Leeds’ strikers haven’t been quite as clinical this season, with Patrick Bamford in particular missing plenty of guilt edge chances.

They also have lots of players who have experienced promotion from this league before which always helps in situations like this. They have had time to prepare and are in good form going into the competition with three wins and a draw from their last five. At 4/1, they are a very good price.

Championship Promotion Odds

Leeds United – 2/1 with Betway

Aston Villa- 2/1 with Sky Bet

West Brom – 4/1 with bet365

Derby County – 9/2 with bet365

Recommended Bet: West Brom to be promoted

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