Championship Play-Off Winner Odds & Predictions

A look at the final four challenging for the EPL

Championship Betting

Things finished as they were on the final day of the Championship’s regular season last weekend. Cardiff managed to hold on to second place in the table as Fulham totally picked the wrong time to have their massive undefeated streak of form snapped as they tanked against Birmingham. A win would have gotten the Cottagers automatic promotion. Derby made light work of the now-relegated Barnsley to hold on to fourth place and they join Fulham, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough in the Play-Offs.

Derby v Fulham Preview

Fulham were so strong in the second half of the Championship season that to have lost their undefeated streak of form on the final day of the season would have been a tough blow for them to have dealt with. They were up against Birmingham who weren’t clear of relegation troubles on the final day of the season and the Cottagers just totally blew their lines. Will that have knocked the win out of their sails? Fulham were on a 23 match unbeaten streak of form before that, winning 18 of those and were on an absolute tear.

Derby got themselves together just at the end of the season after a difficult time of things in which they won just two of thirteen league games. But a W2 D1 record in their final three matches got them over the line. During that positive finish, they did take a comprehensive home win over league runners-up Cardiff and then dug out a point at Aston Villa. So that was much, much better from them.

The Rams only took the one point from their two league matches with Fulham this season drawing 1-1 at Craven Cottage before losing 2-1 at home. Both teams have scored in each of the last five meetings and from the last six championship clashes, Derby are W2 D3 L1 against Fulham. Fulham’s form, both scoring and defensively has been so strong that they are 3/10 favourites at bet365 To Qualify* (betting odds taken on May 7th, 2018 at 11:20 p.m.).

Middlesbrough v Aston Villa Preview

Boro came on really strongly towards the end of the season to put themselves up in the top six. They won four of their last six games to claw their way into their position of power and they will have their backing in this one for sure. Boro are a very strong home side and there is every chance that they could build themselves up a lead in the first leg at the Riverside against Aston Villa. Boro are 5/4 underdogs at bet365* (betting odds taken on May 7th, 2018 at 11:20 p.m.) to qualify for the play off final, but this has the look of being a really closely fought tie. Boro scored exactly two goals in each for their last four league games and in that sequence, did beat Derby and Millwall.

With seven wins in their last eight home games then they are certainly not going to be a push, however, although they did lose each of their five home games this season against the other top six finishers in the league. Aston Villa collected just a point from their last two games of the season and like Boro are most trustworthy on home soil. Villa have won just one of their last five away games (W1 L3) so aren’t travelling all that well. But they certainly have strengths at Villa Park so this will be a matter of them just hanging in there within touching distance.

From the two previous league meetings this season, Aston Villa collected four points, blanking Boro in both games. The two of them did also meet in the EFL Cup at Villa Park which Boro won 2-0. Five of the last six meetings in all competitions have ended under 2.5 goals with things even at two wins each and draw in their last four league clashes.

Previews

There are two tight battles going on here. Fulham were the standout performers of the play-off position finishers this season but you wonder what that defeat not the final day of the season did to them. It will be revealed in the first leg at Pride Park. Of the two sides, Fulham are clearly well ahead in current form and even though Derby have won three of their last four at home, Fulham may be good enough to stay close enough to use the home form to power through.

Middlesbrough are the value tip in the other semi final. They have home advantage and they are playing and scoring well at the moment. They have to take advantage of Villa not being great on the road at the moment and if they can build a solid lead then they are going to have the tools to defend their way to the final at Villa Park.

To win the Play Offs odds*

Fulham 7/4, Aston Villa 13/5, Middlesbrough 11/4, Derby 5/1* (betting odds taken on May 7th, 2018 at 11:20 p.m.)


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