Tension. Excitement. Passion. Drama. Tears
No, not a night out with Neil Warnock, the Championship playoff final!
29 years ago, English FA big wigs brought the playoff system into the footballing world. And over the decade many have been thankful, many have cursed them, with some never getting to taste success in them. Sorry Leeds!
But 2016’s decider is all set up to one of the most entertaining in years. Sheffield Wednesday are looking to make a return to the Premier League after just over a decade and a half of slumber in the lower tiers. Hull City (Tigers) are looking to join Burnley in becoming only the 20th side to bounce straight back up from relegation in history.
The expert traders at PP have it down to be very tight, but we’ve found a bet that’ll tell you which of them will start next season dining at the top table, and which will be feeding off the scraps of Swansea.
Steve Bruce’s side are favourites for both the match () and to be promoted () and when you look at their history it’s not hard to see why. Bruce has been promoted three times – twice with Birmingham (including a playoff victory) and in 2012-13 with Hull. His side demolished Derby in the first leg of the semi-final 3-0 but were given a right scare at home when the Rams scored twice to set up a nervy finish. Amid ugly scenes, Hull went through. Then again, what isn’t ugly in Hull?
Well their home record, their defence and Dave Meyler of course, the sexy ginger. Hull were second in the table for home form standing just one point off Middlesbrough and had the second meanest defence, again topped by Boro. They were clean and clinical in the first leg of the semi but can’t afford to be as slack as they were in the second. They’re unbeaten in their playoff appearances.
Check out the latest odds for the playoff final on PP.com
The outsiders coming into the playoffs at 4/1 and still the outsiders to go up despite disposing of 3rd placed Brighton in relatively easy fashion. A 3-1 aggregate victory could’ve and possibly should’ve been more, but Carlos Carvahal will feel quietly confident of becoming the 183rd Premier League manager (including caretakers). It is their debut in the Championship playoffs. Their city rivals have appeared three times in the final but never managed to go up. And as we all know, there’s nothing like shoving two fingers up at your enemies. Don’t forget that at.
Their defence has been impressive too. Wednesday have conceded less than a goal a game in the league this season which is much better than Thursday’s record. Haha, we’re hilarious. At least that what our mam’s say. Scoring 1.43 per match has seen them win most of their games by the one goal. Fernando Forestieri ran the show for the Owls and if he’s on form, their odds of for the match and to be promoted could be worth a look.
For all the drama and excitement during the season, the playoff finals in recent years have been a bit of a let down
- Teams who score first in the final have won on 20 of 26 occasions
- Hull and Wednesday drew both meetings this season
- Over half of the Championship playoff finals have been won to nil.
- Since 2006, only three of the ten finals have been won by more than one goal (Last season when Norwich topped Boro 2-0, 2011-12 when Swansea beat Reading 4-2 and 05-06 when Watford hammered Leeds 3-0)
Despite those stats and the tight defenses of both teams, we think over 2.5 goals should be taken at odds of. In terms of goals, back the first goal to come between the 56th and 65th minute at odds of. Both teams on average score their first goal in the 57th minute.
As to who’s going up? We’re looking at Sheffield Wednesday after extra time at odds of. The duck of drab and uninspiring playoff finals should be broken, but there’s one thing to note. 6th placed teams have won almost a quarter of the playoff finals so far, with fourth place going up just four times.
The winner gets 170 million pounds and everyone expecting them to go straight back down. The loser keeps the gate receipts from Wembley and starts next season with an automatic six points from beating Villa. So it’s not so bad.