Football Tips: 3 best bets with an 8/1 play for Mansfield v Port Vale playoff final

Our tipster Colin Harvey can see this one going all the way.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

There’s only one show in town this Saturday if you’re a football fan. I am, of course, referring to Mansfield v Port Vale in the League 2 playoff final at Wembley.

These two finished 7th and and 5th respectively and were separated by three points after a combined 92 matches. Vale stumbled into the playoffs after blowing live automatic hopes while a late surge from The Stags booked their place in the post-season party.


In the semis Port Vale needed penalties to see off Swindon in a bad-tempered tie while Mansfield won both games against Northampton to enable their fans to walk up Wembley Way courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate triumph. These are two very solid League Two sides on their day but both are prone to the odd duff performance.

Who’s going to show up and who’s slinking of before the final whistle? Let’s try and work it out with three best bets for Saturday’s main event…

Nigel Clough

Saturday 4pm: Mansfield v Port Vale
League Two Playoff final
TV: Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football

Short-priced punt – Under 2.5 Goals

As much as I’d love to sit here and tell you this is going to be a thrill-a-minute barnburner, I just can’t see that happening. As we’ve seen with the League One playoff final last weekend, and the various cup finals in the English season, these do-or-die games at Wembley tend to be tight affairs.

In the last 11 League Two playoff finals, seven have seen Under 2.5 Goals with Exeter’s ritual capitulations in 2017, 2018 and 2020 bumping the goal average up considerably. In games not involving the Grecians since 2011, Unders has landed in seven of eight games.

These two are quite high scoring and both had Over 2.5 Goals in the first legs of their playoffs. However, when s**t got real in the second legs both sides saw only one goal and I think that mentality will be on show in the final.

Value Play: The Draw

Now, I was really tempted to side with Port Vale to win inside the 90 minutes here, given how much Mansfield have relied on their home form this season. I know this isn’t technically an away game but they took a distinctly-midtable 28 points from 23 league games on the road compared to an excellent 49 from the same number at Field Mill.

Darrell Clarke Port Vale

I won’t put you off Port Vale to Win but given how low scoring and tight this looks likely to be, I’ll side with the slightly better value of The Draw. This clicked in one of the two meetings between the pair this season with the other ending in a 3-1 home win for Vale.

Long Shot: Port Vale to Win on penalties

This has got a look of going all the way to penalties after a 0-0 or 1-1 in the 90 to me. When it comes down to a shootout, experience often proves key as England found out in the Euro 2020 final and as Liverpool continue to show every time there’s silverware up for grabs from 12 yards.

In a game of fine margins, Port Vale’s penalty shootout win over Swindon in the semis could prove vital here. If you fancy something a little longer then your best put might well be Port Vale to Win on Penalties.

League 2 playoff final tips

Short-priced punt: Under 2.5 Goals
Value Play: The Draw
Long Shot: Port Vale to Win on Penalties

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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