Championship Playoffs: Betting Preview


Championship Playoffs 2022

With the domestic football season beginning to draw to a close, two Championship sides have now booked their spot in next seasons Premier League – Marco Silva’s Fulham outfit riding a wave of goals to the Championship title, and Scott Parker’s Bournemouth side employing a more pragmatic approach to fill second spot.

There is of course one place still up for grabs, and this coming Friday sees the Play-Off battle commence. Huddersfield Town, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United are the sides with a shot at the big-time, but which of that quartet will make it? Here we take a look at each of the semi-finals and pick out our best bet to be playing Premier League football next season.

Semi Final 1: Luton Town vs Huddersfield Town

  • First Leg: Kenilworth Road – 7:45pm Friday 13th May
  • Second Leg: John Smiths Stadium – 7:45pm Monday 16th May

Full credit to Luton for making it to the playoffs with a game to spare. They did however only stagger over the line in the end as, following an excellent start to the season, injuries really began to take a toll over the closing stages. Having won only three of their final eight fixtures, scoring more than once in only one of those games, and conceding two or more three times – including a 7-0 battering at Fulham – this may be where their run comes to an end.

Carlos Corberán’s men also don’t have anything like the injury concerns of a depleted Luton outfit

Huddersfield in contrast arrive full of confidence and in flying form, with the Terriers winning six of their last seven, scoring twice in six of seven and conceding more than once only once. Carlos Corberán’s men also don’t have anything like the injury concerns of a depleted Luton outfit who seem likely to be without top scorer Elijah Adebayo and midfield maestro Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.

There was little to split the sides in the regular season meetings, with the game in Luton ending in a goalless draw and Huddersfield coming out on top 2-0 in the reverse. Overall, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see a similar set of results here, with a defensively solid Luton side keeping things tight in the first leg before coming unstuck at the John Smiths Stadium.

  • Tip - Huddersfield to Qualify @ 1/2 with Betfred

Semi Final 2: Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest

  • First Leg: Bramall Lane – 3:00pm Saturday 14th May
  • Second Leg: City Ground – 7:45pm Tuesday 17th May

Two sides who have experienced pretty similar seasons here, with both Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest enjoying spectacular turnarounds following a change in manager; Steve Cooper working miracles at Forest, with the club sitting rock bottom of the table when he took over in September; and Paul Heckingbottom inspiring a similar resurgence at the Blades.

No doubt, that of the two semi-finals this appears the tougher to predict. The head-to-head meetings from earlier in the season certainly doesn’t shed much light - both games ending in a 1-1 draw, with very little separating the sides on the stats in either encounter.

Forest were five points clear of Sheffield United in the standings, but the Blades ended the season in marginally better form, with three consecutive wins over Cardiff, QPR and Fulham. Not that Forest finished poorly, in losing narrowly at Bournemouth to end their automatic promotion hopes, and possibly suffering a bit of a hangover from that in a closing day 1-1 draw at Hull City.

Sheffield United enter the playoffs without a fit recognised striker

Where the “Tricky Trees” would appear to have the edge however is when it comes to the injury situation. In the absence of David McGoldrick, Oliver McBurnie, Billy Sharp and Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United enter the playoffs without a fit recognised striker. In a tight tie, that disadvantage may just tilt matters in favour of Steve Coopers side.

  • Tip - Nottingham Forest to Qualify @ 4/7 with Betfred

Playoff Winners/Best Bets

  • Final: Wembley Stadium – 4:30pm Sunday 29th May

A double on both Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest to qualify for the final pays just under 11/8 with Betfred. And that does look the most solid option, with Luton and Sheffield United having injuries conspire against them at just the wrong time.

In terms of the outright winner odds, Nottingham Forest are probably the rightful favourites, but slipping from third to fourth on the final day has landed them in much the tougher half of the draw. As such we fancy the value may lie with Huddersfield.

The Terriers have already posted a 1-0 success at the City Ground in the league this season and were the better side on the stats in a narrow FA Cup loss there in March – outshooting the hosts by 11 to 7 in a 2-1 defeat. Huddersfield also held the edge over Sheffield United in the regular season – picking up a point in a goalless draw at home and winning 2-1 at Bramall Lane. Should they progress past Luton, they would look to have a live chance whoever awaits on March 29th.

  • Tip - Huddersfield to win the Playoffs @ 3/1 with William Hill
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