The Championship Play-Off Race


English Football League


The Championship playoffs begin this weekend, with four teams chasing the dream that is the Premier League. Fulham, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Derby are the four teams involved, and out of those only Derby doesn’t have significant Premier League experience as a club. 

Fulham head into the playoffs as favourites for promotion after a great campaign that nearly saw them bag automatic promotion. However, a loss on the final day of the season stopped them from having a chance, and they were beaten to the final automatic spot by Cardiff. They are 13/8 favourites to grab the final promotion spot with Ladbrokes, a price that will appeal to many based on how good they have looked during the season. However, we have seen in the past that those finishing third and missing out on automatic promotion have often struggled in the playoffs, and Fulham are going to be interesting this season, they have the quality, but do they have the mental strength to bounce back and win?

Their semi-final is against Derby, with the first leg taking place at Pride Park on Friday night before the return leg in London on Monday. Home advantage is likely to play a big part here, and Fulham can keep things tight before finishing Derby off at Craven Cottage on Monday night to book their place at Wembley. Derby have not been anywhere near their best in recent weeks, and this looks like being a step too far for them.

Pride Park Derby Football Club


The second semi-final looks to be very even with Aston Villa taking on Middlesbrough. The first leg is played up in Middlesbrough on Saturday evening, while the return leg will be at Villa Park on Tuesday night. There is little to choose between these two, but Aston Villa have a squad full of big game experience and players like John Terry are going to be a huge help to them in the next few games. He and many others have played in some of the biggest games in the world, experience that will see them through.

Should Villa get through the tough test of Middlesbrough then they look to have a great chance of making it back to the Premier League. They are a best price 3/1 with Black Type to get back into the Premier League, and their big game experience can take them there. There is no doubting that Fulham have the quality in their team to challenge, and seeing them at Wembley would be no surprise. However, they have had their chance and missed out on automatic promotion, something that is very difficult to bounce back from. The experience that Aston Villa have can come out on top here, and take them back up to the Premier League, a place where they have created many good memories for their fans.

The Riverside Stadium Middlesbrough


As ever, expect to see five very tight games in the playoffs this season, but I am backing Aston Villa to come out on top, and they are priced up at 3/1 with Black Type to do so.

Top 10 Betting Offers

888sport
888sport
Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Bets Claim Offer

Use code 10FREE - Min stake £10 - First bet min odds 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement - Free bet stakes not inc in returns - New Customers only deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply & Full T&C’s apply

RhinoBet
RhinoBet
Bet £20 Get £20 + 3 x 20% Boosts Claim Offer

New customers sign up with code "nbo22". Deposit £20 or more and place a £20 bet at min odds 2.0. Get a £20 free bet and 3 x 20% bet boosts. Free bets expire after 7 days. Full terms apply. 18+ be gambleaware.

Betfred
Betfred
Bet £10 and get £60 in Bonuses Claim Offer

Place first bet of £10+ at min odds evs (2.0). £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. T&Cs apply.

Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes
Bet £5 Get £20 Claim Offer

18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.

Bet365
Bet365
Bet £10 Get £50 in Free Bets Claim Offer

New customers only. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets paid as Bet Credits and available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet & payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

Coral
Coral
Bet £5 Get £20 Claim Offer

18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Min first 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. T&Cs apply.

Virgin Bet
Virgin Bet
Bet £10 Get £20 Claim Offer

£10 min deposit. First bet mins odds 1.5 placed within 14 days of sign-up. 2 x £10 Free Bet Tokens: valid for 7 days, stakes not returned. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+ T&Cs apply.

William Hill
William Hill
Bet £10 Get £40 Claim Offer

Regsiter with code Q40. Place a bet of £10+ at odds 1/2 (1.5) or greater, get 4 x £10 Free Bets after settlement of qualifying bet. Expires after 30 days. T&Cs apply. 18+ Play Safe.

BoyleSports
BoyleSports
Bet £10 Get £20 Claim Offer

New UK customers. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. 1 x £20 Free bet applied on settlement of qualifying bet. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. 18+. T&Cs apply

Kwiff
Kwiff
Bet £10 Get £20 Claim Offer

Qualifying real money bet of £10. Min odds greater than or equal to 1.5 required. E/W bets excluded. Offer credited within 48 hours. Additional T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly. 18+ begambleaware.