Football Betting

The Play-Off Puzzle – Who Will Grab That Final Premier League Spot?

Four has to go into one, as the battle for the final place in next season’s Premier League begins in earnest this weekend.

Almost a year since the Championship kicked off back in August, Brentford, Swansea, Fulham and Cardiff will fight it out for the golden ticket in the play-offs – and we’ve trawled the bookies to find the best odds and betting tips for these massive matches.

Championship Betting Offers & Free Bets

The Championship has consistently proved to be one of the most exciting leagues in world football, and this season’s climax expected to underline this narrative.

But who will join Leeds United and West Brom in the promised land next season, with glamour trips to Old Trafford, Anfield and Turf Moor* awaiting?

It’s Swansea v Brentford in the opening semi-final first leg on Sunday followed by Fulham v Cardiff on Monday. The second legs will be played on Wednesday and Thursday with the all-important final on Tuesday, August 4 at 7.45pm.

So, buckle up and get your teeth around this year’s four contenders….

Brentford (finished 3rd) – 6/4 at Bet365 to win promotion

The Bees are buzzing. After ninth, tenth and eleventh placed finishes in the last four seasons, this tiny London side are on the verge of the biggest and best house moving party ever.

Brentford move into their new 17,250 capacity stadium at the start of next season and will be hoping it’s the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal visiting rather than Wycombe and Rotherham United.

Led by Danish manager Thomas Frank, the Brentford’s home form has carried them throughout this season. The Bees have scored the most on home soil, won the most and conceded just 18 goals in front of their home faithful.

With 25 Championship goals, Ollie Watkins has been Brentford’s standout performer across the season. The 24-year-old has only gone more than two games without a goal once this campaign, with a hat trick away to Barnsley the personal highlight of his season.

Brentford have also been the top scorers in the Championship this season, averaging 1.7 goals per game.

Fulham (finished 4th) – 23/10 at Betfair to win promotion

Fulham are arguably the form side coming into this season’s Play-Offs. The West Londoners have gone unbeaten in their last seven league games, collecting 17 points from a possible 21 to finish a respectable fourth.

In Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham have one of the best strikers in the division. The bullish, defender-bullying Serbian is unrelenting in his pursuit for goals and has fired in 26 already this season, edging Ollie Watkins of Brentford for the most in the Championship.

Importantly, Mitrovic has scored Fulham’s first goal in 13 matches this season. The 25-year-old is continuing to blossom as a striker and strikes fear in the heart of every opposition he comes up against. He’s also been handed the captains armband on occasion this season, underlining his importance inside Craven Cottage.

Behind Leeds, Fulham have kept the second most clean sheets all season and will fancy their chances over two legs against Cardiff City with such stubbornness in defence.

The Cottagers also have the second best xG (expected goals) in the Championship and will be confident of carving out opportunities over 180 minutes – minimum – of football.

Cardiff (finished 5th) – 4/1 at Paddy Power to win promotion

The Bluebirds are flying high, hopeful of a return to the Premier League following just one year back in the Championship.

The Welsh side have bounced back following a tricky spell over Christmas, where Neil Harris’ side only registered one victory in eight games, as well as a 6-1 away defeat to Queens Park Rangers.

Since that dip in form, Cardiff sprang into life after Project Restart, grabbing a Play-Off spot at the expense of Nottingham Forest and other faltering sides such as Preston, Millwall and Derby.

With just three losses on home turf, Cardiff have made the Cardiff City stadium somewhat of a fortress this campaign.

Swansea (finished 6th) – 9/2 at BetVictor to win promotion

Out of nowhere, the Swans have made it into the Play-Offs.

A 4-1 away win at Reading on the final evening of the season was supplemented by a 4-1 Stoke City win away to Nottingham Forest, meaning the Welsh side leapfrogged the Reds into the sixth and final Play-Off spot.

Taking 17 points since the restart, Swansea are worthy of their Play-Off position considering Forest’s collapse. Steve Cooper has galvanized an unpredictable side into the top six who are in with a shot of promotion in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Swansea have struggled against some of the best teams in the league this season but have gained their points against the Championship strugglers. A 3-1 and a 3-0 loss to Brentford this season doesn’t bode well for their Play-Off chances, but you’d be foolish to write the Welsh side off just yet!