Published: 12:23 30/04/2012
West Ham have been installed favourite to emerge from the end of season Championships playoffs with the richest prize in football, a place in next season’s Premier League.
Boylesports is offering the top odds of 9/5 for West Ham to bounce back to the Premier League by winning promotion through the playoffs. Boylesports is an independent Irish bookie with a top online betting site, read about Boylesports here.
The Hammers began the season as favourites to win the Championship title and Sam Allerdyce appeared to have his team on track for an automatic slot until a run of five successive draws in March put promotion plans in jeopardy.
Having lost out on the runners up place to Southampton on the final day of the regular season, third placed West Ham will play Cardiff over two legs in the play off semi final. The Bluebirds finished 11 points behind the London club in sixth position, securing their playoff place with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on the final day. Cardiff have qualified for the last two playoffs, beaten at the semi final stage in 2011 after missing out in the Wembley playoff final the previous year and are 17/4 to make it third time lucky with bwin.
Blackpool and Birmingham will contest the other semi final, meaning all three of last season’s relegated sides will be competing in the playoffs for an immediate return to the Premier League. Chris Hughton’s Birmingham side has had a long season playing 60 games which has included impressive Europa League and FA Cup campaigns. The Brummies have shown great resolve throughout a tough season and come into the playoffs on the back of a nine game unbeaten run, including the 2-0 defeat of Championship winners Reading on the last day. Birmingham are generally available at 11/4 to win promotion to the Premier League.
Ian Holloway led Blackpool to the Premier League via the playoff route after finishing sixth in 2010. The Tangerines have gone steadily about their business this season to finish fifth this time around and are widely available at 3/1 to return to the top flight.
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