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Football Betting: Championship play-off final tips

Fulham have the firepower and defensive nous to win promotion to the Premier League against Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday.

23 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Football Betting: Championship play-off final tips

“We’ve beaten them, they’ve beaten us, so it’s all to play for”.

That was Jack Grealish’s assessment of Saturday’s Championship play-off final immediately after Villa secured their place at Wembley to face Fulham.

But if he and his teammates really believe this game to be a simple 50/50 toss up, then they’re kidding themselves.

Since Fulham’s defeat at Villa Park last October, they have powered their way into the Championship promotion picture by picking up nine more points and scoring nine more goals than Saturday’s opponents. In 2018, they are 10 goals and 13 points clear.

In all, the Cottagers have won 19 of their last 26 league games, including victories over every other member of the division’s top six.

And, after failing to score for the first time during that run in their first leg semi-final defeat at Derby, doubts as to whether they could hold their nerve were emphatically answered last week as they dismantled the Rams at Craven Cottage to reach this final.

So Slavisa Jokanovic’s side are the obvious bet to win promotion – whether in 90 minutes or beyond – at .

Perhaps the most significant factor behind Fulham’s revival was the signing of Aleksandar Mitrovic late on transfer deadline day in January – a deal that Jokanovic is said to have struck on Snapchat.

The Serb has provided a focal point and clinical edge to a side that never lacked for possession and creativity, scoring 14 goals in 17 starts.

Talismanic players have decided several recent Championship play-off finals – think Scott Sinclair for Swansea in 2011, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha in 2013, Cameron Jerome for Norwich in 2015, and Hull’s Mo Diame in 2016 – and Mitrovic is a good bet to fulfil a similar role by scoring at .

In all likelihood, then, Villa need either a dose of luck or an exceptional performance to get over the line.

The latter would surely rely on Grealish.

The England Under-21 international has recovered from a life-threatening kidney injury to star in the second half of this season, playing the eighth-most key passes per game of any player in the division from his new central midfield role.

That all-action responsibility has come at a cost, though. He has been booked five times since the beginning of February, including in the second leg of the play-off semi-final last week, and is a good bet for another.

Another fiery Villa attacker, Robert Snodgrass, was cautioned in both legs against Middlesbrough, so is also good value in the same market.

Each of the last five Championship play-off finals have produced under 2.5 goals – available at in this match – so it would be unrealistic to expect this game to produce too many thrills and spills.

That bodes particularly badly for Bruce’s side, who have only scored more than once in two of their last 11 games, failing to find the net at all in two of their last three.

Given that Fulham have conceded just six goals in their last 10 matches, there is definitely value in backing them to win to nil at .

Recommended bets:

Fulham to win to nil –

Aleksandar Mitrovic to score anytime –

Jack Grealish to be carded –

Robert Snodgrass to be carded –