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Football betting: Championship playoff preview

07 May | BY Will Maxwell | MIN READ TIME |
Football betting: Championship playoff preview

Leeds, Southampton, West Brom and Norwich will battle for a spot in the Premier League and Will Maxwell has analysed which side could be celebrating come the end of May.

Norwich City to be promoted @ 11/2

Alongside West Brom, Norwich are the underdogs to lift the play-off trophy at the end of the month at 11/2, but their end-of-season form indicates that they could be dark horses to claim a shock promotion.

Their semi-final opponents, Leeds, are favourites for promotion – along with Southampton – at 13/8, and are understandably so given the quality of many of their performances this season.

The Whites were unbeaten in the Championship for the majority of 2024, winning 14 and drawing just one of their 15 fixtures from New Year’s Day until the beginning of April, and finished on 90 points – a tally that would normally have won the title, let alone achieve automatic promotion.

However, a shambolic tail-end of the season which saw Daniel Farke’s men lose four of their final six games – including shutout defeats to two relegation candidates in Blackburn (1-0) and QPR (4-0) – saw Leeds pipped to second by Ipswich Town.

Leeds were also beaten by Southampton on the final day and that win for the Saints could bring Russell Martin’s side back to life when they need it most.

The Saints had lost each of their three games previous to their final-day victory, including a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Leicester which effectively ended their pursuit of automatic promotion.

However, they are missing key players through injury going into the first leg at West Brom and have won just one of their last five on the road. If they go into the second leg behind on the night, they may struggle to overturn that deficit.

The Baggies also go into the play-offs in similar form to the Saints, having lost three of their last four games of the regular season. 

Victory on the final day did secure a top-six finish for Albion, however this 3-0 win did come over a Preston side that had lost each of their previous four to nil and had little to play for.

Carlos Corberan’s men lost each of their two regular season meetings with Southampton and this poor head-to-head record could be on the minds of their squad going into the semi-final, hampering their chances of progressing.

Outsiders Norwich are arguably in the best form of the four promotion candidates, having lost just one of their last six games of the season.

That defeat came on the final day at the hands of Birmingham, although with the Blues playing for survival and the Canaries needing a Hull victory and an eight-goal swing to lose their top-six spot, it is maybe understandable that the visitors did not exert themselves too much.

Norwich last tasted defeat at Carrow Road against Blackburn back in November and this impressive unbeaten streak could see them claim a crucial advantage over Leeds.

If they can make use of their opponents poor end-of-season form, then the Canaries could have enough quality to reach the final, where they will have more than enough belief to get the job done.

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