By News Team
13th May 2021
The final that every club outside of the Premier League wants to be in, it’s worth a fortune to the winning club and to the losing club it spells another long year of chasing the dream. Before either of these teams can think about that game, they have the first of two-legs to get through first.
Ahead of the first legs of Championship play off semi-finals, we’ve taken a look at the latest odds and best bets.
Brentford hold the cards
Brentford come into Monday’s game unbeaten in their last 12 and having finished a clear third in the Championship, are the team to beat in this first leg, albeit away from home. Bournemouth take hosting duties for the fixture and their recent form leaves less to be desired than their Monday night rivals. The south-coast side come into the game on the back of a 2-0 loss to Stoke and having recorded three losses in a row, they are only the fifth team since the introduction of the play-offs to achieve this stage after such a run. It is important to note that of the previous four sides to hold the same accolade, none of them went on to secure promotion, so Jonathan Woodgate’s side will need to put in a markedly improved performance if they are to have an impact on the favourites.
Brentford will be hoping that experience can count for a lot in this battle as they head into their 10th attempt at the play offs and their second in as many seasons in the Championship. However, Brentford have not been successful in any of their previous nine attempts and will be hoping its tenth time lucky for the Bees.
Brentford are 8/5 to take the first leg away from home, which can often prove pivotal to the overall play-off result, while Bournemouth enter the fixture at the same price that Brentford are to win promotion, 7/4. The draw, priced at 11/5 is certainly worthy of mention in a game that could see both sides playing a reserved style of football with the second leg firmly on the mind. Work out your potential winnings with our easy-to-use online betting calculator.
Three in a row for Barnsley?
Barnsley come into this fixture against Swansea on the back of two successful play-off campaigns in the Football League, having won promotion to the Championship in 2005-06 and 2015-16 and they will be hopeful of adding to that list with a Championship play-off success.
Since Valérian Ismaël took charge of the side in October last year, only Norwich have won more Championship matches since. To offer some perspective, their 23 wins are two more than Barnsley managed in their previous two seasons in the Championship combined! The Frenchman has led the Tykes to their highest league finish since 1999-00 and fans will be hopeful the good times aren’t over just yet.
Swansea have good reason to consider Barnsley the perfect play-off opponent as their head-to-head record speaks for itself, the Swans are unbeaten against Barnsley in their last 16 matches in all competitions. Having secured a victory in nine of those 16 games they clearly know their way around their semi-final opposition. Swansea come into the fixture with a mixed bag of form for the season. In their first 35 league games they only went on to lose six matches, however, from their last 11 fixtures they have gone on to lose six times and failed to score in every defeat.
It would seem, for that reason then, that Barnsley are worthy favourites and head into the fixture as the 6/5 firm favourites, while Swansea must settle for underdog status with a price of 5/2. Again, the draw is worth a mention, particularly as seven of the last 16 meetings between the two have resulted in one, and the price of 21/10 can be marked as appealing.