FOOTBALL BETTING: Live On Sky Sports 1: Sat 12:45
The Championship Playoffs get underway on Saturday as the quest for football’s biggest prize begins. Its also the final day in League 1 & 2
After a gruelling season comprising 46 games, just three more separate one team from a place in the Premiership while for the trio of other sides contesting the play-offs there will be heartbreak and resignation as all of their hard work since August proves to be in vain. It’s a tense time then for the participating quartet, some of whom will wilt under the pressure and the unpredictable nature of the end-of-season shakedown means that bookies put little between the teams.
Nottingham Forest edge favouritism in terms of promotion, ahead of Cardiff; the pair priced at 23/10 and 5/2 with Totesport and 888Sport respectively and they’re followed by Leicester at 3/1 (Stan James). Blackpool are Ladbrokes’ 4/1 outsiders but can edge closer to a trip to Wembley by beating Forest at Bloomfield Road in the first leg of their semi-final.
Strong at home and up against a side with an indifferent away record; the Seasiders are 7/5 at Betdaq to shade what looks set to be a tight affair containing fewer than 2.5 goals (8/11, Partybets) and Ian Holloway’s troops also appeal at 7/1 (Ladbrokes) to fire the only successful strike.
Reportedly the subject of interest from the Premiership meanwhile, Charlie Adam is a generous 15/2 with bet365 to break the deadlock and William Hill rate Blackpool at 6/5 to cause an upset to reach the final.
In the other contest, it’s hard to separate Leicester and Cardiff in terms of qualification, but having hit form at the right time, the Foxes are the side to back in the first leg; Nigel Pearson’s side 13/10 with Victor Chandler to take a lead over to South Wales and 7/1 (Ladbrokes) to nick it 1-0 at the Walkers Stadium.
Intriguingly, five teams are still in the hunt for automatic promotion in League One but as Leeds occupy second spot, they look likely to join Norwich in the Championship. A victory for the Whites against Bristol Rovers, priced by Betfred at 1/3, will be enough but never a team to do things the easy way, Simon Grayson’s troops may have to settle for a nervy victory by one (13/5, bet365).
Millwall and Swindon are just a point behind Leeds but face each other at the New Den where the faltering pair are 12/5 with Victor Chandler to share the spoils.
Charlton’s chances remain slim despite their victory against Grayson’s charges last time out but they’re 5/6 (Totesport) to beat Oldham and Huddersfield, who would need a sequence of results priced at more than 400/1 by Victor Chandler to go up, are 9/5 with Jaxx.com to defeat Exeter.
In the League Two play-off battle, Morecambe and Dagenham are in the driving seat and that duo can cling on to their top seven places with victories this weekend. The former are 10/11 (Betfred) to defeat at Aldershot and Stan James post 4/7 against a Daggers triumph at rock bottom Darlington.
Meanwhile in the battle for survival, Grimsby need a win to stand any chance of staying in League Two. The Mariners, at 13/10 with 888Sport, can keep up their side of the bargain at Burton and we reckon there could be jubilant scenes at the Pirelli Stadium as good news filters across from Underhill because, despite having nothing to play for, promoted Rochdale are a cracking bet at 21/10 with Totesport to see off demoralised, Conference-bound Barnet.
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