The football season has ended for most teams from the Championship, League 1 and League 2, but for twelve teams there will be three victorious as they seek to grab the final promotion place available from their division.
The divisional playoffs have been around for quarter of a century, well this is the 27th year to be exact, and although I’m not a great fan of them as I’m old school and believe a season worth of games is the fairest way to decide who are the best teams, there’s no denying that they do offer up excitement, especially to those involved.
The second legs and final are decided without replays. If the scores are level, the games move into extra time and then penalties if still tied at the end of 120 minutes.
The Championship play-off final benefits both teams financially. The winner will receive over 90 million via TV revenue that’s paid out to the Premier League teams whilst the losing finalist receives the ‘net’ gate receipts.
The team finishing third in the division has won promotion on nine occasions. The fourth placed team has won promotion on five occasions, while the fifth and sixth placed finisher have both been successful six times.
The playoffs start with a two legged tie and in the Championship they have followed a similar pattern.
The first leg is usually a tight close game as neither team want to be out of the playoffs after the first game. The second leg tie’s are polar opposite, very open as it comes down to win and move on, lose and hit the golf course!
The first leg games have seen goals hard to come. Since 2008, the first leg game results have been; 1-2, 0-2, 1-1, 1-0, 0-1, 2-1, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0, 0-0, 0-2, 1-0, 1-2, 0-0
Backing ‘under’ 2.5 goals in the first leg has been profitable eleven out of fourteen games, and ‘under’ 1.5 goals has been successful eight times over those same 14 games.
The 2nd leg as I said, is a much more open game. Again, since 2008 the scores have been (after 90 mins) 1-0, 4-1, 0-2, 1-0, 3-4, 2-3, 3-1, 0-3, 3-0, 2-2, 3-1; 0-2, 1-1, 4-1
Betting ‘over’ 2.5 goals has won 9 out of 14 times including a more recent 8 from the last 10 games have produced three or more goals.
The League 1 play-off first leg games follow a similar pattern, being tight and low scoring. Betting ‘under’ 2.5 goals been successful eight times in the last five years.
The 2nd leg games have been more open and produced more goals than the first leg games, betting ‘over’ 2.5 goals would have only landed six winning bets since 2009.
The League 2 play-offs are not quite so reliable. Two stats jump out from this division, the first being that the fourth placed finisher in the league and supposedly the best of the four playoff teams have struggled. Since 2008, Fleetwood Town (last season) have been the only fourth placed finisher in the League to make the final (and lost) and you have to go way back to 2005, the year Swindon Town won to find the last fourth placed league finisher to win the playoff final.
No surprises again to find that the first leg is a tight affair and ‘under’ 2.5 goals has been the result in ten of the twelve games. No guessing how the 2nd leg games are played out, but probably not as pronounced as the other two divisions as six games (from 12) finished with three or more goals scored. The second stat that sums this division up is that the home team has failed to win in 90 minutes in the 2nd leg encounters.
Championship recommended bets:
Back ‘under’ 2.5 goals in the first leg.Back ‘over’ 2.5 goals in the 2nd leg games.
League 1 recommended bets:
Back ‘under’ 2.5 goals in the first leg games.
League 2 Recommended bets:
Back ‘under’ 2.5 goals in the first leg games.Lay the home team in the 2nd legs.
Brentford v. Middlesbrough, 1st leg Friday May 8th
Ipswich v. Norwich, 1st leg Saturday May 9th
Middlesbrough v. Brentford, 2nd Leg Friday May 15th
Norwich v. Ipswich, 2nd Leg Saturday May 16th
Chesterfield v. Preston, 1st leg Thursday May 7th
Sheffield United v. Swindon, 1st leg Thursday May 7th
Preston v. Chesterfield, 2nd Leg Sunday May 10th
Swindon v. Sheffield United, 2nd Leg Monday May 11th
Plymouth v. Wycombe, 1st leg Saturday May 9th
Stevenage v. Southend, 1st leg Sunday May 10th
Southend v. Stevenage, 2nd Leg Thursday May 14th
Wycombe v. Plymouth, 2nd Leg Thursday May 14th