Play-off Preview: Championship, League 1 and League 2


So – the end of season playoffs are here! After over 40 hard fought games, the 4 teams in each league that finished below the auto-promotion spots battle it out over 2 legs to reach the final, then the winner takes the glory and will battle it out in the league above! This season throws up some interesting battles, and some teams that have blown auto-promotion chances very late on (Preston, for one). We aim to pick out a value tip @ Evens (or close enough) for the first legs that commence Thursday night in League 1:

1. Chesterfield vs Preston (League 1, 1945 KO, Thursday)

This fixture threw up a 3-3 draw during the season, and a 2-0 win for Preston later on in 2015. Preston go into this as favourites to qualify @ 1/2, and 29/20 for the first leg. They blew their auto-promotion chances on the final day, dropping points while MK Dons racked up the goals and secured promotion to the Championship. Chesterfield are in great form at home, with 4 wins and a 2 losses in their last 6 home games (Bristol City/Coventry the two losses). However, most of these 4 wins were against struggling sides. Preston have been a little indifferent recently, conceding a lot of goals, and only the odd win or two in their last 5 overall and away – however in 4/5 overall and 3/5 away – over 3.5 goals has flown in. Against better teams, Chesterfield are weak defensively. They may have won 4 games to nil against the poor sides, but Preston will be different. For this reason – my Tip for this game is Over 2.5 Goals @ 21/20

2. Sheffield Utd vs Swindon (League 1, 1945 KO, Thursday)

The team playing at home has won the last 5 games between these two. This season Swindon won 5-2 at home, while Sheff Utd won 2-0. There have been a lot of BTTS games for both recently, and quite a few over 2.5 goals. 4 of Swindon’s last 5 away games have gone over 2.5, while 3 of Sheff Utd’s home games have gone over, with 4 being BTTS. That market is only 4/5, but we are looking for something around the Evens marker – and yet again, the price for Over 2.5 Goals is 21/20 – which is my tip for this game.

3. Brentford vs Middlesbrough (Championship, 1945 KO, Friday)

Boro had the bragging rights this season over newly promoted Brentford – wins of 4-0 and 1-0. Brentford however have worked wonders with limited funds to reach the playoffs, and ended the season with several 2-2 draws, conceding a lot of goals, but equally scoring a lot too. Boro ended with a 4-3 loss to Fulham, preceeded by 4 games in which both teams did not score. Both did not score in both games this season, and I think this will be a very close game, possibly a 0-0 – even with Boro’s attacking stars like Bamford, Kike and Vossen. My tip for this game is Both Team Not to Score @ Evs

4. Ipswich vs Norwich (Championship, 1215 KO, Saturday)

Ipswich ended the season with a run of 3 Wins + BTTS – and 4 wins in 5 at home. Norwich dropped 5 points in the last three games to fall away from the top 2, leaving them with a playoff game against a dangerous Ipswich side, who had BTTS in their last 7 games of the season. Defending clearly not a strong point. Norwich won both meetings this season 1-0 and 2-0, but this is where it really matters. This will be a cracker, and I really think there will be 3/4 goals in it – so for that reason my tip for this game is BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals @ 5/4 (if you have Bet365 or William Hill as your account – if you don’t then a simple Over 2.5 Goals @ 23/20 is equally as good a price).

5. Plymouth vs Wycombe (League 2, 1945 KO, Saturday)

The winner of this game has been the away side in the last 5 meetings – both won a game this season, and 4 of the last 5 games have stayed under 2.5 goals. In each of their last 3 home/away games (Plymouth H, Wycombe A) both have had 3 games under 2.5 goals. That market is only 8/15, which reflects those stats. Plymouth drew 3 of their last 5 home games, while Wycombe won 3 and drew 1 of their last 5 away games – so for that reason I’m going with Wycombe Draw No Bet @ 13/10

6. Stevenage vs Southend (League 2, 1835, Sunday)

This marks the last of the first legs in the 3 leagues. This fixture ended 5-2 to Stevenage, and 2-0 to Southend (both home wins). In their last 5 home games, Stevenage won two 1-0, while in their last 5 away, Southend won 3 1-0. All against weak opposition though, and with both being very up for this, I fancy goals! The same fixture at Stevenage this season brought 7 goals in a 5-2 win, so with that in mind, and both having a couple of BTTS games in their last 5 league games, I fancy BTTS @ Evs

The 2nd legs’ kick off before Stevenage face Southend, with Preston facing Chesterfield at Deepdale earlier on the Sunday afternoon. I will possibly post on the Saturday evening/Sunday morning on the 2nd legs.

Best of luck!