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Championship play-offs: Boro brilliant value to beat Brentford again

Coral have thrown punters a tasty bone by lengthening Middlesbrough’s odds of gaining Premier League promotion via the Championship play-offs from 2/1 to 12/5.

Aitor Karanka’s Teesside team battle Brentford in their semi-final, and did a regular season double over the Bees, winning both to nil. This is why Boro are 19/10 for victory at Griffin Park, and odds-on at 4/6 to reach the Wembley final.

In spite of the uncertainty surrounding the succession to departing coach Mark Warburton (pictured below), which punters may see as to Middlesbrough’s advantage, Brentford sneaked into the top six, essentially at Derby County’s expense, with just one loss in nine.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Brentford v Blackpool - Griffin Park

The Bees are not fancied to go up at 7/2, though have inquired if the Premier League would allow them to play at their home ground, complete with a pub on every corner, should they reach the top-flight. Chief executive Mark Devlin is covering every eventuality, though.

“I’m still convinced we can convince the Premier League,” he told local radio. “We have got an agreement in principle with another club if we need to groundshare, [but] we are focused on bringing Griffin Park up to scratch.”

Before that because an issue, Brentford must find a way to get past the best Championship defence in this semi, so that explains why they are no shorter than 7/5 favourites to win the first leg, and conversely 6/5 outsiders to qualify from the tie.

Punters who fancy the Bees to belie Boro’s belligerent back four should note three 2-2 draws in five in west London, and take a punt on this again as a 16/1 shot. Odds for a draw, regardless of the precise result at Brentford, are 23/10.

Warburton has a fantastic attacking ensemble at his disposal to breach miserly Middlesbrough, stinging like Bees so often do, but there is no getting away from the fact his charges have failed to score in two regular season meetings.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Norwich City v Brentford - Carrow Road

That can only change in the lethal lottery that is the play-offs, however, though leading Brentford marksman Andre Gray comes into this game with four in 13, making him a little short at 6/4 in the anytime market, but worth considering at 11/2 to strike first.

Better Bees bets to score for punters to ponder are Spurs loanee Alex Pritchard (7/4) after three in his last four, and Spanish winger Jota (a tasty 10/3) following four in nine.

In Boro ranks is a certain Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, who is the Championship Player of the Year. He’s got six in his last nine, making anytime odds of 7/4 hugely tasty, especially as he already scored against the opposition before.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Middlesbrough v Norwich City - Riverside

Bamford is also worth backing to net last at 6/1, having done so on four occasions in those matches. Middlesbrough captain and penalty-taker Grant Leadbitter, meanwhile, scored in both regular season meetings, so is superb at 7/2 in the anytime market.

Adam Forshaw faces his former club here, and the Middlesbrough man is an 11/2 chance, alongside Ghana winger Albert Adomah, to come back and haunt Brentford.

The Bees’ inability to breach the Boro defence on previous occasions lingers in the mind, so a 1-0 away win in the capital could be a worthy investment at 15/2.