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Final day drama: Winners of Boro and Brighton battle enjoy Premier League promotion

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 4, 2016

While Burnley sealed an immediate return to the Premier League with one game of the regular Championship season to spare, they haven’t confirmed the second tier title.

Winner-takes-all on Teesside

Closest challengers Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion battle to see who will join Sean Dyche’s side in the promised land next season in a rumble at the Riverside on Saturday, May 7th.

Potential play-off pain awaits the losers of this Championship clash that has so much riding on it, although a draw – priced at 21/10 by Coral – is enough to bring Boro back up to the top-flight automatically.

Burnley v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - Turf Moor

There’s no doubt Burnley are firmly in the driving seat for the Championship title as overwhelming odds-on 1/8 favourites. They would need to drop points at relegated Charlton Athletic to lose out on the trophy.

A Middlesbrough win over the Seagulls by three goals, with Dyche’s Clarets drawing in south London at best, would be enough to see Aitor Karanka scoop silverware. It’s certainly possible because 3-0 to the Teesside team (18/1 for a repeat scoreline) is how the reverse fixture ended, with Boro made 8/1 for the Championship crown.

With promotion theirs to lose, Middlesbrough are made strong odds-on 1/5 favourites to join Burnley directly in the 2016/17 Premier League. Brighton are 11/10 to achieve their long held aim of playing top-flight football.

The rest of the play-off picture is merely about jostling for position when it comes to who will have home advantage for all-important semi-final second legs.

Play-off picture almost complete

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Hull City v Fulham - KC Stadium

Hull City, 5/2 to be promoted, cannot finish higher than their current position of fourth, but could be overhauled by Derby County (13/5 to go up).

If Steve Bruce’s Tigers are caught being tame in a Yorkshire derby with Rotherham United and lose, while the Rams defeat Ipswich Town, then the Humberside outfit would slip to a fifth place finish.

Alternatively, if Hull are held by the Millers and Derby somehow smash Mick McCarthy’s men for six, then County could finish fourth on goals scores. That is pretty unlikely, though.

Sheffield Wednesday, 7/2 to return to the Premier League, cannot do better than sixth, so must be content with a play-off semi first leg at Hillsborough.

With all these permutations in mind, are there any other specific match bets from the principal contests involving Burnley and Middlebrough v Brighton that appeal?

Middlesbrough v Brighton and Hove Albion

  • Championship
  • Saturday, May 7th
  • Kick-off: 12:30 BST
  • Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Teesside
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Seagulls cannot be shot shy on Teesside

Brighton and Hove Albion v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - AMEX Stadium

Albion have scored just one goal in their last four games against Boro, and that will be cause for concern from Chris Hughton’s perspective. Punters can boost the 11/10 outright victory price on hosting Middlesbrough to 5/2 if you back them to win to nil again.

Brighton claims of keeping out Karanka’s Teesside team have been hampered by a ban incurred by rangy centre back Lewis Dunk after his sending off last time out. Only a win will do for the Seagulls in terms of automatic promotion, but they are 12/5 outsiders for an upset.

Yet, as noted above, this is not a game Boro need to win and that is what makes it so dangerous. Playing for a draw would be the height of folly, but a tempting 21/10 price on that being the outcome under immense pressure cannot be ruled out.

Adomah may be marksman to end automatic Albion hopes

Ghana winger Albert Adomah has certainly loved tormenting Brighton in those recent meetings with the south coast side, as he has three goals in his last four career appearances against them.

Middlesbrough v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium

Anytime odds of 11/4 for Adomah to dispatch again are certainly well worth a look if he keeps up his previous form when paired with the Seagulls.

Uruguay’s Copa America centenary call-up Cristhian Stuani was also on target in the reverse fixture, and is shorter at 7/4 in the same market. Leading Middlesbrough marksman across all competitions with 10, Stuani is available at better odds to score last of 6/1.

Boro striking alternative Jordan Rhodes has netted all four of his career goals in six home games against Brighton, and is a 7/2 chance to break the deadlock on Teesside.

Wilson looks best Brighton scorer bet

In terms of visiting threats, Manchester United-owned James Wilson grabbed an injury-time equaliser last time out and is a 2/1 anytime chance to strike again, or better at 7/1 to score last once more.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship - AMEX Stadium

Israel frontman Tomer Hemed is the Seagulls’ top sharpshooter, though, with 17 goals all coming in the league. He’s somewhat shorter at 5/4 to net anytime, with seven of his strikes coming on the road.

Charlton Athletic v Burnley

  • Championship
  • Saturday, May 7th
  • Kick-off: 12:30 BST
  • The Valley, south London
  • Live on Sky Sports 2

Clarets will take title with win

A reminder of the mathematics from above; if Burnley win at the Addicks, then they are Championship champions. Dyche is odds-on to get his hands on the trophy, and a final day victory at the Valley is priced at 4/9.

Protests from disgruntled Charlton fans following a dismal season are planned here, making the hosts massive 11/2 outsiders to upset the Clarets.

This one ending in a draw, which could make the end of this title race interesting, meanwhile, is a 3/1 chance. Burnley have won the last three head-to-heads to nil, however, and a repeat of that appeals at 8/5.

Vokes can cause chaos in Charlton defence

Burnley v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - Turf Moor

Only Fulham and rock-bottom Bolton Wanderers have conceded more than the Addicks, and the sight of Sam Vokes, the man who scored the goal that confirmed the Clarets’ Premier League promotion, does not bode well for them.

With four goals in his three career starts against Charlton and buoyed by his recent header, Vokes (10/11) is better value than strike partner Andre Gray (4/7) in the anytime market.

Iceland winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson may be at Euro 2016 regardless of Athletic’s poor form, and is their top scorer with half a dozen. He’s a 6/1 shot to spoil the Burnley party by being on target here.

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Coral’s top tip: Burnley are brilliant value at 8/5 to win to nil at Charlton and wrap up the Championship title.

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