QPR’s play-off quest could go all the way with Wigan
Punters can be certain of one thing ahead of the Championship play-off semi-final second leg between QPR and Wigan Athletic – there will be a winner.
Four of the last five meetings between them have been drawn, so that happening again in 90 minutes is a good bet at 9/4. The Hoops are odds-on to progress to the final at 8/13 and 6/5 to win without resorting to extra time.
Harry Redknapp is relying on home form to take him through this tie. QPR were far stronger at Loftus Road than on away days. They edged the Latics 1-0 during the regular season in March, with Yossi Benayoun scoring the winner before being sent off for a second booking.
Odds of 5/1 say the Hoops win with that exact result, while Israel midfielder Benayoun, who was rested completely for the first leg, the same price to score anytime again. Wigan, meanwhile, have had a marathon season after playing in the Europa League, and once again enjoying an extended FA Cup run.
This will be their 62nd game of the campaign and, although Uwe Rosler played down reports of fatigue, this fact explains their 13/5 price for a win in 90 minutes. Athletic are 5/4 to grace Wembley for the fifth time in 13 months, however, by reaching the play-off final.
Latics top scorer Nick Powell may once again be missing, and that hurts their chances. QPR’s line will be led by their leading marksman Charlie Austin, however, and he is even-money for a goal anytime, or a more attractive price of 4/1 to net the opener.
As play-off ties go, the first leg was as cagey as it gets. Neither side wanted to give anything away – a cautious approach also adopted by Brighton in the other semi. That resulted in them being well beaten by Derby County 6-2 on aggregate, so Steve McClaren’s Rams are worthy promotion favourites because of free-flowing, counter-attacking football at 4/5.
It is the superior resources available to Hoops boss Redknapp that makes them likely to join the East Midlands outfit, but they will have to show more attacking intent against a Wigan team that could continue to go with three at the back here.
Marc-Antoine Fortune offer little threat the DW Stadium for Rosler, so he must consider promoting Nicky Maynard back into the XI. The former Cardiff, West Ham and Crewe man is 7/4 to score anytime.
QPR and Wigan boasted similar defensive records during the regular season – a point only reinforced further by the blank they both drew in the first leg. A home win to nil here is tempting at 23/10, while Athletic are 12/5 chances to keep a clean sheet.