Stats support Wednesday win
Frank Monkhouse | 14 May 2017
Best of the weekend play-off betting
The Championship play-off semi-final first legs go this weekend, and punters have a pulsating pair of matches ahead. Four sides, who have been battling to extend their season all year, arrive at the business end.
Keep a cool head and they could go to Wembley and play for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, choke and it’s another season spent kicking their heels in English football’s second-tier, where nothing is guaranteed.
Cottagers fancy another big win
Reading go to London and the challenge of Fulham knowing two things – they were a better side than their hosts over the course of the season, finishing three places higher in the rankings, and that it now counts for nothing.
The Cottagers have loved every minute of 2017 so far, pushing themselves up into the top-six, and have every chance of returning to the Premier League. They boast plenty of big game experience and wouldn’t be the first side finishing sixth to go up. Fulham were unbeaten in their last six, winning five, while Reading ended with four wins from five. We can’t read too much into that now, but what is worth jotting down is the fact the locals won 5-0 when last hosting Reading.
The Royals were impressive during the season, finishing third, and deservedly so, but they put in a couple of stinkers along the way, that 5-0 loss to Fulham back in December and the 7-1 mauling at the hands of Norwich amongst the worst of them. Take a chance on the home side to keep their cool and grab a first leg lead at 8/13. Punters with a bit more confidence can get on another Fulham win to nil at 2/1.
Owls on the hunt
Sheffield Wednesday, fourth-place finishers, travel to the John Smiths where Huddersfield, who ended fifth, await. In the end, there was only goal difference between these sides, and we’re expecting a dramatic start to your Sunday afternoon in west Yorkshire.
We have a meeting of an ambitious manager in David Wagner, who will be plying his trade in the Premier League in the near future – with or without his current employers – against a Wednesday side full of belief, eager to roll back the years. Followers of the stats will tell us that Sheffield Wednesday beat Huddersfield home and away this season, taking a 1-0 here back in October and a 2-0 at Hillsborough earlier this year.
The Owls have, in fact, won each of the last four vs Sunday’s opponents, and haven’t lost to them since 2013. That’ll be difficult to ignore. An away win makes plenty of appeal, with that in mind, at Coral’s 21/10, while a fourth to nil is for the thrill seekers at 4/1. If you prefer to be a bit more reserved in the opening round, six of the last seven involving these sides have ended with under 2.5 goals. This one to follow is 4/7.