Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
The anticipation is building ahead of Sunday’s Championship play-off final as Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest battle it out at Wembley for a place in the Premier League.
The Terriers are aiming to make it two wins out of two in this event, having overcome Reading on penalties back in 2017, while Forest are aiming to earn promotion from the Championship via this method for the first time.
After delving into the last 17 Championship play-off finals, I have dug out some interesting trends to come up with the perfect bet to end England’s second-tier campaign on a high.
Championship Play-Off Final Trends Bet Builder
To lift the trophy – History favours third position
Just two points and one place separated Huddersfield and Forest in the regular season standings, but the fact the Terriers took third position from the Tricky Trees could prove massive based on the evidence.
Of the 17 Championship play-off finals there have been, the team that finished third went on to clinch promotion eight times – the most recent of those coming last year when Brentford beat Swansea City 2-0 – while the team that ended up fourth went on to win the final three times.
The fifth-placed sides have managed to get promoted four times – the second-highest behind finishing third – while a route to the Premier League has been achieved just twice by the teams that ended up in sixth (West Ham in 2005 and Blackpool in 2010).
Huddersfield also have fond memories of the play-off final, having beaten Reading on penalties in 2017, and there are no prior scars for the Terriers to worry about as that was their one and only appearance in the Championship’s end-of-season spectacle.
As for Forest, after semi-final defeats in 2010 and 2011, they will be participating in the play-off final for the first time and that leaves a slight question mark over their ability to handle themselves in this pressure situation.
What to bet – Huddersfield to lift the trophy
Goals – Cagey affair in the capital
These encounters can often prove to be tight, nerve-jangling affairs and that has resulted in, on many occasions, low-scoring affairs between the teams battling to reach the Promised Land.
Of the last 17 finals, 11 have been wins to nil, while the 2013 final was decided in extra-time and the 2017 spectacle required penalties to determine a victor.
Only six times has there been over 2.5 goals during those 17 finals, while over 3.5 goals has landed just twice – Blackpool 3-2 win over Cardiff in 2010 and Swansea City’s 4-2 success against Reading in 2011.
In total, there have been 35 goals scored, which averages out at just over two strikes per final, while 19 of those came in the first-half, 12 occurred in the second-half and four came during extra-time.
What to bet – Under 2.5 goals
Goalscorers – Rhodes to bag crucial goal
Of the last 35 goals scored in the play-off final, it’s maybe no surprise to see 15 of those have come from a striker/forward and Huddersfield frontman Jordan Rhodes looks like a worthy candidate to get on the scoresheet on Sunday.
The Scotland international has plenty of play-off experience during his journeyman career, having been part of Huddersfield’s League One promotion in 2012 where he scored in each leg of the semi-final tie before converting his penalty in the final shootout victory.
The 32-year-old has a habit of turning up with crucial goals and although he has been a little light in that department this season, he could be ready to fire his side back to the Premier League.
What to bet – Rhodes to score anytime
Cards – Moss kept busy before retirement
Jon Moss has been confirmed as the official for Sunday’s final – his last match before retiring as a referee – and there could be plenty of cautions handed out at Wembley.
Only once in the last 17 finals has there not been a single card shown – this coming back in 2010 – and this fixture has generally turned out to be quite a feisty affair.
A total of 71 yellows has been shown across this period, that’s an average of just over four per game, while two of the four red cards have come in the last four years.
Over 3.5 cards has landed in 11 of the past 17 finals and to peak the interest even more, Huddersfield’s 2017 play-off match had six yellow dished out.
What to bet – Over 3.5 cards
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