Championship Playoffs outright predictions & betting tips

The Championship playoffs are enticing at the best of times, but this season’s matches have a lot to live up to after the drama on the final day. Swansea jumped into the top six in shocking style, while Brentford couldn’t muster a result to take themselves up automatically.

With Swansea carrying momentum and Brentford left with a heavy blow to deal with, the playing field looks quite even among these four sides. As a result, we’re digging into the history of the playoffs and analysing each side to settle on our Championship playoffs promotion pick.

See the latest coverage of the playoffs in our dedicated Championship Predictions page!

Playoff stats and trends

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While we all buy into the troubles of the third-placed side in the playoffs, the strongest side does ultimately have the best chance of going up. Over the last 15 seasons, the teams from fourth to sixth have a combined eight promotions through the playoffs, while seven third-place finishers have gone up.

Strength of a side has played a part in recent years, given that four of the last five finals have been won by the team who finished highest in the league that season. Since 2006, only once has the sixth-placed finisher won the playoffs. That’s usually down to the fact that the side in sixth tends to find the season considerably behind the teams above them.


Brentford

Record against fellow playoff sides: W5 D1 L0

Are they ready for the Premier League?

While Brentford are the only one of these four sides who haven’t made it to the Premier League, they’re arguably best prepared. Their squad has been pieced together through excellent scouting, bringing some incredible talents together. The Bees are ready for the top-flight now, but if they miss out vultures will be circling.

What’s their biggest strength?

Brentford’s front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins – or BMW – have scored 57 goals between them this season.

To find out how we expect Brentford to fare in the first leg see our Swansea vs Brentford predictions

Fulham

Record against playoff sides: W3 D1 L2

Are they ready for the Premier League?

Yes. Fulham have held onto most of last season’s top-flight squad. It’s a huge gamble given the financial burden put on the club, so failure in the playoffs will likely lead to sales.

What’s their biggest strength?

Aleksandar Mitrovic is a cut above in this division. He dropped down to the Championship in February 2018, played in the Premier League during 18/19 and yet he’s still the third-highest scorer at this level across the last two and a half years.

Cardiff

Record against playoff sides: W0 D3 L3

Are they ready for the Premier League?

Neil Warnock’s side lacked quality in their demotion from the top-flight and Cardiff haven’t done much about it. New boss Neil Harris hasn’t made a permanent signing as yet, so they’re showing little sign of fixing things.

What’s their biggest strength?

Cardiff are by far the most direct side in the playoffs. While the other three were all in the top five for number of short passes per game, Cardiff made fewer than any side in the Championship. Having got this far, it’s obviously effective.

Swansea City post-game

Swansea

Record against playoff sides: W1 D1 L4

Are they ready for the Premier League?

Swansea have been focusing on rebuilding for their two seasons in the second tier, but both have brought surprise playoff pushes. As a result, they topped up this squad with young talents on loan in January, which would be a problem for next season.

What’s their biggest strength?

Not only do the Swans have youth on their side after picking up some talented Premier League starlets, but their incredible turnaround on the final day must have sent their confidence through the roof.


Championship playoff predictions

The big question going into these matches surrounds Brentford. There’s little between Cardiff and Fulham, while either side would likely lose to the team in third if this final follows the recent trends. Before they can think about the final the Bees need to pick themselves up after consecutive losses.

While losing out on automatic promotion was a major blow, this has to be seen as another great opportunity for Brentford. They have little reason to fear the sides around them, given how comfortably they showed off the quality gap in the league table and against the sides currently in the playoffs.

Brentford have been consistently stronger than all the sides around them this term. Both Swansea and Cardiff don’t have the talent to match the Bees. Meanwhile, Fulham have too often looked like a collection of good individuals than a cohesive team under Scott Parker.

Brentford seem to have a greater understanding and they have been excellent across the course of the year. The Bees have stood out with a very improved defence and thanks to their status as top scorers in the division, so we are going with Brentford as our playoff winner prediction.

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