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Early look at the EFL Playoffs
Aaron Rogan
Aaron Rogan
May 9, 2021
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Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.

With the 2020/21 EFL season drawn to a close, focus turns to the playoffs as the final promotion spot in each division is decided.

As the final four teams prepare for their big finish, we’ve ran the rule over the 12 sides and provided you a summary of the games and favourites for each division. Take a look below for all you need on the EFL playoffs!

For more betting tips, don’t forget to bookmark our Football Accumulators page!


Playoff semi-final dates

Bournemouth vs Brentford (Monday, 17 May – 6pm)

Barnsley vs Swansea (Monday, 17 May – 8:15pm)

Brentford vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 22 May – 12:30pm)

Swansea vs Barnsley (Saturday, 22 May – 5:30pm)

Championship playoff final (Saturday, 29 May – 3pm)

Promotion betting

  • Brentford – 6/4
  • Bournemouth – 12/5
  • Barnsley – 7/2
  • Swansea – 9/2

*All odds from bet365.com and correct as of 3pm on Sunday, 9 May

Is there a form side?

Brentford have the best form in the Championship coming into this one, picking up more points across the last eight games than any other side. However, the four contenders were settled quite early this season and that has allowed teams to rotate.

One side who should be concerned are Swansea, who have picked up only 11 points from their last 10 matches, suffering five defeats. The Swans face a tough test against a Barnsley side who have one of the league’s best records in 2021.

Last five playoff finals

  • 2020 – Brentford (third) 1-2 Fulham (fourth)
  • 2019 – Aston Villa (fifth) 2-1 Derby (sixth)
  • 2018 – Aston Villa (fourth) 0-1 Fulham (third)
  • 2017 – Huddersfield (fifth) 0-0 (4-3 on pens) Reading (third)
  • 2016 – Hull (fourth) 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday (sixth)

League One

Playoff semi-final dates

Oxford United vs Blackpool (Tuesday, 18 May – 6pm)

Lincoln vs Sunderland (Wednesday, 19 May – 6pm)

Blackpool vs Oxford United (Friday, 21 May – 7:45pm)

Sunderland vs Lincoln (Saturday, 22 May – 3:00pm)

League One playoff final (Sunday, 30 May – 3pm)

Promotion betting

  • Sunderland – 13/8
  • Blackpool – 11/4
  • Oxford United – 11/4
  • Lincoln – 9/2

*All odds from bet365.com and correct as of 3pm on Sunday, 9 May

Is there a form side?

Oxford have put their foot down in recent weeks to surge into the top six, with their 4-0 victory on the final day lifting them into the playoff mix. They have won five of their last six, scoring 20 times and conceding only once.

Blackpool crossed the line having won four of their last six, but Sunderland limped to the finish. Their automatic promotion hopes fading hit them hard, with the Black Cats picking up six points from their last eight games, winning only once.

Last five playoff finals

  • 2020 – Oxford (fourth) 1-2 Wycombe (third)
  • 2019 – Charlton (third) 2-1 Sunderland (fifth)
  • 2018 – Rotherham (fourth) 2-1 Shrewsbury (third)
  • 2017 – Bradford (fifth) 0-1 Millwall (sixth)
  • 2016 – Barnsley (sixth) 3-1 Millwall (fourth)

League Two

Playoff semi-final dates

Newport vs Forest Green (Tuesday, 18 May – 8:15pm)

Tranmere vs Morecambe (Thursday, 20 May – 6pm)

Morecambe vs Tranmere (Sunday, 23 May – 12:30pm)

Forest Green vs Newport (Sunday, 23 May – 6:30pm)

League Two playoff final (Monday, 31 May – 3pm)

Promotion betting

  • Morecambe – 5/2
  • Newport County – 13/5
  • Tranmere – 11/4
  • Forest Green – 11/4

*All odds from bet365.com and correct as of 3pm on Sunday, 9 May

Is there a form side?

Morecambe made a real push for promotion through to the final day and that saw them win 15 of the last 18 points available. The hosts have to break with the blow of missing out on the top three on the final day, which has cost plenty of sides in the past.

Newport and Forest Green each took 11 points from their last six, while Tranmere really struggled with just two wins in their last 10 matches. With doubts surrounding all four sides, the playoffs look just as open as League Two has all season.

Last five playoff finals

  • 2020 – Exeter (fifth) 0-4 Northampton (seventh)
  • 2019 – Newport (seventh) 0-1 Tranmere (sixth)
  • 2018 – Coventry (sixth) 3-1 Exeter (fourth)
  • 2017 – Blackpool (seventh) 2-1 Exeter (fifth)
  • 2016 – AFC Wimbledon (seventh) 2-0 Plymouth (fifth)

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