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Epic Championship title race heads down to the wire

Updated on 8:33am GMT 5 April 2024
Epic Championship title race heads down to the wire
Alex Wrigley
Alex Wrigley
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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.

All three Championship title contenders are in action on the same day for the last time before the final day of the season this Saturday and we are staring down the barrel of what could prove to be one of the best title battles in second-tier history.

You can find all this weekend’s Championship predictions here.

bet365 Championship betting odds

  • Leicester – 10/11
  • Leeds – 7/4
  • Ipswich – 7/2
  • Southampton – 100/1

16/1 ante-post shots Ipswich lead the way heading into their final six games, but Leeds and Leicester are just one and two points adrift respectively and Leicester, who have spent 31 of the 40 gameweeks at the summit, have a game in hand to boot.

The third-place side remain odds-on favourites to lift the trophy, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and fortune has not been kind to Enzo Maresca’s side recently.

They have picked up just seven points from their last seven games despite winning the expected goals (xG) battle in six of these, hinting at a regression to the mean after a stupendous opening stint in which they won 17 of their first 18 games.

Above expectations

All three title-chasing sides are outperforming their expected points (xPts) but the differences in the levels of overperformance could hint at the destination of the trophy.

Ipswich have been the luckiest of the trio, picking up 16 points more than expected and scoring 12 goals more than their xG figures suggest. At the other end, they have conceded seven more than expected, with post-shot expected goals (PSxG) figures suggesting goalkeeper Valclav Hladky has been at fault for five of them.

By contrast, Leicester’s goalkeepers have conceded just 35 times from a PSxG of 39.1, helping the Foxes to become the second most fortunate team in the league. The early pacesetters have gained 12 points more than expected, outperforming both xG and xGA in the process.

Finally, we have xPts leaders Leeds, who are 7/4 to be actual points leaders after gameweek 46. Daniel Farke’s side have won seven points more than expected and have momentum on their side after a phenomenal start to 2024.

Adding to the century club

With all four meetings between these three outstanding teams already completed, there is a genuine possibility that each of them can win every remaining game, opening the door to an almost inconceivable situation.

In this scenario, Leicester would win the league and equal the highest points tally in Championship history, set by Reading in 2005/06. Even more incredibly, it would see all three teams surpass 100 points, something which has only been achieved by six teams in history and never by more than one team in the same season, which would also mean a team who earned over 100 points would not even be guaranteed a spot at the top table next season.

This would not even require a perfect record from the sides. Leicester, Ipswich and Leeds would need to garner 71, 72 and 78 per cent of their remaining points respectively to hit a century, which is a similar points-winning percentage to what they have achieved so far.

With an average opposition league position of 12.83, more opportunities to pick up points and their three next fixtures all being against the bottom six, Leicester’s continued favouritism is probably justified even with their recent downturn in form.

The bookmakers have Leeds as second favourites, despite a marginally more difficult run-in than Ipswich. This can be explained by the expected points figures discussed above, plus what could prove to be a very interesting final day of the season.

On paper, Leeds have the toughest test of the trio as they host Southampton, but the Saints could have wrapped up fourth by then and are unlikely to have much to play for. Ipswich, meanwhile, face the lowest-ranked opponents on matchday 46, but the Terriers are apt to be fighting like rabid dogs as the relegation battle comes to a close and could prove tougher opposition than the league standings suggest.

In an era where the destination of silverware is often wrapped up long before the curtains close, this month-long, three-way race to the line could be one for the history books.

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Free Super Tips is the home of Football Betting Tips. For detailed match analysis, check out our Football Predictions for today’s games, or Tomorrow’s Football Predictions if you’re looking a little further down the road.

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