There are few more exciting football competitions on the planet in the closing months of the season than the Championship. Teams in England’s second tier will be battling to join the elite in the Premier League, with only the top two automatically securing their spot.
Teams positioned between third and sixth will compete in the dreaded playoffs, with the showpiece game taking place at Wembley on Saturday, May 27. The race for the final spots in the playoffs looks set to go down to the wire, but which team is currently favoured in the BetXchange betting to reach the Premier League this season?
Teams Already Promoted
At present, only Burnley has assured their spot in the Premier League next season, with Vincent Kompany’s side holding a huge advantage over Luton Town, who sit third. The Clarets are favoured to be crowned champions before the conclusion of the season. Sheffield United are widely expected to join Burnley in the Premier League by taking second.
The Blades hold a seven-point advantage over Luton with four games of the season remaining. Their place back in the English top-flight could be secured with a victory at home against West Bromwich Albion next week.
Two sides have already secured their spots in the playoffs this season. Luton Town has been one of the stories of the season in the Championship, but they will face a tense fight in their battle to finish third. They have won three of their last four matches, but Middlesbrough will be aiming for that spot to secure an easier passage through to Wembley.
Michael Carrick has done a wonderful job at Boro this term, as he has taken the team from relegation contenders to the brink of the Premier League. They have responded excellently from recent setbacks with two straight wins, and they could be the form side heading into the playoffs.
Race For A Top Six Spot
The race for the playoffs is always one of the battles in the Championship that goes down to the wire. Millwall and Blackburn Rovers currently hold fifth and sixth, but West Brom could move into the playoffs spots at the expense of Rovers if they can win their game in hand. The Albion have won each of their previous two, but crucial games against Sunderland, Sheffield United, and Norwich will determine their campaign. Three wins could be enough.
Coventry City could have momentum after picking up a 1-1 draw against Blackburn to keep their promotion hopes alive. The equalising goal was scored in the 95th minute by goalkeeper Ben Wilson. However, they will likely need wins in all three remaining matches to finish in the top six. Sunderland, Norwich and Preston also remain in the hunt, but they will all need to be perfect in their final games this season.
Who Will Reach The Premier League?
The race to join Burnley, and likely the Blades, will make for fascinating viewing. We expect West Brom and Millwall to join Boro and Luton in the playoffs. The momentum heading into the mini-tournament will certainly be with Carrick’s side, and we could see them setting up a date with West Brom at Wembley. Boro’s form is hard to overlook, and we see them joining the Premier League via the playoffs.