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Championship Matchday 45 – Full Betting Preview With Odds and Predictions

| April 23, 2019 12:00 am PDT
Championship Predictions and Betting

With just a few games to go until the end of the season, there is still a lot to sort out at both ends of the table in the EFL Championship.

Regarded as one of the toughest divisions to get out of, the second tier of English soccer is home to some big clubs, all desperately trying to get back to the big time of the Premier League.

With the champions still to be crowned — and one relegation spot still to fill — the next few weeks will be a nerve-wracking experience for many fans and a good opportunity for some soccer wagers.

I’m going to look at all the weekend’s Championship games from a betting perspective and make some picks that I think could be possible winners.

Millwall vs. Stoke City

Millwall to Win2.10
The Draw3.25
Stoke to Win3.75

Millwall can secure its Championship status on Saturday as it faces one of the pre-season favorites to gain promotion. Four games without a win suggests that it might be tough for the Lions, however.

Stoke has been particularly disappointing this season considering many of the top players stayed at the club last summer after relegation. A point against Norwich last time out shows that the talent is there, but with Millwall more in need of the points, I can see this finishing all square.

PICKThe Draw3.25

Birmingham City vs. Wigan Athletic

Birmingham to Win2.00
The Draw3.50
Wigan to Win3.75

Birmingham has failed to challenge for promotion for a while now, and this season has been another frustrating one for Blues fans, especially with arch rivals Aston Villa doing so well.

Wigan, on the other hand, has won its last two games — including one away at Leeds — to turn what was looking like a return to League One into a classic survival act. The visitors may feel that the job is done now, and I feel a home win is the most likely result here in what could be a typical end-of-season game.

PICKBirmingham to Win2.00

Bolton Wanderers vs. Brentford

Bolton to Win4.50
The Draw3.80
Brentford to Win1.75

After returning to the Championship last season, this campaign has been a difficult one for Bolton — both on and off the field. A defeat in the Lancashire derby against Blackburn last weekend sent the Trotters back down to the third tier, and fans will hope that the new owners can turn the fortunes around for this famous old club.

Brentford was on course for an outside shot at the playoffs until a few weeks ago and will now finish in mid-table, but three points here is possible.

PICKBrentford to Win1.75

Bristol City vs. Derby County

Bristol City to Win2.30
The Draw3.30
Derby to Win3.20

This game has all the promise of being a classic as both teams chase the final playoff spot. Bristol City still has a game in hand on most of its rivals, so a victory would be a huge boost ahead of that trip to Millwall next Tuesday.

The home side’s form has not been so good recently, however, so Derby manager Frank Lampard will see this as a great opportunity to cement sixth place before the last day of the season. This should be a very close game, but I fancy Bristol City to just about get the win.

PICKBristol City to Win2.30

Middlesbrough vs. Reading

Middlesbrough to Win1.65
The Draw3.60
Reading to Win6.00

Middlesbrough’s 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest at the weekend was a double surprise considering that Tony Pulis’ side is pushing for the playoffs and has the best defensive record in the Championship.

That defeat meant that Boro slipped out of the top six and will be desperate to land all three points against a poor Reading side that all but secured Championship safety on Saturday. The odds are not very attractive, but a home win is the only outcome to back here.

PICKMiddlesbrough to Win1.65

Preston North End vs. Sheffield Wednesday

Preston to Win2.50
The Draw3.25
Sheffield Wednesday to Win2.90

This is Preston’s fourth season back in the Championship, and after a terrible start to the season, the Lancashire club has turned things around to probably finish comfortably in mid-table. The last few games have not been so good for Preston, but manager Alex Neil will be looking ahead to next season now.

Sheffield Wednesday will still harbor faint hopes of making the top six and extending its season into the playoffs. A win here might give the Owls a faint chance, but I see Preston effectively ending their campaign with a draw.

PICKThe Draw3.25

QPR vs. Nottingham Forest

QPR to Win2.50
The Draw3.40
Forest to Win2.80

Both these clubs are safe in the second tier for another season — with neither set of fans being particularly happy with the way their campaign has gone. QPR’s form since the turn of the year has been woeful, but an unexpected 4-0 win over Swansea a couple of weeks ago has just about seen the London club safe.

Forest fans have endured another frustrating season and the now far-too-common change of manager halfway through. Fine early-season form has deserted Forest, and former player turned manager Martin O’Neill will now spend the summer planning another attempt at promotion. The draw here seems to hold the most value.

PICKThe Draw3.40

Swansea City vs. Hull City

Swansea to Win1.87
The Draw3.60
Hull to Win4.20

It was always going to be difficult for Swansea to bounce straight back up to the Premier League, but fans seem to have now gotten behind manager Graham Potter, who had done such a good job with Swedish side Ostersund. The future looks bright in South Wales, and a push for promotion next season should not be discounted.

Hull has surprised many this season, and the form and goals of Jarrod Bowen have been a major factor in the club’s success. A second half of the season surge saw the Tigers as outsiders for the playoffs, but a creditable mid-table finish seems more likely now. With not much at stake, Swansea should get all three points here.

PICKSwansea to Win1.87

West Bromwich Albion vs. Rotherham United

WBA to Win1.60
The Draw4.20
Rotherham to Win5.25

With West Brom already qualified for the playoffs and Rotherham desperate for the three points to help them stay up, this game could be a very strange affair. The Baggies have been in the top four for the majority of the season but now have to deal with the tension of the playoffs if they are to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Rotherham is one of the least fancied clubs in the division, but a draw against Stoke a few weeks ago gave the Millers a glimmer of hope for survival. This could be closer than the bookmakers suggest, but a home win will probably be the final outcome.

PICKWest Brom to Win1.60

Sheffield United vs. Ipswich Town

Sheffield United to Win1.20
The Draw6.50
Ipswich to Win15.00

Sheffield United has capitalized on Leeds’ poor run of form to give itself a great chance of automatic promotion and a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2007. This has been a particularly impressive showing from the Blades considering that the club only came back up from League One last season.

Ipswich has been doomed to third-tier soccer for a while now — a place the club hasn’t been since the 1950s. Fans and players will be glad to get this campaign over and done with, and another defeat is surely on the cards in Sheffield.

PICKSheffield United to Win1.20

Norwich City vs. Blackburn Rovers

Norwich to Win1.37
The Draw5.00
Blackburn to Win8.00

Another one-sided affair is in store at Carrow Road as Norwich looks to gain three points that will put the Canaries in with a great chance of winning the title and returning to the Premier League. Daniel Farke’s side has been very impressive this season and with some clever spending in the summer could do well in the top flight next year.

After coming up from League One last season, it has been a successful campaign for Blackburn, who will finish in mid-table and consider this campaign as a job well done. With Rovers having not much to play for, this could result in a big home win.

PICKNorwich to Win1.37

Leeds United vs. Aston Villa

Leeds to Win1.83
The Draw3.75
Villa to Win4.20

Undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend in the Championship is saved until last as Leeds look to stop a slide in form that has seen the club turn from potential title winners to playoff contenders. Marco Bielsa’s tactics have been a revelation this season, but form has dropped at exactly the wrong time.

Aston Villa — on the other hand — has peaked perfectly, winning its last ten games. The playoffs are now assured, and it would not be a surprise if Villa put more panic into the minds of Leeds fans here.

PICKAston Villa to Win4.20

Final Words

It has been another fascinating season in the Championship. With the riches of the Premier League the promise for any promoted club, the competition has been as intense as ever.

Most important positions have been decided, but there is still an awful lot to play for over the next two weeks.

Dan Roberts

Dan Roberts is an experienced freelance writer specialising in sports and sports betting. He is particularly knowledgeable about world soccer, but also writes about football, basketball and cricket.

As a fan of Nottingham Forest, New York Knicks, Minnesota Vikings and New York Mets, Dan has not had much to celebrate recently.

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