We believe strongly in a regulated, safe and fair environment for gamblers. At CheekyPunter.com we pride ourselves on our independent and impartial reviews. Reviews are our own personal opinion and we do not accept financial compensation to influence the ratings included. We do however earn money from traffic referred to betting operatiors.
Football League Playoff Final Tips: 25th – 27th May
by David Lenton
It is the biggest weekend of the season for six teams in the Football League this weekend as they go head to head to clinch the final promotion berth in their respective divisions and the opportunity to start next season in the division above.
The action gets underway on Saturday with the League Two playoff between Tranmere Rovers and Newport County and this is followed on Sunday as Charlton Athletic take on Sunderland in the League One game.
Finally, on Monday, with a reported £170 million windfall awaiting the winning team, Aston Villa face Derby County for a place in the Premier League next season and a shot at a bumper windfall for the team.
The cash at stake is considerably less in the other two games but the glory of landing promotion is certainly not and all three games are intriguingly poised and offering us a decent opportunity to land a profit on what is the final week of the English Football season.
Playoff Tips: Saturday 25th May
May 25, 2019
May 25, 2019
Newport finished 7th in League Two with 71 points and a 0 goal difference, they beat Mansfield on penalties in the semifinal to reach Wembley.
Tranmere finished 6th in League One with 73 points and a +13 goal difference. They beat Forest Green 2-1 over two legs to earn a place in the final.
The teams have met twice this season, Newport winning 1-0 at Prenton Park earlier in the campaign before the teams drew 0-0 in South Wales in. March 2019.
This is Tranmere’s third Wembley playoff final appearance in three years. They lost in 2017 3-1 to Forest Green and won 2-1 in 2018 against Boreham Wood.
Newport County have had the edge over Tranmere Rovers in the league this season, picking up four points against Rovers, but overall I think Tranmere have been the more impressive team, as is evident from their points and their goal difference, something which Newport have struggled to match with any of the top seven teams in their division.
Rovers have James Norwood to thank for that. The striker has netted 30 goals in the league this season plus another in the playoffs and rumours are he will depart Prenton Park regardless in th summer for pastures new, most likely Ipswich Town. He will be itching to send Rovers fans home happy though in what is likely his final appearance for the club.
Newport though have two good scorers in Jamille Matt and Padraig Amond and Rovers defence will have to be at their best to stop this duo who have scored 14 and 15 League goals respectively this season.
This will be a close one and I think it may take just a single goal to win the game but I just feel the tide is with Tranmere at the moment and so I a backing them to win the game.
Charlton finished third in League One earning 88 points from their 46 games and finishing with a +33 goal difference on the season.
Sunderland finished fifth with 85 from their 46 games with a goal difference of +33, scoring and conceding seven more than Charlton.
The teams met twice this season, Sunderland securing a 2-1 win at home back in August and then the teams drew 1-1 when they met in London in January.
Charlton have the second-best defensive record in the division, conceding just 40 goals. Sunderland’s 80 goals in the season was equal third best for scoring in League One.
It is fair to say that I think fans hoping to see a repeat of the 1998 Playoff Final between these two teams, when Charlton won a classic 7-6 on penalties after a 4-4 draw, are likely to be disappointed as I think both these teams are built first and foremost on solid defensive foundations.
Certainly that is true of Charlton who have been rock solid defensively in League One all season long. Sunderland have been more prolific but showed in their battling semifinal win over Portsmouth that they can also defend very well and for long periods too.
As such, I think any chance of a high scoring encounter is slim and I would expect this to be a game that is decided by just the one goal, either by a 1-0 or 2-1 scoreline. My gut feeling is that it is more likely to be the former between these two well-matched sides.
Based on current form and the players available, I think Charlton’s attack have the ability to grab that goal moreso than Sunderland who really miss Aidan McGeady when he is not fit. As such, I am backing the Addicks to land the win here and with it a place in the Championship.
Villa finished the season strongly to claim 5th spot earning 76 points from their 46 games, with a +21 goal difference.
Derby clinched sixth spot in the league table and earned 74 points and a goal difference of +15 from their 46 games.
Villa have dominated the games between the two teams this season winning 3-0 on the road at Derby and following that up with a 4-0 win at Villa Park.
Derby come into this game as the team in form having won three and drawn two of their last five, while Villa have won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five.
If you look at the two games between the two teams this season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Villa should win this game very decisively. They racked up four goals in the first half of their game against Derby at home and then on the road, hit three late in the second half for another commanding win.
However, this is a one-off game and in those games this season Derby have thrived. They have beaten Southampton and Manchester United in cup games this season, albeit on penalties and Frank Lampard’s men have shown a steely resolve, and plenty of quality, in those high-pressure games.
Villa started the season poorly and eventually sacked Steve Bruce, replacing him with Dean Smith and it has been their late season form which has propelled them into the playoffs and a couple of weeks back, I had them down as the clear favourites to win the playoffs such was their form.
However, I feel Derby are a team that just do not know when they are beaten as they proved so emphatically against Leeds in the semifinal and as such, while I can see both teams scoring, I think Derby will be the team who celebrate the victory here although I do think it may take extra time and penalties to decide the winner, hence I am backing the draw at 90 minutes.
David 'the Cheeky Punter' Lenton is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has also worked for a number of top bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. With such a long time spent dedicated to the gambling industry no one is better placed when it comes to advising punters. Follow on Twitter @thecheekypunter