As we approach the business end of the football season, it’s still all to play for in the always exhilarating Sky Bet English Football League.
In the second tier, the promise of Premier League football is still in reach for a host of teams, with Millwall, Derby and a handful of others all desperately vying for a spot in the playoffs.
Oddschecker detailed to SBC some key data on how punters are predicting the end of the season will play out.
Fulham – 7% of bets
Fulham are among the most popular picks when it comes to escaping the Sky Bet Championship, with 7% of all bets on promotion have been placed on the West London side. They’re 6/5 to go up this year.
Aston Villa – 5% of bets
Another team looking for a return to the big time is Steve Bruce’s Villa, who are being steadily backed with 5% of all bets. Bruce’s side previously had the top two in sight, however after a patchy run of form it now appears if they’re to return to the promised land, they’ll have to do it through the turbulent route of the play-offs.
Derby – 2% of bets
Regularly on the brink of promotion, Derby look to have safely booked a play-off place, however the Rams are 6/1 for promotion.
Middlesbrough – 2% of bets
Boro are being marginally backed for a return to the big time, with Tony Pulis’ side 6/1 for a return to the Premier League. They’ve attracted 2% of all bets on promotion. One thing’s for sure, if Boro are to gain promotion, they’ll be reliant on the mesmerising wing play of Adama Traore.
Bristol City – 2% of bets
Things have slowly gone downhill for Bristol City since their magical League Cup run, the 17/1 candidates remain an outside shot for promotion, yet have attracted 2% of all bets on them bringing their goal scoring GIFS to the Premier League.
Sheffield Utd – 2% of bets
Churning out a draw at home to Cardiff was not the ideal scenario for Chris Wilder’s men, but the Blades are 10/3 for a top six finish. They’re 18/1 to be promoted this season.
Millwall – 61% of bets
Definitely the most interesting take-away from the data, Millwall are receiving a tremendous amount of attention when it comes to the race for the Premier League. They’ve received almost two-thirds of all bets at 61% on going up, despite being 30/1 to do so.
Preston – 5% of bets
Despite losing 1-0 to Derby at the weekend, Preston North End have received 5% of all bets on promotion to the Prem. They’re 40/1 to go up, but 7/1 for a more reasonable looking top six finish.
Brentford – 1% of bets
Completing the race for promotion are unlikely candidates Brentford at 66/1, subsequently accumulating just 1% of all bets. The Bees can be considered the least fancied Championship side in contention to go up.
Commenting on the race for promotion, Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek said: “Millwall are clearly the punters choice at the back-end of this Championship campaign.
“Given that Neil Harris’ team won promotion last term via the play-offs, those looking for value may have noted this as momentum carries that London team towards the richest prize in football.”
For others, such as Sunderland, Birmingham and Barnsley – the pitfalls of League One are looking more ominous as the weekends drag on. Chris Coleman’s Sunderland are being backed for successive relegations, with 33% of Championship relegation bets being placed on the Black Cats.
Despite improving in form since changing their manager, fellow sleeping giants Birmingham City are also fancied by punters to get relegated with 17% of bets.
The race at the top of Sky Bet League one is also attracting the interest of punters, with second favourites, Blackburn getting the most attention when it comes to the league winner market, attracting 65% of all bets.
Wigan account for almost a third of all bets at 29%, despite being given the favourites tag by bookies at 4/6. Underdogs Shrewsbury have attracted a minimal amount of betting attention, attracting around 5% of all bets.
Elek stated: “Despite Wigan dropping points and both of their rivals claiming victories, punters still clearly feel that Paul Cook’s side have enough to get over the line ahead of the friendless Shrews.”
The football league’s bottom tier is also providing a fiercely contested race for promotion, as both Luton and Accrington are already nailed on for Sky Bet League Two promotion, there are a number of other contenders being backed to make it out of the league. In particular, Coventry have attracted a plethora of punting attention, being backed by 58% of punters over the last week.
Elsewhere, Wycombe are in the fold according to punters, with bettors not shying away from their ¼ price for promotion. They’ve attracted 12% of all bets.
Evaluating the race to get out of League Two Elek added: “Those who piled into Coventry last week will not have enjoyed their Easter Monday football, with lowly Yeovil sticking six past them at the Ricoh.”