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Non-League Predictions > Play-off winners


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I can never resist a go on the play-off winners and this year the 3 National League's have 6 teams playing in them with 2nd and 3rd placed sides only having to win one home match to get to the final. The 3 Step 3 leagues still have the usual one leg semi-finals and then the final. 

National League

I hate it when people say the table never lies as I think it can be utter rubbish. Sometimes it isn't the best side that wins the league it is just the most consistent and that was Macclesfield this season as Tranmere really should have won the league in a canter. They didn't seem to get too many breaks in the opening months of the season, either through their own lack of scoring goals or the ref making stupid errors. I know they have finished 10 points behind Macclesfield in the end, but they weren't trying in their last two games of the season so we can ignore them and that slow start just left themselves with too much to do. They will be playing either Aldershot or Ebbsfleet at home in the semi-final and I don't think they have too much to fear from either side. Ebbsfleet have done really well to get into the play-offs, but it is a season too soon for them and they have had a busy schedule of late so an extra game would be against them if they do get to the semi-final. I have read plenty of times this season that Aldershot are the best footballing side in the division and that doesn't surprise me given the way Gary Waddock likes his teams to play. Their problem is they are in dreadful form coming into the play-offs and I just can't see them being able to beat Tranmere. It seems slightly odd to think that one of Sutton, Boreham Wood are AFC Fylde will be going to Wembley for the play-off final, but that will be happening. Fylde's away form has been pretty ordinary and they have won just 3 of their last 8 away games which were against Gateshead, Barrow and Torquay. They lost 4 of them including against bottom side Guiesley. I just can't see them winning two away games against 4th and then 3rd to get to the final. Boreham Wood have only won once away in their last 6 games on the road and that was against an out of form Wrexham. Sutton's home form has been superb bar a real stinker of a performance against Bromley which was on TV. That is their only loss in 10 at home and I really do think it will be 2nd v 3rd in the final. After that I think Tranmere will have too much for them and they will want to atone for their poor performance at Wembley last season.

National League South

Dartford are warm favourites here and given they only lost the title thanks to a 89th minute goal from Havant they deserve to go up. The problem is that will be hard to get over and although they have a week to get over it there has to be a feeling at the club that they shouldn't be in the play-offs. On the plus side they have only failed to win 6 of their home games all season which is pretty impressive. The rest all finished quite close to each other points wise and Chelmsford stole 3rd place on the final day. That could be key for me as I would fancy them to win their semi-final against whoever they will get. Crucially they were one of the 3 sides to beat Dartford at their place this season and for me they offer a bit of value to win promotion to the National League. Given how often they have been in contention for promotion this could finally be their year.

National League North

Harrogate pushed Salford close, but in the end they just didn't quite have enough. Like Dartford they have only failed to win 6 home games and they only lost 2 of those. That is seriously impressive, but I just wonder if the pressure got to them late on and it could happen again here. Interestingly as good as their home form is they only beat Stockport and Chorley of the other 5 play-off sides at home and they drew with the other three. Kidderminster are the team I like here. Strangely enough they have to play the exact same match they did on Saturday in their first game. Bradford Park Avenue won that 2-1 with an injury time winner which meant BPA got into the play-offs. Kiddie probably took their foot off the gas a bit as they couldn't move from 4th place and I fully expect them to put in a totally different performance in their first game. Win that and they will have to win at Harrogate, but if they can force a draw in 90 minutes then anything can happen. Brackley seem to be focused more on the FA Trophy Final given their form of late. Stockport's away form has improved a lot of late and they could be a danger as it wouldn't surprise me if they reached the final.

Bostik Premier

There really will be no justice if Dulwich don't go up. I have been to plenty of Dulwich play-off games and they always find a way of losing mostly in the final, but this season is the first time they have finished 2nd and they were miles clear of the rest of the division something a comfortable 3-0 win over Folkestone last week demonstrated. A lot has happened off the pitch and it is a shame a semi-final and a possible final won't be at Champion Hill, but it would be great for the club to deliver promotion despite all the issues with the ground. I think they will have too much for their 3 rivals and although they are a short price I think they have every right to be and they should follow Billericay into the National League South.

Evo-Stik Southern Premier

The 4 teams in the play-offs reached between 100 and 97 points and all managed at least 99 goals which is staggering. There was a massive gap of 19 points back to 6th place as well. I was surprised Slough were favourites though as they have had a really busy schedule of 9 games in April. I just can't help feel that will catch up with them in the play-offs. Kings Lynn will have two home games and they have lost just twice at home all season. I think they will see off Weymouth in the semi-finals and I think they will have too much for either Slough and Kettering as well.

Evo-Stik Northern Premier

If you thought the other Evo-Stik league was tight then was was amazingly even tighter with just 2 points separating the 4 teams. They have all played either 8 or 9 games in April so it could be which side copes with the hectic schedule the best. I'm going to chance Farsley here as they are hitting form at the right time. They have only lost one of their last 9 games and although it was against Warrington I still think they come into this in very good shape. They have been scoring plenty of goals as well having scored 22 in their last 8 matches and will clearly be a threat up front. 

At the moment only Betway have them all priced up so you will have to have an account with them. Usually I would play singles, but with my strongest two picks Dulwich and Tranmere both pretty short I am just going to stick the 6 teams in a heinz and see where that gets us. At current odds a 10p Heinz would win you £877.55 and would cost £5.70 and given it has been another profitable season I think it is worth throwing a few quid to see if we can end on a high.

Any match bets I think are worth having will go up as we get to them. 

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