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StevieDay1983

Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Predictions > May 11th - 15th

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It's the Championship play-off semi-finals this week. As a Cardiff fan, I cannot express how relieved that the Bluebirds are not one of those four teams listed above. I still can't believe that we did it and went up automatically. Thoughts go to Fulham and their fans because that could so easily have been us.

Two matches from these first leg games. Derby are picking up a bit of form and will look to go for the jugular against a Fulham side that will be devastated. Middlesbrough will be delighted to have secured their play-off spot so easily and their game against a resilient Aston Villa is sure to be an intriguing game.

What do you guys think about these two matches?

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Derby vs Fulham

The first of the Championship play-off matches is coming up on Friday night at 7:45pm when 6th placed Derby welcome 3rd placed Fulham to Pride Park. It's a conflicting set of feelings here with the Rams delighted to prevent an end-of-season collapse and make the play-offs compared to the Cottagers who will be licking their wounds after failing to earn automatic promotion.

Picking up 7 points from their last 3 league games proved to be crucial for Gary Rowett's men who had looked to be slipping away having won just 2 of their previous 13 league matches. A win against Barnsley on the final day secured their play-off spot and left their fans relieved that they remained in the fight for the Premier League.

On the contrary, Slavisa Jokanovic's team will be scratching their heads wondering how they could go unbeaten from 16th December, 2017 only to then lose their last game of the season to miss out on automatic promotion. A win in that final game would have been enough as well after Cardiff drew with Reading.

I have a feeling Derby could take something from this first leg. Their home record is not too bad having won 12, drawn 5, and lost 6 of their 23 home games in the league. Fulham do have one of the best away records in the league though with an identical record on the road. It has been 24 league games since Fulham last failed to score and I expect them to do so tonight. I just think the last day disappointment could hit them hard. They might turn it around in the second leg but this game is coming too soon to see them reach their full potential after such a gut-wrenching outcome last weekend.

Derby AH 0 @ 2.14 with BetVictor

BTTS @ 1.78 with 888 Sport

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1 hour ago, Vincetucker779 said:

Stevie

Fulham dropped the game in Birmingham and did not care because they knew it was all in Cardiff's hands and even if they won in Birmingham Cardiff would have won their game. So they decided not to give all effort and who knows maybe they earned some money from Birmingham to secure their safety?

Other than that - Fulham are the best team of the league for six months! How can you be against them - Derby is miles away in terms of quality and form

Don't you think something is weird with odds on Middlesbrough? They are accidental team in the playoffs, just better by point or two from Millwall, Preston - 12 teams are like Middlesbrough, just some of them got lucky into playoff. Nothing special with that team barely went into playoff!

Aston Villa is a pure quality side, a hell of the machine and fighting till the end for direct promotion. How they lost to unmotivated Norwich was beggars belief for me! 

And now Kodja is back. Player of the league before injury.

Even without him they were doing so well...

Quality, experience, everything is behind Villa. 

How the hell Middlesbrough is so big favourite?

I was going to answer your question in the other thread but I see you've found it anyway so that's good.

You're right about Fulham. I guess it's personal experience as a Cardiff fan. I remember all the years we've finished in the play-offs just missing out on promotion and we never won the play-offs. Often went out in the semis. However, the one time recently we did go up was in 2003 when we just squeaked into the play-offs and then went up without conceding a goal in all three games.

It's going to be hard for Fulham to raise their game. Remember, their form before December wasn't great. That's why they haven't gone up automatically. They went unbeaten from mid-December until the last game and still didn't go up. How are they going to react to that loss and the disappointment of missing out? I honestly think they felt it was in the bag. Throw in the fact they failed in last season's play-offs as well when they looked really impressive heading into them.

Derby, however, have gone through their rough patch. Gary Rowett is a quality manager. Even though they have the weakest squad they have this renewed confidence. The same goes for Middlesbrough. I think that's why they are being backed. They've got into the habit of grinding out results.

Then there's Aston Villa. Rollercoaster team but on their day they will tear the other sides apart. It's going to be very exciting. I'm about to start writing this first preview and I'm very reluctant to pick an outright winner.

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12 minutes ago, Vincetucker779 said:

Derby is miles away from Fulham in terms of rorm and quality. Play awful football, scrapping 1-0 or 2-0 wins. Fulham are sweeping everyone, their manager is a hard nut to crack - a soldier. 

See what he has done with Watford? Looks like Slavisa Jokanovic knows his job. This is a real man for me.

Derby? Have no chance in direct confrontation. They would be swept. I see clear Fulham sweep

Don't forget how lkast adventure of Derby in the Premiership finished. They still have trauma and I don't really think they want to go up to live this once again.

They sacked manager  when they were in play off zone remember Paul Clement? They were firmly in play off zone, threw him away and went away from top six afterwards.

Something very strange is there they don't want promotion. I mean their owner Mel Morris does not want.

Mate.

Look how strange it is!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/35533154

Fulham are strong and really want promotion I am amazed you are on Derby here, just my two cents ;)

Look at each team's last 4 league games.

Derby narrowly lost to an in-form Middlesbrough 2-1, then they hammered Cardiff 3-1 (it really could have been 5 or 6!), they then conceded late against Aston Villa away to be denied a win, and battered Barnsley 4-1.

Compare that to Fulham who were held at home to mid-table Brentford, admittedly then destroyed Millwall away, but then scraped a fortuitous 2-1 win against Sunderland (Fulham saved by some awful ref decisions), and then got hammered 3-1 by Birmingham.

Over the past 6 months, yes, Fulham have been far better but over the last few weeks, the form is changing. Don't rule Derby out. Not at home.

If I'm wrong then you can rub my face in it! :lol

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Middlesbrough vs Aston Villa

So here we have that second Championship play-off semi-final where Middlesbrough will play Aston Villa in a 5:15pm kick-off at the Riverside this Saturday evening. It's 5th place against 4th place respectively and arguably between a side that will be relieved to have made the play-offs and a team that might feel slightly disappointed they didn't go up automatically.

Middlesbrough have saved a season that looked for a long time like it might end in abject under-achievement. The appointment of Tony Pulis back on Boxing Day has seen them charge up the table with 11 wins, 4 draws, and 7 defeats from his 22 league games in charge. It's not emphatic but it was enough. Qualifying for the play-offs no doubt helped by winning 4 of their last 5 matches.

Aston Villa came close to finishing in the top two when they achieved 7 straight league wins between 30th December and 17th February but the wheels came off soon after. Just 1 win from 5 games in March and April hit their automatic promotion aspirations as Cardiff and Fulham kept on winning.

The most worrying thing for Steve Bruce will be that asides from their 4-0 win away to a pathetic Ipswich side that have given up since the departure of Mick McCarthy, the Villans have only scored 6 goals in their 9 matches. Jonathan Kodjia is back but they need him firing again.

Boro will be relishing this chance to right a season that could have gone horribly wrong. They only need to look at local rivals Sunderland to see how quickly things can go sour in this league. The prospect of three strong teams coming down from the Premier League and at least two very capable teams coming up from League One means the Championship could be tougher than ever next season.

I simply can't choose an outright winner here but I think it'll be a dogged game. Villa be will content with taking Boro back to Villa Park on level terms. Middlesbrough have won 14 of their 23 league games at home so I'd be tempted to back them against Villa but I just have a feeling Villa could sneak something. I'll opt for a low-scoring game and steer clear of an outright winner though. Anything could happen here!

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.51 with Matchbook

Middlesbrough to score first @ 1.95 with BetStars

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23 hours ago, StevieDay1983 said:

Don't rule Derby out. Not at home.

If I'm wrong then you can rub my face in it! :lol

I absolutely school old Vincetucker and he gets himself banned before I rub his face in it! Dammit!

Last night showed how much of a lottery the play-offs are though. Could have been a different outcome had Kevin McDonald's effort gone in.

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On 5/12/2018 at 3:33 AM, StevieDay1983 said:

I absolutely school old Vincetucker and he gets himself banned before I rub his face in it! Dammit!

Last night showed how much of a lottery the play-offs are though. Could have been a different outcome had Kevin McDonald's effort gone in.

 

odds heavy in favour of fulham tomorrow.....thoughts? 

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Fulham vs Derby

The second leg of this Championship semi-final play-off is up tonight at 7:45pm with the unexpected scenario of Derby holding a valuable 1-0 lead from the first leg. It was an advantage they didn't anticipate coming into this tie at Craven Cottage but it's one they will want to hold onto with dear life.

Immediately, I'm going to throw it out there. I think Fulham are spent. They looked a world away from the side we have seen over the past 6 months in the past two games. How much damage have two defeats in a row done to their mentality? It is perhaps a saving grace that they come into this leg at home having only lost on home turf twice this season.

Derby will be buzzing after winning the first leg and their confidence is at a stage where I think they can hold on and win this tie. The Rams have now won three of their past four games and will believe they can at least take a draw from this game. Fulham only know how to attack so their game plan will be predictable. I think Derby will hold firm and rely on the counter.

It's a big call but I'm going for Derby to qualify. I'm not entirely sure they can do it in 90 minutes but I think they'll do it. Fulham just look shot of self belief and confidence. The disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion has drained them and I think playing at home in this second leg will make them more nervous and prone to errors.

Derby to qualify @ 1.95 with Coral

BTTS @ 1.90 with BetVictor

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I'm not really one for betting on the outcome of matches but I broadly agree with the thrust of your preview. I think Derby will look to defend their lead and the big question is how effective Fulham will be in attempting to get back into the tie.

As per my "daily spread" bet, I've bought Derby's corners squared at 15 with SPIN (so 4 corners edges the bet into profit, i.e. 4x4 = 16). My initial thought was to get with Fulham's corners but the prices are skewed too far in their favour in my opinion.

From a cards perspective, I'd be betting high (e.g. 5/4 for >5.5 cards or similar) but I'm keeping my powder dry for now and may have a rare (for me) in-running bet on bookings. Red card not a bad bet at 4.6 or so on the exchanges. Derby are strong favourites in the "most cards" markets and, again, I think the prices might have gone too far. That makes a bet on Fulham cards of interest but, again, it's a watching brief on that.

For goalscorer prices, I'm going to back Cairney at 5/1 or better and (possibly) Piazon at 15/4 with 365. The former is my own pick and I saw the latter tipped elsewhere and would agree that the price is of interest. Fairly certain that Cairney will start but Piazon was a sub in the first leg.

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A mixed bag there but a small profit over all. Derby gained 6 corners for a make up of 36 and a 21 point profit. Cairney didn't score and no bet on Piazon as he didn't start.

No red card but other than that I read the bookings markets well enough. Shame I didn't get around to placing a bet! :$

6 yellow cards in the end, 4 of them for Fulham. Closest I came to a bet was buying Fulham's bookings points at 15 at half time which would have shown a 25 point profit. He who hesitates!

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Might as well offer up some waffle on tonight's game as well, seeing as I've had a look at it.

Outcome - sneaky feeling for Boro to get the job done, can't see Villa shutting them out for 180 minutes. 

Corners - spreads pitched slightly higher than the buy prices I had in mind but found a fixed odds option that appeals. Boro will on the offensive from the off and are slight favourites for most corners but, assuming they score first, plenty of scope for Villa to gain a few as well.

Bookings - slightly higher lines that last night and no prices that appeal pre-game. Again, given what's at stake, the prospect for it going over is obvious. Mike Dean the man in charge.

Scorers - Grabban the main man for Villa of late but short enough, Hourihane appeals at the price on offer. Seen a suggestion that Bamford may get a start for Boro which would be of interest. Also seen a suggestion that they're strong at set pieces which made me keep an eye out on any headed goal related prices.

Bets:

Boro to gain 6 or more corners at 11/10 with Skybet

Boro to score a headed goal at 4/1 with Betfred

Buy Boro goal rush at 11 with SX

Buy Bamford goal minutes at 16 with SX (void if he doesn't start)

Hourihane to score at 7 on BF (or 11/2 365)

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Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough

Had trouble with my internet connection all day today so only just managing to get a quick preview up of this game. Aston Villa come into the game with a narrow 1-0 lead from the first leg ahead of this clash at Villa Park tonight at 7:45pm.

I'm going to have to back Villa here. I tipped them at the start of the play-offs to go all the way and I believe they will do that starting tonight. Steve Bruce's side have only lost two league games at home all season. Tony Pulis and his men have only won 8 out of their 23 away matches. Granted, Pulis wasn't party to all those games but he has been there long enough now and the trend hasn't dramatically changed.

My tip is to back Villa to see this game out. I think they will carry out a business-like performance and progress whilst likely winning this second leg as well. It'll be interesting to see how Pulis approaches this game but his side are up against it and I think they missed their big chance in the home leg at the Riverside. I'd have fancied them to possibly progress if they had held Villa at home. Needing a win is a step too far here though.

Aston Villa to win @ 2.25 with SunBets

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.59 with Matchbook

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Bamford doesn't start, having considered the line ups I've added 3/1 anytime Assombalonga in his place (a selection for my "Outside Chance" thread) and bought Adomah's goal minutes at 10 with SX. Latter is a decent bet on his stats but you have to ignore a long run without a goal.

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1 hour ago, StevieDay1983 said:

Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough

Had trouble with my internet connection all day today so only just managing to get a quick preview up of this game. Aston Villa come into the game with a narrow 1-0 lead from the first leg ahead of this clash at Villa Park tonight at 7:45pm.

I'm going to have to back Villa here. I tipped them at the start of the play-offs to go all the way and I believe they will do that starting tonight. Steve Bruce's side have only lost two league games at home all season. Tony Pulis and his men have only won 8 out of their 23 away matches. Granted, Pulis wasn't party to all those games but he has been there long enough now and the trend hasn't dramatically changed.

My tip is to back Villa to see this game out. I think they will carry out a business-like performance and progress whilst likely winning this second leg as well. It'll be interesting to see how Pulis approaches this game but his side are up against it and I think they missed their big chance in the home leg at the Riverside. I'd have fancied them to possibly progress if they had held Villa at home. Needing a win is a step too far here though.

Aston Villa to win @ 2.25 with SunBets

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.59 with Matchbook

I'm with you here Stevie. No chance Villa are blowing this.

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