In the build-up to what is likely to be a tense day for all involved, Sky Bet analyse the possibilities Saturday's Championship games could throw up.
By Jamie Casey - Twitter: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 03/05/13 12:23pm
It's business time in the Championship on Saturday with two places still to be settled in both the play-off positions and the relegation zone ahead of the last day of the regular campaign.
Crystal Palace, Bolton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester are each vying for a top-six finish, while at the bottom end it's mathematically possible for six teams to go down.
In the build-up to what is likely to be a tense day for all involved, Sky Bet analyse the possibilities Saturday could throw up.
What if...Hull's poor form continues against Cardiff?
Having failed to win or indeed score in their last three games, Hull are in danger of throwing their automatic promotion spot away on the final day of the Championship season and they'll be cursing their luck that the best side in the division are visiting the KC Stadium on Saturday. Granted, Cardiff have nothing left to play for having wrapped up the title long ago, but they're unbeaten in seven, though six of their last 10 games have been drawn. The draw is good value at 5/2 while few will be able to resist backing Cardiff for the win at a massive 3/1, but what could either result mean for Hull? Well, if Watford fulfil their expectations by beating Leeds at home (2/5), then they'll leapfrog the Tigers into second place, dropping Hull into the play-offs. The Hornets are a little short at 4/5 to achieve promotion, but with the aforementioned scenario very feasible, Hull's price of 6/1 to win the play-offs seems a logical value bet.
What if...Leicester have their day?
Leicester travel to Nottingham Forest short of form but mathematics will be their main motivator as they're still in with a shout of finishing inside the top six. To stand a chance, the eighth-placed Foxes have to beat seventh-placed Forest on their own turf (15/8) and, if that wasn't hard enough, they must hope Blackpool (5/1) upset Bolton's odds of 8/15 to win at home. Not many punters will be persuaded by the odds of 9/2 that Leicester will finish sixth, but it's not completely out of the question. For better value, odds of 18/1 for the Foxes to win the play-offs may be of greater appeal for those who believe they'll have their day on Saturday. Having won six of their last 10 games, Bolton will take some beating on the final day and Sky Bethave seen very little money on Blackpool to do just that, with the Tangerines finishing the season in inconsistent form. The Trotters, incidentally, have been one of the most popular bets to win the play-offs, forcing them into second favourites at 3/1 behind Brighton (5/2).
What if...results go Wolves' way?
Priced at 33/1 to be relegated at the start of the season, Wolves are now 1/50 to go down on Saturday. In order to avoid a second successive relegation, they need to win comfortably at play-off favourites Brighton, all the while hoping Barnsley lose at Huddersfield and Peterborough lose heavily at Crystal Palace. Because of a weaker head-to-head record against the Posh, Dean Saunders' side need to eat into their -12 goal difference and finish with a better standard than Peterborough's (-8). It's certainly a tall order, with Sky Bet going 10/1 that they manage to pull it off, but they know what they have to do themselves and, with Brighton almost certainly cemented in fourth place, Gus Poyet may be tempted to rest several key players ahead of their play-off assault. Wolves are 40/1 to go to Brighton and win 3-0 and 25/1 to win by three or more goals. Meanwhile, down in London, Palace would be doing Wolves an enormous favour if they can satisfy odds of 13/2 to beat Peterborough by three or more goals. As unlikely as both of those outcomes are to materialise, Wolves would still require Huddersfield to justify their odds of 5/4 to beat Barnsley. It'd take a brave punter to tackle the 10/1 shout, but Sky Bet have received a surprising amount of stakes on the offer.