After the shock defeat to Ipswich just under two weeks ago, the Championship promotion odds had a very different look to what we see now.
To finish as champions, Newcastle went out to odds as long as 40/1 with some bookies, as Brighton had a seven point lead with only three games each left to play.
Chris Hughton’s team had won five matches in a row, whilst Rafa’s players had won just two of their last eight games.
No wonder Brighton were at such an unbackable odds-on price.
At this point, both Huddersfield and Reading (to a lesser extent) were also seen as a serious threat to Newcastle getting automatic promotion. Thankfully, promotion is now in the back, but what about going up as champions?
Since that defeat to Ipswich, Newcastle have now beaten both Preston (4-1) and Cardiff (2-0), whilst Brighton have lost to both Norwich and Bristol City without scoring a goal.
The net effect of this is that now Newcastle are 11/10 (from 40/1 less than two weeks ago) to win the title, with Brighton a best priced 4/5.
Newcastle host Barnsley next Sunday whilst Brighton travel to Villa, it is all to play for!
As for the promotion play-offs, the four spots have been decided, with Leeds having a three point gap and 14 goals to close on 6th placed Fulham, which isn’t going to happen.
Despite going into the final match confirmed in sixth place (they are four points behind fifth place Huddersfield), interesting to see that Fulham are 2/1 favourites to win the play-offs. They are the form team and playing good football (including 3-1 win at Newcastle) and scoring lots of goals (top scorers with 83 in the Championship, one more than Newcastle).
Huddersfield looked for so long the biggest threat to Newcastle but are 3/1 third favourites (Sheff Wed 11/4) to go up – Wagner took the strategic step of playing a second team (10 changes) against Birmingham yesterday, which didn’t go down too well with Birmingham’s relegation rivals.
Interestingly, Reading are the outsiders. Despite being so consistent throughout the season and currently in third place, they are 5/1 to go up through the play-offs.
This weekend’s results:
Friday 28 April
Cardiff 0 Newcastle 2
Saturday 29 April
Birmingham 2 Huddersfield 0
Fulham 1 Brentford 1
Ipswich 0 Sheff Wed 1
Leeds 3 Norwich 3
Reading 1 Wigan 0
Brighton 0 Bristol City 1
Best odds available to finish as Champions (from various bookies):
11/10 Newcastle United
To be promoted:
Brighton and Newcastle now promoted
11/4 Sheff Wed