Luton Town host Reading on the final day of the regular Championship season, knowing that Monday’s 7-0 defeat to Fulham leaves the door wide open for Middlesbrough and Millwall to pip them at the last (Luton 9/20, draw 18/5, Reading 6/1 – Match Betting).
With the title already clinched in style by the 106-goal Cottagers, who will be followed into the Premier League by Bournemouth courtesy of the Cherries’ dramatic midweek win over fellow hopefuls Nottingham Forest – not forgetting the long-sealed fate of third tier-bound Derby, Peterborough and Barnsley – attention turns to the battle for the top six on Saturday lunchtime.
Forest’s consolation prize for the defeat at the Vitality Stadium is safe passage to the traditional end-of-season repechage, where they will be joined by Huddersfield Town. The two sides sit level on 79 points, six adrift of second place, with Forest’s vastly superior goal difference meaning a win away at 18th-placed Hull pits them against the Championship’s sixth-best team (Nottingham Forest 13/8, Huddersfield 4/1 – Promotion).
Championship Betting Odds
Huddersfield host 17th-placed Bristol City (Town 19/20, draw 11/4, City 11/4 – Match Betting) in a bid to usurp Steve Cooper’s side; the Terriers are unbeaten in six, with wins in all but the 2-2 home draw with QPR.
But fifth and sixth spot remain well and truly undecided; wins over Cardiff and QPR bolstered Sheffield United’s chances of a top-flight return, but the Blades, fifth on 72 points, may still require victory at home to the champions in order to secure their berth (Sheffield United 21/20, draw 13/5, Fulham 13/5 – Match Betting).
Level on points with the steel city side are Luton; the Hatters boasted a relatively healthy goal difference approaching the home straight, but the rout at Fulham leaves them exactly seven goals worse off than Paul Heckingbottom’s men. Worse still for the Hatters, seventh-placed Middlesbrough – by five goals – and Millwall, eighth – by three – both post more favourable differentials.
As such, Nathan Jones’ (pictured) men can ill afford a slip-up against Reading, who are down in 21st place. The Royals, assured of survival on 41 points, are without a win in three.
Should Luton (1/7 Top 6 Finish) draw or fall to defeat, both Boro (13/8) – two points worse off on 70 – and Millwall (25/1) – 69 – both have the chance to steal into the play-offs by the back door. The Riverside sees the visit of mid-table Preston, while the Lions will be relieved that their hosts, Bournemouth, are now secure in the automatic promotion spots.
Football Betting Odds