Championship Playoff Final – The richest game in English football

John Eustace celebrates scoring the winner against QPR earlier this year, will he celebrate again today?

John Eustace celebrates scoring the winner against QPR earlier this year, will he celebrate again today?

The Championship Playoff Final is billed as the richest game in football with the winners of this 90 minute clash at the home of English football – Wembley Stadium – receiving a place in the Premier League and it’s vastness of riches. In recent years it was said that victory in this match was worth at least £60m, but with a new television rights deal having come into play last year the figure is even higher now, with the side finishing bottom of the Premier League in the 2013/14 season in Cardiff City claiming £74m.

Today’s match sees the third clash of Derby County and Queens Park Rangers this season and the sides that finished third and fourth in the league will be desperate to get their hands on the bag of gold awaiting them. Derby have been working from a small budget this season with less than £1m spent this season on transfers while QPR need to justify the massive amount of money spent since being taken over. Who’ll emerge victorious at full time?

Championship Playoff Final Betting Odds:

Derby – 2.18

Draw (and extra time) – 3.05

QPR – 3.10

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Derby come into this final in outstanding form having won seven and drawn one of their final eight matches of the season, including winning 2-1 away at Brighton and then recording a 4-1 victory on home soil against the same side in the playoff semi finals. They have scored 90 goals in their 46 regular season games and two playoff matches this season as they finished as the league’s top scorers. Former England manager Steve McClaren has set them up as an attacking side since taking over from Nigel Clough at the end of September and despite their lack of experience in big games, like this Championship Playoff Final today, they will fear nobody and will be sure to use their vast arsenal of attacking players to go and take the game by the throat as their gameplan to ensure that it is they who are playing in the Premier League next season.

QPR are the more experienced of the two sides in these type of matches having splashed out so much money on top level players that have played at World Cups, won cup finals and have been promoted to the Premier League both automatically and via the playoffs. However, they struggled to overcome Wigan in the semi finals drawing 0-0 at the DW Stadium before drawing 1-1 in normal time at Loftus Road as they needed an extra time goal to secure their passage to Wembley this afternoon. They ended the season with just two wins in their final six games and have lost three of their last eight matches before today. They have a better defensive record than Derby, but do not score as many goals so will they be able to use the skills of their backline to ensure they are in with a chance of snatching victory against the free scoring Derby side?

The sides have shared a victory apiece when they have met this season with both teams recording one goal victories on home soil, and both of these wins came when they were one of the more dominant sides in the league. I feel that despite their lack of big game experience Derby are the better and more complete footballing side of these two finalists and that they are deserving of being the favourites. I see this match being another close game, but I am backing them to secure a return to the Premier League since their ill-fated 11 point season in 2007/08.

Back Derby to win this Championship Playoff Final against QPR and return to the Premier League @ 2.18 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

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The Foxes Favoured to Extend Their Championship Lead Tonight

Anthony Knockaert level's the score at 1-1 during the last Leicester v Derby meeting

Anthony Knockaert level’s the score at 1-1 during the last Leicester v Derby meeting

Tonight’s opening Championship match of the weekend sees a top drawer clash between the two form sides in the league that sit first and fourth in the Championship table. They have both won four and drawn one of their last six Championship matches, with the visitors to the King Power Stadium sitting top of the form table. They have conceded three fewer goals and scored one more than Leicester in their last six league games, but will they be able to turn this slight better record into victory this evening?

GR88.com believe that it will home advantage and league position that gives the advantage for this Leicester v Derby game tonight rather than a slight advantage in goals scored and conceded. The match odds for this Leicester City v Derby County game are as follows.

Leicester v Derby Odds:

Leicester Victory – 1.87

Draw – 3.35

Derby Victory – 3.65

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

Leicester are looking for a third straight victory over Derby County this evening as they defeated the Rams in the league and Capital One Cup earlier this season before former manager Nigel Clough was removed and replaced by ex England manager Steve McClaren. Leicester edged both those games by a single goal, but with Derby showing a massive resurgence under McClaren the Derby County fans will be hoping for a change in fortunes this evening.

They have claimed five victories and one draw in seven away matches under the former FC Twente and Middlesbrough boss, including winning four of their last five away day games with nine goals scored and just three conceded. They have flown up the table under McClaren and sit just seven points behind Leicester in the league, with second place ahead of QPR and Burnley available this evening if they can upset the odds and claim all three points.

However, winning at the King Power Stadium will not be so easy as only Nottingham Forest have claimed victory here all season in 12 matches and the Foxes have won nine and drawn two of the other 11 games in front of their own fans this season. They are impressive at home this season and with ten goals scored in the four home games since losing to Forest, also a former club of Steve McClaren, they will be confident of finding the net this evening’s top of the table meeting.

I feel that this game will be closer than the odds suggest as both sides are equal in abilities and talent at the moment, as evidenced by the form table over the last six games, and with both sides having suffered FA Cup exits to Premier League opposition at the weekend with Stoke claiming a 2-1 win over Leicester and Derby falling 2-0 to Chelsea, they will both be desperate to return to winning ways tonight. I can see this match ending in a draw as it is possible that these two sides will cancel each other out, but if either side is to take all three points I can see it being the away side as they cannot afford to lose this match if they are to challenge for the title.

Back this Foxes v Rams match to end in either an away win or a draw @ 1.88 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.