What’s left to decide on the final EFL weekend?
Odds and preview on this season’s final EFL weekend
The English Football League has reached its regular season climax, with the final game of the season on the calendar for the Championship, League One and League Two.
While some teams have already sealed their fate for next season, whether that be through automatic promotion, league champions or relegation to a lower league, there’s still the small matter of title deciders, relegation fights and playoff places to decide on the final weekend.
In the 46th and final game of the EFL season, we look ahead to see the permutations in each tier of the football league ahead of a hectic and potentially emotional weekend…
The automatic promotion spots have been sealed, as have the relegation places, but there’s still a lot to play for in the Championship.
The league title is still up for grabs, and one remaining playoff place is being fought between three hopefuls.
Norwich City have had the title in their grasp for a long time, with matchweek 31 the last time they weren’t the table-toppers.
Four successive draws has prolonged their wait to pick up the Championship title, but they’re still odds on 1/6 favourites to claim the silverware despite a tricky away match against Aston Villa on the final day. A point seals the title for Daniel Farke’s side.
Sheffield United sit three points back from the Farke’s Canaries, but already boast a superior goal difference. They travel to Stoke City on the last day of the season, in a match which also looks tough on paper. Chris Wilder’s Blades are 7/2 to pinch the title from the East Anglian side. United will claim the title if Norwich lose at Villa and they can beat the Potters.
Frank Lampard’s Derby County had the chance to all but seal their playoff place against Swansea City on Wednesday, but they were held to a 1-1 draw. thatmeans they’ll battle it out with Middlesbrough and Bristol City to claim the final playoff spot.
The Rams are still in the driving seat with 71 points on the board already, one clear of Boro and two clear of the Robins in eighth.
Derby face fourth-placed West Bromwich Albion on the final day, with Boro up against already relegated Rotherham United and Bristol City travelling to Humberside to face Hull City.
Lampard’s side will seal their own fate with a win, but can still secure sixth if they pick up a point and Middlesbrough lose. Bristol City won’t overtake Derby even if the Rams only pick up a point and the Robins win, unless there’s an eight-goal swing in favour of the Bristolians at the KCOM Stadium. The Rams are 4/9 to clinch sixth.
Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough side are best placed to capitalise if Derby do slip up against the Baggies. They’ll clinch sixth with a win in Rotherham providing Lampard’s side fail to pick up three points. They’re 11/5 outsiders to make it to the playoffs.
Lee Johnson’s Bristol City are the 12/1 long shots to grab sixth. It’s out of their hands, but they need to ensure they beat Hull City if they stand any chance. Derby would need to lose, and Boro would need to drop points for Johnson’s side to make it in, and even then, it would rely on a heavy defeat for Derby and City thrashing Hull.
It’s tight at the top with first and second in the division only separated by goal difference. Sixth spot is still up for grabs too, with two highly-motivated sides looking to secure a shot at a Wembley playoff final.
Five teams are still fighting for their League One safety, and with three relegation spots still to be decided and two relegation battlers playing each other, it’s bound to be a tight and tense weekend.
Luton Town have held down top spot in the league since 26th January, but two defeats in their last four league matches means Barnsley have been able to draw level on points.
The Hatters only need to match the result of the Tykes at the weekend to secure the title, providing Barnsley don’t thrash Bristol Rovers and overturn the +4 goal difference Luton currently boast.
Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United are within touching distance of the playoffs, but only one can make it. They’ve both got tough fixtures this weekend, playing other sides who have narrowly avoided clinching a playoff place.
Sixth-placed Doncaster host eighth-placed Coventry City knowing that a point may not be enough to secure post-season football.
Seventh-placed Peterborough host ninth-placed Burton Albion, with only a win being good enough to leave them with a chance of a playoff spot. Doncaster have a +9 goal difference on the Posh, so Darren Ferguson knows his side need to win.
Not long ago, almost half of the sides in the league were still in with a chance of being relegated to League Two.
However, on the final weekend, five teams battle it out for three relegation spots. AFC Wimbledon sit in 19th currently, and face already-relegated Bradford City knowing only three points will ensure their safety due to their goal difference being worse than others around them. They’re favourites to avoid the drop, with our traders pricing them at 7/1 to get relegated.
Southend United currently sit outside of the relegation spots on goal difference, but they face arguably the trickiest game this weekend. They host Sunderland who are still battling to secure third in the league. Only a win will do for the Shrimpers, and for that reason they’re odds on at 4/11 to drop down to League Two.
One of Plymouth Argyle and Scunthorpe United are destined to go down this weekend, as the pair face off in a relegation six-pointer. For both sides, only a win will suffice and even then it might not be enough to survive the drop. Scunthorpe are in the less favourable position in 23rd, a point back from Plymouth in 21st. Argyle are more likely to avoid the drop at 4/7, with Scunthorpe the heavy favourites to be relegated at 1/8.
Walsall have it all to do still too, and even though they’ve got a more favourable tie than other against Shrewsbury Town, they’re still second-favourites at 1/6 for relegation as they’re already a point off the pace.
Lincoln City have already been crowned champions of League Two and currently sit seven points clear of Bury in second who have also claimed their spot in League One next season.
There’s still one final playoff spot up for grabs too, with five teams in with a shot at clinching it.
And at the bottom, the final relegation spot from the football league will be contested between only two.
Mansfield Town and Milton Keynes Dons occupy third and fourth in the league respectively, both on the same number of points. The fixture generator has provided us with a thrilling end to the season too, with the Stags travelling to Stadium:MK on the final day of the season to face Milton Keynes.
A point will do for Mansfield as they already have better goal difference, and for that reason they’re 2/5 favourites to claim the final automatic promotion spot.
MK know they have it all to do, and they’ve got the benefit of having the home crowd behind them. That could prove to be a 12th man, and with only a win putting them up automatically, they won’t want to leave it to the lottery of the playoffs. They’re outsiders to claim third spot at 4/9.
Newport County are in the driving seat to claim a playoff spot, and they’ve got a favourable match against Morecambe on the final weekend too. They’re currently sat on 0 goal difference though, so if they don’t win, it means they could still miss out on the playoffs with a point. They’re 1/3 to clinch seventh.
Exeter City will be the only side that can overtake Newport in seventh if the Exiles claim a point. The Grecians face Forest Green Rovers away from home on the final day, who are still battling to secure fourth spot and home advantage in the playoffs. Only a win will do, and they’re 13/5 to claim the last playoff spot.
Colchester United, Carlisle United and Stevenage are all rank outsiders to claim the last spot, with destiny far from their grasps. Colchester face a hard game away at league champions Lincoln City, who will want to sign off in front of their fans in style. Carlisle could be best placed to challenge for seventh should other results go their way, as they face bottom of the league Yeovil Town, where as Stevenage play Cheltenham at home.
Sol Campbell has done a remarkable job at Macclesfield Town, with the Silkmen seemingly down and out before the former England international took the helm.
All of a sudden, they’re in the driving seat to stay in the football league. They’re two points clear of Notts County in 23rd with a superior goal difference too, meaning Campbell’s side only need a point to secure their football league future. They’re at home to Cambridge united on the final day, who have been woeful on their travels and only narrowly avoided the drop themselves. Macclesfield are 6/1 outsiders to get relegated.
Notts County face an away day in the final game of the season. They travel to Swindon Town knowing that only three points will be good enough, and even then, they might not maintain their football league status. They’re 1/12 to get relegated to the National League.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.