Pick Sunderland in Premier League Battle

Jane Barrett
By , Updated on: May 10, 2023 08:00 PM
Pick Sunderland in Premier League Battle

Sunderland is the big name in the Championship promotion race and it looks like a good pick to return to the Premier League.

Who do Bettors Favor?

Checking out the top-rated sportsbooks it is clear that that bettors favor Middlesbrough to come out of the playoffs as the top team, although not by a wide margin. Boro is priced as a +160 chance to win the playoffs, while Sunderland and Luton are +275 and Coventry is the underdog.

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OSB Championship Playoffs Betting Briefing

The Championship is not the only European second-tier football tournament with a playoff system, but it is arguably the most prestigious. Promotion to the Premier League is estimated to be worth up to £250 million in additional revenue, and teams that manage to spend more than one season there can earn more.

The playoffs include the teams that finished third through sixth in the Championship, and as you might expect, the most successful teams have been the third-place finishers.

In the 34 years that the current playoff system has existed, 12 third-place teams have gone on to win the playoffs, while six sixth-place teams have earned promotion. Burnley and Sheffield United have already been promoted, leaving Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Luton, and Coventry in contention for the May 27 Championship Playoff Final.

Luton Strong on Defense

Soccer fans outside the United Kingdom may not be familiar with the name Luton Town, as the club has not played in the English Premier League since 1992.

It was promoted to the Championship in 2019, but the arrival of new manager Nathan Jones at the end of the 2019/20 season took the club to the next stage. This season, despite Jones' departure in November, it improved further to finish in third place.

Luton's success is due to its incredibly tight defense rather than its offense. Only Burnley had a better defensive record, but Lutont scored fewer goals than the other five teams in the top six.

A 14-game unbeaten streak to close out the regular season was impressive, but in knockout football, the ability to score at any time is essential, and it is asking a lot of its defense to handle the pressure of the playoffs on its own. Some bettors would argue that +275 is a steep price for a third-place team, and there is ample historical evidence to support this claim, but I have a feeling that Luton will lack goals.

Middlesbrough’s Steady Climb

One of the most recognizable names in English football, Middlesbrough has spent 15 seasons in the Premier League, although it hasn't been there since 2017 and hasn't had consecutive seasons in the top flight since 2009.

The club has also experienced its share of drama, and this season has been no exception. Chris Wilder was dismissed from his position as manager in October, with the club sitting in 22nd place in the table. Since then, Michael Carrick has led the club steadily up the table, breaking into the top six at the end of 2022 and the top four the following month.

Boro's problem is that it enters the playoffs in terrible form. It concluded the season with two losses and a draw, including poor showings against Luton and Coventry. It also has the second-worst defensive record among the top ten and appears to be a poor betting favorite.

Coventry Revival Continues

Similar to Luton, Coventry has experienced a remarkable revival. After two periods of homelessness and relegation to the fourth tier, the club has finished in the top ten of the Championship for three consecutive seasons prior to cracking the top six this year.

Longtime manager Mark Robins was under pressure after a seven-game losing streak to start the season, and there was another difficult stretch in December and January, but the club finished the season strongly by losing only one of its final 17 games. However, like Luton, Coventry's squad is one of the weakest in the division and may struggle against opponents with greater financial resources.

Pick Sunderland for Promotion

Under new manager Tony Mowbray, who is renowned for his attractive style of play and is a veteran of the Championship, Sunderland has quickly progressed to a top-six contender.

The club's season has not been easy, and it entered the final weekend outside of the playoff places; however, a 3-0 victory at Preston propelled it into the top six. Good form heading into the playoffs is always a positive sign, and Mowbray's team is undefeated in nine games, thanks in part to the free-scoring style that often prevails in these high-pressure contests. On Wearside, expectations will be high, but Sunderland is the best betting pick to earn promotion.

”Sunderland” To Win Promotion

Best Online Sportsbooks to Bet on the Championship

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Meet the author

Jane Barrett

With over 15 years of experience, Jane Barrett is a respected journalist in the sports betting industry. Jane has lent her expertise to major outlets including Betfair, ESPN, and Sporting Life during her prolific career. As a leading writer covering the sports bettin...

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