League One play-off odds: Black Cats favoured for Championship return
Hull and Peterborough have already booked their spots in next season’s Championship but which of the four teams will join them via the play-offs when fans will be allowed into the grounds?
Sunderland finished fourth behind Blackpool on goal difference but they are 15/8 favourites in the League One play-off odds to return to the second tier after a three-year absence.
We’re looking at all of the teams that hope to be at Wembley on May 30 and their League One play-off odds.
The Black Cats look like very shaky favourites having won just one of their last nine League One games, four of which were defeats.
Significantly, they were twice beaten by Blackpool during that run so they are probably grateful to be facing Lincoln in a two-legged play-off.
Lee Johnson reacts to today's draw and looks ahead to our play-off semi-final.
Full interview… 📺👇 pic.twitter.com/GjS8nUFf3o
— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) May 9, 2021
Charlie Wyke, League One’s second top scorer with 25 goals this season, scored a double in a 4-0 win at Sincil Bank in December but the return three months later was a much closer affair, a 1-1 draw.
Wyke got 66 minutes under his belt in the 1-1 draw with Northampton after missing the 3-1 win at Plymouth with a thigh injury while centre-back Conor McLaughlin also played a half having been expected to miss the run-in on the back of a second hernia operation.
The Seasiders have the best form of all the teams having won their last four matches without conceding a goal to finish third in the table and they are 5/2 in the League One play-off odds.
In their two encounters with Oxford their defence also held firm, winning 2-0 at the Kassam Stadium in March having played out a goalless draw at home three months earlier.
Great way to finish the season, onto the play offs now💪🏾✅ pic.twitter.com/9GRp78XLvT
— Marvin Ekpiteta (@Big_Marvv) May 10, 2021
The Tangerines concluded their season with a 1-0 victory over bottom-of-the-table Bristol Rovers after which manager Neil Critchley said: “We wanted to get that balance right between resting players and giving players minutes but also putting a strong enough team out there to win this game.
“We’ll be ready and good to go on Tuesday night and we’ll have a healthy-ish looking squad, which is all I can ask for really.”
The momentum is with Blackpool and their records against Sunderland and Oxford have been very good this season, plus they had the meanest defence in League One with just 37 goals conceded.
The Us sneaked into the top six on the final day of the regular season courtesy of a thumping win against Burton coupled with Portsmouth’s loss at home to Accrington.
Oxford also ended the campaign as League One’s third highest scorers having found the net 24 times in their last seven games, six of which were victories, including a 6-0 win at Crewe.
— Oxford United FC (@OUFCOfficial) May 11, 2021
The goals were spread throughout the team during that run although their dangerman is Matty Taylor, who struck 18 times this season.
Despite going on a goal spree during the run-in, Karl Robinson’s side failed to score against Blackpool’s stingy back line so they are 3/1 in the League One play-off odds to return to the Championship for the first time in 20 years.
The Red Imps are regarded as the dark horses in the League One play-off odds at 7/2 after a patchy end to the season which yielded just one win in their last five games.
Lincoln, who drew 1-1 twice against Sunderland in League One and the Football League Trophy earlier in the season, concluded their campaign with a goalless draw against Wimbledon.
"We have a great away record, so it's not something we're concerned about." 🗣
Michael Appleton on today's draw and the play-offs ⤵️
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) May 9, 2021
Ahead of the first leg against the Black Cats, manager Michael Appleton said: “Against them here, we should have been two up before they scored.
“But in the two games up there, I thought we were good. In the league game I thought we were excellent and we were disappointed to only come away with a point.
“It just goes to show how far we’ve come. Hopefully, over the next nine or 10 days, we can get ourselves mentally and physically prepared for what’s going to be an exciting game.”
League One play-off Info
When: May 18, 19, 21, 22 and 30
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication