Bournemouth vs Brentford
This may be sixth against third, but most consider this tie to have the two strongest teams in the Championship playoffs. Bournemouth have a talented squad who are bidding for a quick return to the Premier League, but can they see off Brentford?
The Bees lost last season’s playoff final and they finished third for the second successive season. They’ve become a real force at this level, with Thomas Frank bringing them a consistency to go with their impressive attacking flair. That makes this tie a huge affair, but who will edge the first encounter?
Bournemouth need a boost
When these two met at the Vitality in April Bournemouth were the form side in the division. The Cherries had won seven in a row at that point, but their 1-0 loss to Brentford was the first of three consecutive losses to finish the season in sixth.
The Cherries failed to score in any of those losses and that’s brought them into the playoffs in a tough spot. Not only do they need a boost, but they have to overcome the fact that they lost home and away to Brentford in the regular season.
Brentford to prove too strong
While Bournemouth have struggled, Brentford are looking strong coming into the playoffs. The Bees have gone 12 games unbeaten and they finished the campaign with four consecutive wins behind them. On top of that, they won four of their visits to the top seven this term (D2 L1).
Bournemouth secured eight of their 13 home wins against sides placed 15th or below, so this big game could prove too much for them. With the game expected to be close there’s great value to be found in the Draw No bet market, with Brentford our pick to edge this one.
The tension in the air at the Vitality can’t be overstated and as a result it’s hard to predict a thriller. The Bees have seen under 2.5 goals in five of their last six and we’re backing them to narrowly take the first leg with a 1-0 correct score prediction.