BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Trends point to a tight playoff final at Wembley

IN case you had not heard quite a lot is at stake in the Championship playoff final at Wembley on Saturday.

I wish people would stop going on and on about how much money can be made from getting into the Premier League.

The fans of Hull and Sheffield Wednesday do not care one bit about it and nor should journalists.

This is all about the glory of football. Getting back to the Premier League. Being on Match of the Day. Getting beat 4-0 at Manchester City next season. That kind of thing.

I am not expecting a classic by any stretch of the imagination - the last meeting was a 0-0 draw - and a similarly low-scoring game is in store at Wembley.

Seven of the last 15 Championship playoff finals have finished 1-0 so I am going to back both teams win by that scoreline in what looks to be my shrewdest bet of the season.

I also like 1-0 in the Champions League final with outsiders Atletico Madrid beating Real Madrid at the San Siro.


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Match in Focus

14:00 TODAY ITV

France v Ireland

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • France have won 11 of their last 13 matches
Expert verdict
Ireland have revenge on their minds as they seek to erase memories of Thierry Henry's handball in a World Cup qualifying playoff clash in November 2009. They deserved their 1-0 victory over an under-strength Italy on Thursday but will find it tougher against France, who will strive to leave their unconvincing group stage performances behind them.