The Championship’s automatic promotion race and relegation battle may have concluded ahead of the final day of the league season, but the play-off scramble remains wide open, with five teams vying for the final two spots in the top six. Millwall and Blackburn are two of them, but they can’t make the cut simultaneously so both will feel only a win will do. Expect chaos.
Lions Crucial Win
Had the Lions failed to win at Blackpool last week, they would have been relying on multiple results elsewhere to secure a top-six spot but with the 3-2 victory – thanks to a Tom Bradshaw brace and a Zian Flemming penalty – Gary Rowett’s side are in the driving seat and listed at 8/13 to reach the play-offs with Paddy Power. If you fancy going even further then you can find them at 7/1 with William Hill to win the play-offs and earn promotion to the Premier League.
Nonetheless, goal difference means that a final-day draw might not be enough to extend their season, and would leave them relying on failure to win from Sunderland at Preston, and West Brom at Swansea. The fact they have won just 1 of their last 4 home league games does make you wonder if the odds of 19/20 with William Hill on a home win here represent any value. Even the odds of 11/4 on a draw with Bet365 look dubious.
The Londoners have flexibility in their favour: Rowett recruited versatile players in the summer in George Honeyman, Andreas Voglsammer, Duncan Watmore, Oli Burke and Callum Styles – though Honeyman is currently injured.
Those versatile operators, along with stalwart Ryan Leonard, allow the Lions to switch formation to keep opponents guessing, and that unpredictability has been a key part of their form this season. One thing has remained consistent this season though and that’s Bradshaw’s scoring form. The Wales international has bagged 17 league goals this season and after his two goals in his last outing he’s a decent shout for anytime scorer at 15/8 with William Hill.
Performance Without Product for Rovers
An eight-game winless streak has seen Blackburn slip from being prime candidates for a play-off spot to outsiders going into the final day when Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side will need to win and hope West Brom and Sunderland fail to do so. It’s looking like a big challenge for Rovers who are available at 12/1 to qualify for the play-offs with BetVictor. They are firm outsiders at 50/1 with the same bookmaker to earn promotion to the top flight via the play-offs.
Despite poor form on paper, Rovers have in fact been playing well, controlling large portions of their games and creating lots of chances, without always having the finishing touch. The odds being offered on a Blackburn win at 3/1 with BetUK does offer some temptation. The draw no bet option at 15/8 with Paddy Power is also a bet worth considering.
Ben Brereton-Diaz is out of contract this summer, and one of the reasons the Lancashire club opted not to cash in was because they felt he could provide a clinical goalscoring presence, having been joint-third top marksman in the Championship last season with 22 – but it’s backfired. The Chilean has only managed 12 in 2022/23 and is eight games without a goal at the crucial stage of the season so his price of 13/5 with Betfair to score anytime seems a little short.
Nonetheless, the absence of one obvious goalscoring threat allows them to create through rotations between the attacking quartet of Brereton, Ryan Hedges, Tyrhys Dolan and Sammie Szmodicz, with opponents having to try to stop all of those players rather than one go-to, marked man.
The Tactics Board
Blackburn were unlucky not to get all three points against Luton last week, but if Lewis Travis and Adam Wharton can run the midfield in the same vein, and if Hayden Carter and Dominic Hyam can sustain the levels that have earned the defenders plenty of recognition at Ewood Park, they have a chance. They simply need their attack to bring an extra layer of ruthlessness, which has eluded them in recent weeks.
That’s not to say it will be an easy assignment by any means: the Den will be a cauldron of noise with so much at stake, and it’ll be an intimidating atmosphere for Tomasson’s young guns, but start strongly and they could spring a surprise.
Millwall vs Blackburn Betting Tips
It’s understandable that Millwall are favourites, but 3/1 quotes on the away win seem generous, given how close these teams are in the table, how well Blackburn have played in recent games, and the fact that Millwall have lost two of their last three league matches. You also need to look at the head-to-head meeting stat that shows Millwall are without a win in the last 5 encounters between these two sides.
It’s likely to be an entertaining, end-to-end game, though, with a draw suiting neither side. As such, over 2.5 goals scored looks appealing at 20/23 with Betfair, while the Blackburn win and both teams to score can be backed at 6/1 with the same bookie.
Over 2.5 Goals Scored @ 20/23 with Betfair
Blackburn to Win and Both Teams to Score @ 6/1 with Betfair
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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