Crystal Palace’s failure to secure a play-off spot at Millwall on Tuesday night has caused some movement for Bolton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Watford in bwin’s Championship promotion market.
As we correctly predicted yesterday, Palace were unable to pick up the three points which would have ensured they finish the regular season no lower than fifth place as they were held to a goalless draw by the Lions.
However, that stalemate at the Den means Ian Holloway’s men will now face a nervy final-day clash with Peterborough United – who are fighting for their lives at the other end of the table – at Selhurst Park.
Palace’s promotion odds are unchanged at 4/1 despite their disappointment against Millwall but defeat to Posh could result in the ultimate heartbreak for a team who looked real contenders for automatic promotion at the turn of the year.
Bolton and Forest are just two points further back in sixth and seventh, meaning they could pip Palace to the play-offs if the Londoners lose and they see off Blackpool and Leicester City respectively on Saturday.
Nevertheless, punters wanting to back Palace should take our 4-1 – which would return £100 for anyone successfully using their free £20 bet after registering – as no other bookmaker can beat this price.
The Eagles’ slip-up saw Bolton trimmed from 4/1 to 7/2 to make an immediate return to the top flight, probably due to their improved chances of claiming fifth place and avoiding whoever finishes third in the play-off semi-finals.
However, Palace’s point at the Den has seen Forest pushed out from 8/1 to 9/1 in the promotion market, with eighth-placed Leicester – who will snatch sixth if they win the huge east Midlands derby at the City Ground and Bolton fail to beat Blackpool – remaining at 16/1.
Meanwhile, Hull and Watford have seen their odds of playing Premier League football next season move in opposite directions after last night’s result in south-east London.
One of the two will secure automatic promotion on Saturday, with the Tigers leading Gianfranco Zola’s men by a solitary point going into their final game against champions Cardiff City at the KC Stadium.
Hull are now at a market-leading 2/5, having been 4/11 earlier in the week, while Watford, who must better the Tigers’ result when they welcome Leeds United, have been cut from 5/6 to 4/5.
The draw between Millwall and Palace also means Brighton and Hove Albion will finish fourth and the Seagulls are unmoved at 5/2 to make it all the way to Wembley and clinch promotion.