How Do The End of Season Playoffs Shape Up Across The Football League?

By Ian John
May 9, 2023

Last weekend saw the end of the football league season across the bottom three leagues of the Football League in England.

After the final set of games, we now know which teams are promoted and relegated automatically from each of the three divisions, plus we also know the four teams from the Championship, League One and League Two, plus we know one of the two teams coming into the league from the National League.

In this special playoff preview, we will recap how the season finished across the three Football League divisions, plus the National League, as well as giving you the latest odds (from bet365 Sport) on who will win the playoffs in each division.

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So without any further ado, let’s begin our look through the different divisions, starting with the Championship and the battle to join the Premier League for next season.

The Championship – 2022/23 Season Round Up

Under new manager Vincent Kompany, Burnley bounced back from relegation from the Premier League last season to amass 101 points, finishing ten points clear of the second place team to claim The Championship trophy and with it promotion back to the Premier League.

Sheffield United also join them back in the top flight after manager Paul Heckingbottom steered the Blades into a comfortable second place finish, 11 points ahead of the team in third.

Luton Town’s remarkable rise through the divisions saw them finish third in the Championship with Middlesbrough, Coventry City and Sunderland also reaching the playoffs, the latter confirming their place in the end of season tournament after a dramatic final day which saw Millwall and West Brom falter allowing Sunderland to take the final playoff spot on goal difference from Blackburn.

At the other end of the table, Reading, Blackpool and Wigan Athletic will drop down into League One after being relegated.

  • Promoted – Burnley, Sheffield United
  • Playoffs – Luton Town, Middlesbrough, Coventry City, Sunderland
  • Relegated – Reading, Blackpool, Wigan Athletic
  • Leading Goalscorer – Chuba Akpom (Middlesbrough) – 28 goals

Championship Playoff Semi Finals

1st Leg Ties

Saturday 13th May

Sunderland v Luton Town (5.30pm)

Sunday 14th May

Coventry City v Middlesbrough (12pm)

2nd Leg Ties

Tuesday 16th May

Luton Town v Sunderland (8pm)

Wednesday 17th May

Middlesbrough v Coventry City (8pm)

Championship Playoff Winner Odds From Bet365 Sport

  • Middlesbrough – 13/8 fav.
  • Luton Town – 11/4
  • Sunderland – 11/4
  • Coventry City – 7/2

The 2022/23 Championship Playoff Final will take place on Saturday 27th May 2023 at Wembley Stadium, kicking off at 4.45pm UK Time.

Our View & Tip

I expect both these semi-finals to be close and I think at least one will require extra time and maybe penalties to decide the winner. I fancy Coventry and Luton to make the final though and I think the Sky Blues are great value at 7/2 to clinch the final promotion slot.

League One – 2022/23 Season Roundup

In one of the most competitive and exciting League One seasons for many years, Plymouth Argyle’s outstanding finish to the season saw them pip free scoring Ipswich Town to the title after the Tractor Boys could only secure a 2-2 draw on the final day of the season away to Fleetwood Town.

Plymouth’s 3-1 win over Port Vale therefore being enough for the Devon side to clinch top spot and promotion to the Championship along with Ipswich.

That meant Sheffield Wednesday, who finished just two points behind Ipswich, could only earn a playoff spot along with Barnsley, Bolton and Peterborough United who clinched a playoff spot ahead of Derby, who lost to Sheffield Wednesday on the final day to allow the Posh into the final playoff spot.

MK Dons, Morecambe, Accrington Stanley joined Forest Green Rovers in League Two next season.

  • Promoted – Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town
  • Playoffs – Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Bolton, Peterborough United
  • Relegated – MK Dons, Morecambe, Accrington Stanley, Forest Green Rovers
  • Leading Goalscorer – Conor Chaplin (Ipswich), Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough) – 26 goals

League One Playoff Semi Finals

1st Leg Ties

Friday 12th May

Peterborough United v Sheffield Wednesday (8pm)

Saturday 13th May

Bolton Wanderers v Barnsley (3pm)

2nd Leg Ties

Thursday 18th May

Sheffield Wednesday v Peterborough (8pm)

Friday 19th May

Barnsley v Bolton Wanderers (8pm)

League One Playoff Winner Odds From Bet365 Sport

  • Sheffield Wednesday – 6/4 fav.
  • Barnsley – 5/2
  • Bolton Wanderers – 7/2
  • Peterborough United – 4/1

The 2022/23 League One Playoff Final will take place at 3pm on Monday 29th May at Wembley Stadium.

Our View & Tip

My gut feeling here is that we will see an all-Yorkshire final at Wembley between Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley and after beating the Owls twice in the League this season, I’d back Barnsley at 5/2 to make it three with a shock win at Wembley to earn that final promotion spot.  

League Two 2022/23 Season Roundup

After making an excellent start to the season, Leyton Orient kept up that kind of form throughout the majority of the season and front-run the race for promotion very well, securing promotion several weeks before the end of the season.

Stevenage followed them on the penultimate day of the season, but Northampton, after a home defeat to Bradford, finally secured promotion with a 1-0 win at Tranmere Rovers on the final day.

That left Stockport, Carlisle, Bradford City and Salford City to clinch playoffs, Salford doing so by a better goal difference of one over 8th placed Mansfield Town.

Rochdale and Hartlepool drop out of the league after finishing in the bottom two, while Bradford City target man Andy Cook topped the scoring charts with 28 goals.

  • Promoted – Leyton Orient, Stevenage, Northampton Town
  • Playoffs – Stockport County, Carlisle United, Bradford City, Salford City
  • Relegated – Rochdale, Hartlepool United
  • Leading Goalscorer – Andy Cook (Bradford City) – 28 goals

League Two Playoff Semi Finals

1st Leg Ties

Saturday 13th May

Salford City v Stockport United (7.45pm)

Sunday 14th May

Bradford City v Carlisle United (7pm)

2nd Leg Ties

Saturday 20th May

Stockport County v Salford City (12.30pm)

Carlisle United v Bradford City (3pm)

League Two Playoff Winner Odds From Bet365 Sport

  • Stockport County – 7/4 fav.
  • Carlisle United – 11/4
  • Bradford City – 3/1
  • Salford City – 10/3

The 2022/23 League Two Playoff final takes place on Sunday 28th May at 1.30pm at Wembley Stadium.

Our View & Tip

Arguably the toughest of the three playoffs to predict, the League Two playoffs sees Stockport as the mild favourites, None of the playoff teams are in particularly great form heading into the tournament and this is somewhat a lottery to predict but my gut feeling is here that Andy Cook’s goals could propel Bradford City to the win at 3/1.

National League 2022/23 Roundup

What an incredible season we have just had in the National League. Two teams, Wrexham and Notts County ran away from the rest resulting in an incredible battle for the single automatic promotion spot into the Football League.

In the end, it was Wrexham who pipped Notts County to top spot in the table amassing 111 points to 107 for the Magpies. Their famous American owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were delighted at the promotion and sent the team on an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas as a reward!

For County, it was the playoffs and as one of the two teams seeded into the Playoff Semi Finals, they awaited the winner of the first set of games which saw Boreham Wood beat Barnet and Bromley defeat Woking.

At the weekend we saw two dramatic Playoff Semi Final ties with Notts County coming from 2-0 down to clinch a 3-2 extra time win over Boreham Wood, while Chesterfield also required additional time to secure their own 3-2 win over Bromley.  

  • Promoted – Wrexham
  • Playoffs – Notts County, Chesterfield, Boreham Wood, Woking, Barnet, Bromley
  • Relegated – Torquay United, Yeovil Town, Scunthorpe United, Maidstone United
  • Leading Goalscorer – Macauley Langstaff (Notts County) – 42

National League Playoff Final

Saturday 13th May

Notts County v Chesterfield Town (3.30pm) at Wembley

National League Playoff Winner Odds from Bet365 Sport

  • Notts County –1/2 fav
  • Chesterfield – 6/4

Our View & Tip

Notts County fully deserve promotion after their extraordinary season and it would be hugely unfair if they didn’t go up. The football gods don’t care about unfair though but this time, I think fate will be kind and the Magpies will achieve the win and join Wrexham in the Football League.

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