English Football League Final Preview: Huddersfield Town AFC vs. Reading FC

 Huddersfield Town AFC players celebrating

Kevin Stott

Sunday, May 28, 2017 2:14 PM GMT

Sunday, May. 28, 2017 2:14 PM GMT

The third-place and fifth-place clubs in the English Championship—Reading and Huddersfield Town—try to join Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United by qualifying for the top-flight EPL next season. Is taking the Under 2½ the wisest soccer pick?

These Are The Things, The Things That Dreams are Made Of...

Imagine a Triple-A Baseball team playing in a game in which winning would promote them to MLB. Or an NBA D-League in a do-or-die game which would either catapult them up to the NBA to dribble with the Golden State Warriors or the Cleveland Cavaliers or leave them playing the Maine Red Claws or the Iowa Energy. Well that’s almost how they do it in major Soccer leagues in Europe and the English Premier League is no exception, already relegating 18th-20th-place clubs Hull City, Middlesbrough and Sunderland and seeing Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United having been promoted to the lucrative top flight of English football.

So the yearly EFL Playoffs and EFL Championship Play-off Final from Wembley Stadium are always important sporting events by their nature, if not totally understood or anticipated by much of the sports gambling world. When Reading and Huddersfield meet in London on Monday (BeIN, 10 a.m. ET), the winner really will matter.

 

Sky Bet Championship Promotion Odds (May 27, at Bet365)

Huddersfield Town -137

Reading +120

 

 Huddersfield Town AFC vs. Reading FC

Monday, May 29, 10 a.m. ET (BeIN)

The prolific Yann Kermorgant, Garath McCleary, John Swift, and 3rd-place Reading (26-7-13, 68 GF-64 GA) ousted 6th-place Fulham in their two-legged Semifinal series, They won 2-1 on aggregate as Frenchman Kermorgant came through for Reading and Manager Jaap Stam with the lone goal at Home in Leg 2 to send the Royals onward and hopefully upward.

In Regular Season play, GK Ali Al Habsi and Reading won 1-0 at home in September at Madejski Stadium in Reading while Huddersfield Town won the February return leg by the same 1-0 scoreline with Terriers MF Philip Billing scoring the match’s lone goal at Huddersfield's John Smith’s Stadium.

Fifth-place Huddersfield Town (25-6-15, 56 GF-58 GA) had a much more perilous route to this point with the Terriers—who can actually make the Premier League while having a negative Goal Differential in the Regular Season in the Championship (-2)—needed a PK Shootout (4-3) against 4th-place Sheffield Wednesday after a 1-1 scoreline. Manager David Wagner and Huddersfield Town are led by Elias Kachunga, Nahki Wells, and Isaiah Brown.

 

'Under' Probably Worth the While if You Can Find 2½ in Totals

The Under is 7-3 L10 EFL Finals with a run of four straight (1, 2, 1, 1) after three consecutive Overs (3, 6, 5), preceded by three Unders in a Row (1, 1, 1). So more goals were scored in the three Overs from 2011 to 2013 (14) than in the seven 'Unders' combined (8) over the last decade in this. And there have been 2 goals or less in 6 of the L10 Regular Season Championship meetings between these two. Lifetime, Striker Lewis Grabban (+360 Anytime Goalscorer, Bet365) and Reading are 10-4-8 (28 GF-26 GA) in all competitions against Huddersfield Town but just 4-2-8 (15 GF-21 GA) in Championship play.

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48 matches, with one to go…

Six significant @ReadingFC wins on the road to @wembleystadium and the #PlayOffFinal >> https://t.co/6c5gRnrPXS pic.twitter.com/30JOA8pvPo

— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) May 25, 2017
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The time of the first goal in this feast-or-famine showdown will mean everything for the club scoring it, the pace of the game as well as the Total Under’s chances. And a 0-0 Halftime scoreline wouldn’t surprise anyone (0-0 Halftime Score, +150, Bet365) and may be worth a look in the props marketplace on Monday. GK Danny Ward and Huddersfield Town are 4-1-1 the L6 meetings, outscoring the Royals, 10-5 in the process although the neutral Site, huge stage, and crucial situation will trump any historical handicapping data.

Creativity on the attack should be the key with few quality attempts on goal a real possibility in such a nervy spot with both sides unfamiliar with the big Wembley stage. Although the Terriers have fared well against Reading and are the oddsmakers favorites here, going against a team with Kermorgant on it just doesn’t feel right in this razor-thin spot.

 

Predicted Final Score: Huddersfield Town 1 Reading 0Free Soccer Pick: Under 2½ -182 at IntertopsFree Soccer Prop Pick: Halftime Score 0-0 +150 at Intertops
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