WEEKEND BETTING: Preston North End’s odds off beating the Owls

Preston boss Alex Neil wants victory over Sheffield Wednesday
Preston boss Alex Neil wants victory over Sheffield Wednesday

32Red’s betting expert Jack Milner takes a look the weekend’s big games in the Championship as the race for the play-offs hots up

Preston boss Alex Neil had mixed emotions over the Easter weekend, with his side ending a torrid run of form with a thumping 4-0 defeat of already-relegated Ipswich.

Have a bet with 32Red this weekend

Have a bet with 32Red this weekend

But PNE followed that with Monday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat to Lancashire rivals Wigan at the DW Stadium.

The Lilywhites boss has tasked his side with achieving a top-half finish and three points at the weekend will go a long way to ensuring North End finish the campaign in the ‘right’ half of the table.

32Red make PNE the 6/4 favourites when bidding to continue their excellent home record at Deepdale for Sheffield Wednesday’s visit across the Pennines on Saturday; the visitors 5/2 and the draw 2/1.

Official sponsors 32Red have a range of specials for the game, including 7/2 for PNE to be leading at both half-time and full-time and 4/1 to beat Wednesday to nil.

Callum Robinson netted twice on his return from injury against Ipswich and I expect him to be a constant threat. Back him at 11/2 with 32Red to score anytime in a home win, and 6/1 to break the deadlock at Deepdale.

The Championship play-off picture has been blown wide-open thanks to Leeds’ recent slip-ups and Aston Villa’s incredible 10-game winning sequence, which has seen the pair look increasingly likely to meet in next month’s play-off final at Wembley.

Leeds are now odds-against to be playing Premier League football next term after seemingly missing out on automatic promotion.

The Whites threw away a lead to lose against the 10 men of Wigan last Friday. That defeat, coupled with Sheffield United’s three-point cushion in second place and far superior goal difference, means they look set to rely on the play-offs.

A solitary point separates the trio of Derby, Middlesbrough and Bristol City, with the latter two meeting in a huge six-pointer at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

The Robins do have a game in hand however, but are nevertheless seen as the underdogs of the trio for both a play-off spot and indeed promotion (9/4 and 14/1) over the 32Red sponsored sides of Derby (11/10 and 7/1) and Boro (2/1 and 12/1) respectively.

Bristol City are 9/4 to be in the play-offs, but would surely struggle against a Leeds side brimming with quality in a two- legged semi-final, hence why the Robins are 14/1 for promotion as opposed to 6/4 with 32Red for their Yorkshire counterparts.

A lot will depend on Saturday’s encounter at Ashton Gate with Bristol City the marginal 11/8 favourites to beat Derby on home soil; The Rams 2/1 and the draw 5/2.

A point would suit Boro who will fancy their chances of claiming all three points when hosting a Reading side with little left to play for when travelling to The Riverside at the weekend; 8/13 favourites with official sponsors 32Red, the visitors 4/1 and the draw 11/4.

No side will carry more momentum into the play-offs than Aston Villa, with Dean Smith’s side winning their last 10 league games on the bounce. That run of form has seen them shorten to 15/8 from 7/1 with 32Red to be playing Premier League football next season and I think they represent excellent value when travelling to Elland Road on Sunday.