Bookies have chosen to release odds for the 20/21 National League playoff winner with the quarter finals set to get underway this weekend.
The regular season is now over and we get set to discover which team will be the second to gain promotion to League Two.
It all begins on Saturday, June the 5th which will see Notts County host Chesterfield at Meadow Lane (with a 4pm kick off) and the winners going on to travel to Torquay United in the semi-final on Saturday, June the 12th (12pm kick-off).
Sunday, June the 6th sees Hartlepool United host Bromley at Victoria Park (2:30pm kick off) with the winners going on to face Stockport County at Edgeley Park on Sunday, June the 13th (12pm kick off).
The winners of both semi-finals will go on to face each other at Ashton Gate on Sunday, June the 20th (2pm kick off).
The playoff winners will join National League title winners Sutton United and be promoted to the English Football League.
Stockport County – 9/4
Stockport County may have finished third in the table but are several bookmakers favourites to win the play-offs.
The Hatters are 18 unbeaten in the National League and have a guaranteed home play-off semi-final match to look forward to.
They are priced at 9/4 with BetVictor but Sky Bet, Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfred all have them priced as low as 7/4.
Torquay United – 9/4
One time runaway leaders Torquay United let automatic promotion slip through their fingers following a poor run of form around the turn of the year.
They’ve since recovered well to secure second spot and with fans in the ground, they will need to make as much noise as possible to help them get back to where they quite frankly belong, in the EFL.
They are priced at 9/4 with BetVictor with William Hill pricing their promotion chances at 2/1.
Hartlepool United – 5/1
Hartlepool United are priced at 5/1 at most major bookmakers to get promoted to the Football League, making them third favourite to win the playoffs.
This comes despite a slight dip in form towards the end of the season, however they’ve done enough to give them a fighting chance of going up.
Pools will host 7th placed Bromley in the eliminator round match next Sunday.
Notts County – 13/2
Last season’s beaten play-off finalists are the fourth favourites to be promoted via the play-offs at 13/2 with SkyBet.
A trio of bookmakers, including BetVictor, William Hill and Paddy Power all have the Magpies priced at 6/1.
After a disappointing April, the Magpies bounced back with some impressive wins over Sutton United and Wrexham in May before losing on the final day to Bromley with a play-off place already secured.
Chesterfield – 10/1
After a slow start to the campaign, Chesterfield bounced back following the appointment of James Rowe to secure a top seven finish on the final day of the season.
They make the short journey to Notts County at the weekend as one of five former Football League sides looking to make a return.
They are priced at 10/1 with Paddy Power while Sky Bet, Bet Victor and Betfred have them priced at 8/1.
Bromley – 20/1
The Ravens flew under the radar and into the final play-off spot following a fine run of form under new manager Andy Woodman.
A 1-0 win over Notts County on the final day of the season proved to be enough to set up an eliminator round tie at Hartlepool United, a side who they have taken four points from this season.
Despite their good form, Bromley are priced as clear outsiders at 20/1 with Paddy Power, William Hill and Sky Bet. Bet Victor fancy their chances slightly more, pricing them at 12/1 behind the other five teams.
NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFF TIES CONFIRMED
Sat 5 Jun 4pm:
Notts County v Chesterfield
Sun 6 Jun 4pm:
Hartlepool v Bromley
Sat 12 Jun 12pm:
Torquay v Notts County/Chesterfield
Sun 13 Jun 12pm:
Stockport v Hartlepool/Bromley
Sun 20 Jun 2pm:
Final at Ashton Gate
There has previously been controversy to the final being held at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate.
Torquay United manager Gary Johnson however says he is disappointed that the National League playoff final won’t be held at Wembley.
“I never like it when the goalposts get changed. It’s always a final a Wembley,” Johnson told BBC Radio Devon.
“I remember when I was at Yeovil, we had an FA Trophy final and we were all looking forward to going to Wembley and it ended up at Villa Park, which is still a fantastic ground, as is Bristol City, but Wembley is for finals,” added Johnson.
“I’m sure if they had a choice they’d all rather be playing at Wembley.
“But we’ve got to make Bristol City, if we get there, Wembley in our heads. The prize is till the same, whatever the stadium.”
Hartlepool United, who sit in the playoffs, has seen their manager Dave Challinor also react.
“It’s not ideal is it?” Pools boss Dave Challinor admitted. “From a selfish perspective, I can say I’ve gone to Wembley, I’ve played there twice so it doesn’t really affect me but of course it does.”
“For any player at this level, the opportunity to play at Wembley is a huge one,” he added.
“We know how important the game is and what rides on it for all the clubs. Not just for the supporters but the prestige in doing that.
“And when you look at the teams in the play-off picture, I’m not sure you could get many, if any, bigger teams in the top nine.
“The National League have to make decisions and unfortunately there’s going to be situations where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“We have no idea if they’ve spoken to every Premier League club and been told no, or whether this is the only option for us.”
“Being really critical, you look at the makeup of the play-off places and go that potentially five out of the six teams could be northern based clubs and it becomes a difficult one for supporters.
“Ashton Gate holds 27,000 and if the crowd is going to be, for example, 10,000 and 4,000 for each team then I can guarantee those tickets will be snapped up in a heartbeat and those fans won’t be disappointed if they have to travel all the way there and it results in their team ending up in the Football League.”
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