Why Brentford are odds-on favourites to win the play-offs

Another Championship season is coming to a close and while coronavirus did its best to halt proceedings we’re starting to get a much clearer picture of who will be promoted to the Premier League.

Leeds United have already ended their 16-year wait for promotion, but who will be joining Marcelo Bielsa’s men? 

Slaven Bilic’s West Brom have been leading the pack alongside Leeds for much of the season, with their expensive squad looking to have all the qualities of a team destined for automatic promotion. Despite poor form since the restart, the Baggies look to have done just enough to earn that second automatic promotion place.

But what of the playoffs? One of the most exciting and lucrative games in football will decide who gets the final place in the promised land of the Premier League. Despite much debate throughout the season and the tendency of the playoffs to throw up shocks, we can only see one winner – Brentford. Here’s why.

Unmatched form

It’s often said that the best thing you can have coming into the playoffs is momentum. A great string of results can be just what you need to get over the line – more valuable than any star attacker or rock-solid defensive record. 

Since the restart of the Championship Brentford have been not just the in-form team in the league, but perhaps the country. 

Don’t let a surprise 1-0 loss away at Stoke fool you, The Bees have been an almost unstoppable force throughout June and July, racking up an impressive 8-game winning streak. 

Brentford striker Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins scored twice in Brentford’s 3-1 win at QPR in October

Their form was so scintillating that you’d struggle to get good odds for any of their opponents on GentingBet Casino (if you’re curious about sports betting for the play-offs check out this review). They have become the unstoppable force of the league. 

Even if Brentford lose their next game they will go into the playoffs safe in the knowledge they can beat anyone on their day. And that is a priceless commodity when you’re three games from promotion. 

Versatility in attack

Indulge me for a moment while I eulogise about the genius of Brentford’s front three. 

If you’re an avid Premier League fan who is wowed week in and week out by Liverpool’s inventive, dazzling and efficient front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane then you’ll love what Brentford have done with their attack. 

The trio of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins (also known as BMW) has become one of the stories of the Championship season, scoring 57 league goals combined. Fans across the country have been wowed by them and become sick of the sight of them running at their goal in equal measure. Their interplay is on the level of Liverpool’s title-winning trio at times and one that would be a threat in any division. 

The speed, precision and sheer volume of goals in this trio make them a threat to any team standing in their way of playoff glory. Few teams can claim to have kept them out this season, and in a three-game mini-tournament, we see them thriving.

The likelihood is that should Brentford get promoted, their front three won’t be afforded the time and space they currently have in the Championship and struggle to make the same remarkable impact. If they do, they’ll get picked apart by bigger teams in the division (with rumours already flying about just that). Until then, we have to enjoy one of the most exciting attacks in the history of the division and one we think will propel Brentford to greatness. 

The opposition facing them

One of the biggest reasons we see Brentford achieving promotion should they find themselves in the playoffs is the quality of opposition before them. 

The Bees have spent much of the business end of the season chasing automatic promotion, rather than worrying about the teams around them contending for a playoff place. Should they find themselves having to cross the final hurdle of the playoffs they won’t be phased by any of the opposition in their path. 

Fulham reached the final by beating Cardiff

Under Scott Parker, Fulham have been productive and gotten the job done. They possess a squad full of players that could impress in the Premier League given a second chance but ultimately they’re uninspiring and fail to convince in pressure situations. 

Nottingham Forest have been in and around the playoffs for the majority of the season, and a will to return to the Premier League could get them over the line much as it did Leeds, but their squad feels like one that needs another season to make that real step up and win promotion. 

The same can be said about Cardiff City and Swansea. Two teams not long relegated from the Premier League, their presence feels like the result of parachute payments and good late runs of form – rather than the hallmarks of quality teams that deserve to go up. 

Of course, any of these teams could surprise Brentford on an off day and win that golden ticket to the Premier League. But 99% of the time, we’re backing Thomas Frank’s side. 

It’s their moment

The 2019/20 season is a historic one for Brentford, as they’re set to leave the much-beloved Griffin Park for a state-of-the-art new stadium at the end of the season.

Although their fans will not be able to attend a final send-off, The Bees will hope to make up for it by winning promotion to the Premier League – a fitting compromise many will take.

2020 feels like the culmination of everything the Brentford project has been working towards. Since they adopted the ‘Moneyball’ model they’ve been scoffed at and perhaps over-praised in equal measure. This unique method of scouting and ability to bounce back from high-profile sales to build one of the most exciting squads in the division has made them favourites of football hipsters and neutrals everywhere. 

There will never be a better moment for Brentford to take that final step into the top division for the first time since 1930. 

Brentford are one of the most exciting, fascinating and absorbing sides in the Championship and for all of those reasons, we’d both love and expect them to be promoted. There is still a final game to play, but we can’t see anyone else topping them as odds on favourites.