Betting round-up: Sheffield United eye step up
Can one of England's oldest teams return to the Championship at the first time of asking? Or will Stevenage's progression through the leagues continue unabated?
One of England's most famous old clubs, Sheffield United have the opportunity to take a giant step towards returning to the big time when they host Stevenage in the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final on Monday [Tuesday morning Australian time].
The Blades are $1.89 favourites at Luxbet to win this match in 90 minutes and to move through to the League One play-off final on May 26, as they bid to return immediately back to the Championship after only being relegated from the second tier of English football last season.
This season has been the first time in 23 years that Sheffield United, whose home ground Bramall Lane is one of the world's oldest football stadiums, have been outside the top two divisions in English football.
The Blades - a four-time winner of the FA Cup and who have featured in a movie starring the club's No.1 fan Sean Bean called 'When Saturday Comes' in 1996 - are desperate to return to the Championship, after already having watched their great rivals Sheffield Wednesday promoted automatically from League One this season.
It was only five seasons ago that Sheffield United ‑ FA Cup semi-finalists as recently as 1993 ‑ were relegated from the English Premier League.
And after drawing the first leg of the play-off semi-final 0-0 away at Stevenage, they will go in as warm favourites at home in the second leg, with Stevenage at $3.95 and the draw at $3.25 at Luxbet.
|Less than 2.5 goals scored between Sheffield United and Stevenage at $1.72 at Luxbet
||Take the full-time/half-time double at a draw at $4.85 and Luxbet
In contrast to Sheffield United, Stevenage are newcomers to English football.
The club was only founded in 1976 and only reached the Football League in England two seasons ago.
But, incredibly, the club is looking for its third-straight promotion, having won promotion to League One only this season after its first season in League Two in 2010-11.
And while the Blades have the kind of support and tradition of which Stevenage can only dream, the battlers are well worth a punt in this one.
Stevenage drew at Bramall Lane 2-2 when the teams met there earlier in the season and have yet to lose to the Blades in three meetings this campaign.
But in what is likely to be a low-scoring game, the $1.72 on offer for there being less than 2.5 goals scored in the match looks the way to go.
For value, the $4.85 on offer at Luxbet on the game being drawn at both half-time and at 90 minutes is worth a gamble.
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