As the EFL Championship season draws to a close, there are a lot of interesting games in regards to the race for the four playoff spots.
Both West Brom and Hull will feel that they have a chance of making the top six, but the home side here may be the only one extending their season.
West Brom only needs a few more points to confirm its playoff place, but Hull will need to win a few more games — and rely on others losing — to make the end-of-season party.
I’m going to look at the main betting prices for this game and then analyze both sides before making my pick.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Hull City Odds
Here are the main betting odds for the game courtesy of Betway.
West Bromwich Albion to Win1.83
Hull City to Win4.20
West Brom has looked like it would make an immediate return to the Premier League at times this season, but a top-six finish will have to do now, giving itself a chance in the drama of the playoffs.
But Hull City — with the goals of Jarrod Bowen — has gone about its business under the radar for most of the season and will believe that it can make a late push for the top six itself.
I’m not sure that the result of this game is as clear-cut as the bookies make out and fancy Hull to give West Brom a little bit of a scare going into the last games of the season.
West Brom News and Analysis
When West Brom sacked Darren Moore in March despite sitting fourth in the table, many fans and onlookers thought it was a harsh decision to make, especially considering how the former player had turned the club around after a woeful Premier League campaign last year.
A 4-0 defeat at promotion rivals Leeds on the back of a home loss to Sheffield United was not the greatest of results, but it seemed unfair to get rid of a manager who the players and fans seemed to like. The fact that West Brom still sits in the same position as when Moore left also suggests that the owners were too quick to fire the likeable coach.
Although James Shan oversaw an initial positive response in the manner of three wins and a draw, back-to-back defeats to Millwall and Bristol City probably put paid to any hopes of automatic promotion.
The playoffs are just about locked in now, though, and my question over West Brom in its remaining games will be the desire of the players to get a win when a top-six finish is all but assured. After this Hull game, there is Reading and Rotherham before the final day fixture away at Derby County. This squad should be able to get the requisite points from those games without too much trouble.
The main threat for West Brom comes from the twin strike force of Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez. Both players have 21 goals this season, and the club has by far the biggest goal tally of any in the Championship.
Fans have been heartened to hear that Gayle has stated that he would not be against a permanent move in the summer when his loan period from Newcastle ends. The former Palace striker is an excellent goal-getter in the Championship, but I have reservations of his ability to perform in the top flight.
West Brom is the favorite for the win here, but I think Hull wants — and definitely needs — the points more. The Baggies have lost to both Middlesbrough and Sheffield United at home this season, and if things start to go wrong against Hull, I feel as though the team will think that there are three other chances to get the points that they need.
Hull City News and Analysis
Earlier in the season, I tipped Hull City as an outside chance of making the top six, and as we come to the last four games of the campaign, the Tigers sit just five points off the playoffs.
The main reason for Hull’s success this season has come in the form of Jarrod Bowen. The attacker has managed 20 goals for a side that until the start of December was sitting in the relegation places. Bowen hasn’t found the net in the last four games now, however, and I feel if Hull is to get anything from this game, then he has to be on top form.
Luckily, some of the other attacking talent at Hull has stepped up recently — especially Polish winger Kamil Grosicki, who has four goals in the last four games and offers the team an extra outlet to the runs of Bowen. Fraizer Campbell has also contributed throughout the season, but the former Manchester United striker would probably have liked to have gotten more than the 12 goals he has currently managed.
Defensively, Hull is a curious case — able to keep Birmingham and Stoke from scoring, then shipping goals to Brentford and Nottingham Forest in the next few games. With West Brom’s scoring record, I would be worried that Hull could capitulate if the Tigers concede early.
But my main feeling, once again, is that Hull will be more up for this game, knowing that a defeat at the Hawthorns will realistically end its chances of a playoff spot. Tough games against Sheffield United, Swansea, and Bristol City follow the trip to the Black Country, and so if Hull does end up extending its season with playoff ties, it would be an incredible achievement.
West Brom vs. Hull City Predictions and Betting Pick
It is a shame that the odds for both teams to score are so low at 1.57 as I think that the strikers of both sides could be on top form in this game, giving both goalkeepers a busy afternoon.
But Betway’s price for a draw at 3.75 is very tempting for the reasons I have outlined above. Hull City really has nothing to lose and can give everything they have in an attempt to get the win. I can’t see that happening, but a draw is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
If Grosicki can keep up his current level of form — and create the chances for either Bowen or Campbell — then a highly entertaining score draw could end up being the result.
It is always difficult predicting Championship games at this stage of the season, especially for any clubs involved in the race for a playoff place. There are plenty of strange results in April and May as the pressure mounts on the teams near the top of the table.
I think that this fixture has every chance of being an excellent game for the neutral as the attacking players on show almost guarantee goals. One thing for sure is that it will be an anxious 90 minutes for supporters of both clubs.
Let me know what you think of my preview in the comments below.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Hull City Betting Preview
A look at the betting markets for the Championship game between West Bromwich Albion and Hull City with predictions and a pick.