The Championship play-offs are about to begin, with four clubs battling it out to win promotion to the Premier League for 2024-25. We look at the predicted chances of each side thanks to the Opta supercomputer.

The 2023-24 Championship play-offs kick off on Sunday with Norwich vs Leeds at Carrow Road, directly followed by West Brom vs Southampton at the Hawthorns just two hours later.

The Opta supercomputer has been hard at work crunching the numbers and analysing the data to give us its Championship play-off predictions. Here are the results…

Who Will Win the Championship Play-Offs?

In most other Championship seasons, Leeds United’s points tally of 90 would have been more than enough to secure automatic promotion. Unfortunately for them, both Leicester City (97) and Ipswich Town (96) posted incredible points totals of their own to seal the top two spots in the table and condemn Daniel Farke’s side to the play-offs.

The last team to win as many as 90 points in a Championship season and end up outside the automatic promotion places were Sunderland in 1997-98 (also 90 points).

Sunderland lost in the play-offs that season in a penalty shootout against Charlton in the final, after one of the most entertaining play-off finals of all-time (4-4 AET). They followed that up with a sensational title win in 1998-99, winning 105 points.

With such a strong regular season campaign overall, it should come as no surprise to see Leeds as the favourites to progress to the final (58.8%) and win the play-offs (33.2%) with the Opta supercomputer.

Since the second tier rebrand to the Championship in 2004, the team finishing third has gone on to win promotion to the Premier League in almost 50% of play-offs (9/19).

But this is Leeds… in the play-offs.

They have never won promotion via the Football League play-offs, with this their sixth such appearance. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the 2018-19 semi-final – their most recent play-off experience.

They come up against Norwich City in the semi-final – a team who have reached the final in both of their previous second-tier play-off appearances, losing the 2002 final to Birmingham and beating Middlesbrough in the 2015 final to reach the Premier League.

Of the four sides in the play-offs this season, Norwich spent the fewest days inside the top six of the Championship table (102), but ended in sixth place, three points ahead of Hull City.

At the turn of the year, it looked as if it would just be a season of mid-table mediocrity for the Canaries, but David Wagner’s side turned their form around.

On 1 January, they were in 13th place with 34 points from 25 games (1.36 points per game), but from then on, they won the third-most points in the league (39) and increased their PPG to 1.86. The run-in did see a drop off in form, however, with just one win in their final five games (W1 D3 L1), including a final-day defeat to relegated Birmingham City.

Norwich are the outsiders to make it to the Championship play-off final this year (41.2%) and have a 20.2% chance of winning the play-offs overall, giving them the same chance as West Brom.

Carlos Corberán’s Baggies will hope home advantage in the first leg will give them the platform to reach the final at the expense of Southampton. Only Ipswich (54), Leeds (53) and champions Leicester (52) won more points at home in the Championship than WBA this season (49), with the Baggies’ 15 home wins their highest total at the Hawthorns in a single league campaign since 2009-10 (16).

If Southampton do as the Opta supercomputer predicts they’ll do and reach the play-off final, then knocking out West Brom can be seen as a good omen. In WBA’s three previous appearances in the second-tier play-offs the team that knocked them out won promotion – Bolton in 2000-01, Derby County in 2006-07 and Aston Villa in 2018-19.

Russell Martin’s side – who went a club record 25 competitive games unbeaten between September and February – were another side unlucky not to win automatic promotion having won so many points in the regular season. They’ll look to replicate Brentford’s feat in 2020-21 of winning 87 points in the league before winning the Championship play-offs.

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