After 46 games of nipping and tucking the EFL League One playoffs are finally upon us with the semi-finals getting underway on 12th May.
It looked for all the world like Sheffield Wednesday were going to steamroll their way to automatic promotion and potentially even the league title, having put together a 23-game unbeaten run, but the Owls fell away dramatically to join Barnsley, Bolton Wanderers and their semi-final opponents Peterborough United in the EFL League One playoffs.
Peterborough snuck into the playoffs at Derby County’s expense on the final day and now take on Wednesday with nothing to lose.
Bolton may be the value bet in the EFL League One playoff odds at 4.5 to win promotion having beaten Barnsley and Peterborough by three goals or more in the regular season. Whilst Wednesday are incredibly short, despite being justifiable favourites, at 2.5 to win the EFL League One playoffs.
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How do the League One Play-Offs work?
The EFL League One playoffs begin with a two-legged semi final stage. Third place plays sixth place, in the final third tier standings, with their home leg of the tie coming last. Likewise, fourth plays fifth with the fourth placed team hosting the second leg and the winner will be decided by the aggregate score over the two legs.
The away goals rule does not apply in the playoffs and should the scores be level at the end of the second leg, extra time and, if necessary, penalties will follow to decide which side makes it to Wembley. The final is only one match and will also go to extra time and penalties if the scores are level at full time.
What’s the League One Play-Off schedule?
Play-Off Semi-Final 1 (1st Leg)
Peterborough United v Sheffield Wednesday
Play-Off Semi-Final 2 (1st Leg)
Bolton Wanderers v Barnsley
Play-Off Semi-Final 1 (2nd Leg)
Sheffield Wednesday v Peterborough United
Play-Off Semi-Final 2 (2nd Leg)
Barnsley v Bolton Wanderers
TBC v TBC
League One Play-Off Semi-Finals 2023
Peterborough United have League One’s joint-golden boot winner in Jonson Clarke-Harris as their attacking focal point and possess bags of quality in wide areas.
However, they have conceded comfortably more goals than any other playoff side and with Josh Windass back in the fold for Wednesday the first semi-final could be a goal-fest.
Having already won 3-0 at Oakwell this season, Ian Evatt’s Bolton may be value outsiders in the second semi-final and can be backed to qualify at odds against prices.
League One Play-Off Final 2023
There will be ten days between the conclusion of the second playoff semi final and the final, therefore fatigue is unlikely to be a factor when the EFL League One playoff arrives.
Five of the last six EFL League One playoff finals have been decided by a single-goal margin, four in normal time and one in going to extra time, with the exception to the rule being last season’s 2-0 win for Sunderland over Wycombe Wanderers.
Sheffield Wednesday will be heavy favourites to lift the trophy should they progress to the final, but they will have to get past either Barnsley, who beat them 4-2 in their last head-to-head, or Bolton who would take such happy memories from their 4-0 EFL Trophy final win over third tier champions Plymouth Argyle to the capital.
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