Sunderland 2/1 Favourites For EFL Trophy Glory

Sunderland Favourites For EFL Trophy

The semi-finals for the EFL Trophy – currently known as the Papa John’s Trophy – are being played next week, with Oxford United taking on Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday 16th February at 6pm followed by Sunderland playing Lincoln the following day also at 6pm.  Both matches are being shown live on Sky Sports.    

League Two side Tranmere are the underdogs in the first semi-final with odds of 4/1 from bookie VBet.  Tranmere were relegated from League One last season when the points-per-game formula was put in place, but the team are fighting to gain promotion and, with 13 wins already this season, they are in good form.  They will need to play well against an Oxford team who have won six of their last seven matches.  Bookie VBet’s odds of 33/50 for an Oxford win may be considered a good value bet in the circumstances.

Sunderland, runners-up in 2019 after a bruising 5-4 defeat to Portsmouth on penalties, are favourites to win both the semi-final against Lincoln and the final itself this time around.  Winning the EFL Trophy would provide a huge boost to the Black Cats, currently languishing at seventh place in EFL League One.  Sunderland were in the Premier League just four years ago before dropping to the Championship and now League One.  Prospects for promotion look slight at the moment as the club are ten points adrift of EFL League One leaders, Lincoln City.  The bookies nonetheless reckon that Sunderland will defeat Lincoln at the Stadium of Light, with bookmaker Bet365 offering best odds of 13/10 for a Sunderland win, as opposed to odds of 7/4 for the Imps.  

The bookies reckon that, if Sunderland beat Lincoln tomorrow, the Black Cats will win the EFL Trophy at Wembley, with odds of 2/1 from bookmaker Wiliam Hill for a rare Wearside Wembley win. But seasoned Sunderland fans may be cautious about this prediction given the club’s appalling record at Wembley.  The Black Cats have not lifted a trophy there since 1973 when Sunderland beat Leeds 1-0 to win the FA Cup.  They have suffered seven successive defeats at Wembley since, most recently in 2019 when they suffered a bitter 2-1 defeat by Charlton, denying the club the opportunity to return to the Championship.  

The winning teams from next week’s matches will play the final on Sunday 14 March at 3pm.  In an EFL first, the postponed final from 2020 – Portsmouth v Salford City – will be played on the preceding day, again at 3pm, so football fans watching on Sky Sports will enjoy a double whammy of finals that the EFL is calling the “Wembley Weekender”.  

By robertc

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