How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Oxford United Evens, Draw 13/5, Coventry City 13/5 - SkyBet
- Correct Score: Draw 1-1 13/2, Oxford United 1-0 8/1, Oxford United 2-1 17/2 - BetVictor
- To Lift the Trophy: Oxford United 4/7, Coventry City 5/4 - Bet365
- Coventry City are a team in crisis. Having picked up just seven league wins all season, the Sky Blues sit rock bottom of League One and look all but certain to drop into the fourth tier of English football for the first time since 1959. City’s only respite this campaign has come in the Checkatrade Trophy, following wins over the likes of fellow League One side Northampton Town and the academy outfits of West Ham and Swansea City. A narrow 2-1 victory over Wycombe Wanderers sealed Coventry’s place at Wembley for what could be a silver lining on an otherwise miserable season for all concerned at the Ricoh Arena.
- Oxford United are enjoying a fine campaign following their return to third tier football. The U’s sit just outside of the League One playoff places with four games to go and could mount a late challenge as they look to secure Championship football next term. In the cup, United only just scraped through the group stages after picking up one win in three games, however, they soon found their stride, dispatching Scunthorpe and Bradford, before seeing off Luton in a dramatic semi-final encounter.
Following the dismissal of Russell Slade prior to their semi-final win over Wycombe in early March, Coventry’s results have picked up, due in part to the re-hiring of former boss Mark Robins. The ex-Barnsley and Huddersfield Town manager has started to turn things around at the Ricoh Arena, with wins over Port Vale and Bristol Rovers giving Sky Blues’ fans hope of a miraculous survival bid. A win at Wembley would be a fantastic way for Robins to write his name in City folklore, an outcome that is 14/5 with Bet365.
If City are to repeat their heroics of 1987 - the year which saw the club lift the FA Cup - they’ll need the likes of Marcus Tudgay and Andy Rose to shine, especially following the departure of this season’s top scorer Marvin Sordell in January. The Sky Blues have been lacking any real fire power since the former Watford man’s departure, so a win by a single goal to nil could be worth a punt at 12/1 with BetVictor.
Oxford United will head into this game as the favourites, and rightly so. The U’s have only failed to find the target once in their last seven outings, racking up 14 goals in the process. Should last year’s beaten finalists find their rhythm, they could run riot against relegation-haunted Coventry, with an Oxford win in a game that features more than 3.5 goals fetching odds of 4/1 with SkyBet. Betfred odds of 12/5 on a win to nil also look tempting.
If recent finals are anything to go by, this contest could be decided by more than one goal. Five of the last seven showpieces have featured wins by a margin of two goals or more, suggesting that the travelling fans could be in for a treat. Oxford are 16/5 with Coral to net more than three times in the game, while a win by two goals for Michael Appleton’s side is priced at 5/1 with Paddy Power. Of course, being a cup final, the game must be decided on the day, meaning a penalty shootout is more than a possibility - 5/1 with Sky Bet.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Oxford to win by 2 goals - 5/1 with Paddy Power
*Please note, odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.