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Football: bet365's Market Movers as Milan close in on title and Sunderland look to end play-off curse

As the season draws to a close, we’re looking at some of the week’s biggest Market Movers.

What a roller coaster season it’s been for Stuttgart fans. If you’ve not seen their winning goal from the weekend, go and seek it out as soon as possible (after you’ve finished reading this of course).

After their draw with Union Berlin in October, they were 10/1 for the drop, but a dismal run from December to February, in which they picked up just nine points from 15 games, saw them in real danger of a quick return to Germany’s second tier.

A superb win from 2-0 down in March against Borussia Monchengladbach provided their first victory of 2022, but the draw at Union Berlin left them in the bottom three, priced at 8/13 for relegation.

They briefly had their heads above water, but needed a win on the final day, knowing that a result at Dortmund from Hertha Berlin would’ve condemned them to relegation regardless – which looked to be the case, as they led after an hour. But a late winner from Youssoufa Moukoko opened the door for Stuttgart.

Sure enough, Wataru Endo popped up with a stoppage-time winner; survival secured, bedlam in the stands.

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Will Sunderland finally end their play-off curse? Six successive heartbreaks won’t fill the Mackems with all that much hope, but realistically, most of them would have taken a play-off final at the start of the season.

A solid first half of the campaign had Sunderland dreaming of automatic promotion, but a run of one win in eight – that win being a 3-0 victory at Wigan of all teams – saw them out to 9/2 to go up.

Having dispatched with Sheffield Wednesday, the Black Cats are 8/13 to get past Wycombe and finally return to the Championship.

Wycombe might not have quite the same expectations as Sunderland, but having also topped the table – albeit briefly – and having won this fixture two years ago against Oxford, they certainly won’t be lacking belief.

After beating Oxford in January to go top, they were as short as 1/8 for a top-six finish, and 13/8 for promotion. But, like their opponents, they went through a rotten patch, going seven without a win, pushing them down to eighth, after their 3-2 defeat at Accrington when throwing away a lead for the third match in a row (which including that crazy 5-5 v Cheltenham where bet365 paid out Customers as part of the Early Payout Offer).

The final game of that winless run against Accrington saw them out to 12/1 for promotion, which can be backed at 13/10 now ahead of the Wembley showdown.

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You have to go back to 1978 for the last time Milan went a full decade without winning Serie A, but despite another 10-year drought since 2011, the waiting is so very nearly over.

After Inter established themselves as favourites with a superb first half of the season, Milan made sure not to let them out of sight. Despite their rivals being 1/4 for the title around the halfway stage, Stefano Pioli’s men remained in touching distance, kept the pressure on, and their rewards may be just around the corner.

Their form since January has been excellent, winning 10, drawing five and losing none of their last 15 games, and as long as they can extend that unbeaten streak to 16 against Sassuolo on Sunday, they’ll be champions of Italy once more.

By Steve Freeth

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