Hello, and welcome back to Bookie Watch after the Christmas Break. I hope it was an enjoyable and profitable one for you all. Reading host Middlesbrough this weekend at Madejski Stadium with the visitors enjoying a good season so far and currently sit in 4th place on 43 points, 5 points behind the leaders Bournemouth.
Currently Middlesbrough are favourites for the game (2.30), and Reading are the outsiders (3.40). Middlesbrough however do not come into the game in brilliant form having not scored in either of the last two outings away from home over the Xmas period. Nevertheless, overall they have got the 2nd best record away from home, with 21 points from 12 games. They also have the joint toughest defence to break down away from home, with leaders Bournemouth sharing their record of just 10 goals conceded away from home.
With Glenn Murray's loan period at Reading coming to an end goals may be hard to come by, and with Boro scoring 1.33 goals on average away from home per game, a low scoring game looks likely. Under 2.5 goals looks a good bet (1.73). However, I think the value is in taking the under 1.5 option with both teams likely to shut up shop if they take the lead (3.2).
Grant Leadbitter has been influential for Boro this season, scoring 10 goals so far in the league from midfield. He takes penalties for Middlesbrough and I think the odds for him to get the first goal on Saturday could be worth a small gamble as well (11.00).
Reading may end up with one striker up front, and last weekend, Simon Cox led the line but struggled to get many chances away at goal, and with Blackman scoring from the bench, it’s tough to see Reading scoring the first goal this weekend I think. Middlesbrough to score first could be worth backing despite their struggles away from home recently (1.85).
1) Middlesbrough to win 1-0 @ 8.00 - Reading played well at home to Norwich in their last league game, and managed a 2nd straight win away at Huddersfield. However, Middlesbrough are among the top teams in the division, and Reading could struggle this weekend against them. However, the home side has taken an upswing in recent weeks, and will keep the game close.
2) Leadbitter to score first @ 11.00 - Grant Leadbitter has scored 10 goals this season so far in the league, and with him taking penalties for Middlesbrough, there is every chance he will get on the scoresheet this weekend. Reading have this season been slightly flat footed at the back, and there is every chance that Reading could give away a penalty this weekend.
3) Under 1.5 Goals @ 3.20 - There is a chance that Reading may take the lead this weekend, and their current record at home is solid, with only three goals conceded in the last six at home. With both Watford and Norwich only scoring once against them, Reading will look to try and hold out if they take the lead. Under 1.5 goals is a solid bet with both teams having a good defence.