Arsenal go into the game as obvious favourites, with Bookies having them at 2/7 to beat Reading in 90 minutes. Reading who never have even managed a draw with Arsenal (a freak 4-4 Capital One Cup game aside...but the less mentioned about that, the better!), are 15/1 to knock the holders out at the semi final stage, with extra time being given an 11/2 chance at the bookies. None of these options are hugely appealing, what with the significant difference in quality of the two sides. Looking at the to qualify market, Arsenal are as short as 1/10, and Reading can be found as long as 7/1. Again, neither of these options stand out hugely to me in terms of value for betting on tomorrow.
With the Royals real lack of strike power up front, one bet which may prove to be value tomorrow is the Win to Nil market. Arsenal are currently 11/10 in this market, and with Reading looking likely to play just one up front, they may be looking at a set piece goal to unlock the Arsenal defence. Reading are 22/1 to do the unthinkable and keep the Arsenal players at bay tomorrow whilst pulling off an unlikely victory.
The correct score market is probably where most fans will look for some value tomorrow night, with Arsenal 4-0 at 12/1 and Arsenal 4-1 at 18/1 both being very appealing to myself. If you think Reading can pull it off, this is where you can make your money, with Arsenal struggling to beat Wigan last season in the semi final, if Reading can reverse that scoreline, it can be backed at a huge 40/1. Can Reading beat Arsenal 1-0 once in every 40 attempts? Things would need to fall perfectly for the Royals, but it's not impossible.
Reading, if they can manage to take Arsenal into extra time could feasibly take Arsenal out on penalties, the odds on the game going all the way to penalties is high however, with bookies offering 22/1 for either side to prevail on penalties. This is likely to come about with a 0-0 you would imagine with Reading stifling the Arsenal attack, and not a high scoring draw! 0-0 is currently available at 20/1, and is a better bet than to bet for a team to win on penalties, with the potential of both extra time, and then also the team losing on penalties.
The odds on winning the entire tournament remain unchanged since Liverpool qualified for the semi final last week, with Reading remaining rank outsiders at 25/1. Arsenal are currently favourites at just 5/6 to win the Silver Tub for a second consecutive year. A bet on a Reading vs. Aston Villa final currently is available at 20/1 showing how much hope the bookies give the two outsiders this weekend.
1) Arsenal to win to nil @ 11/10 - This is a tough one to put down, however the likelihood is Reading are going to struggle going forwards on Saturday evening, and with the Arsenal team in rampant form, 11/10 about them pulling off a victory with Reading not getting a sniff of goal are good odds, and worth having the major bet of the day on.
2) Reading to win 1-0 @ 40/1 - Whilst the chances of Reading doing this remain slim, a 1-0 win at 40/1 for a team who will be lining up very defensively is very high and worth considering. Reading are not likely to score more than once, and if Federici is able to perform heroics for the Royals, then who knows?
3) Arsenal to win 4-1 @ 18/1 - Arsenal strike power has been analysed so many times this season, with Sanchez, Giroud, Ozil, Ramsey and even Welbeck managing to chip in with goals from time to time, I don't need to explain why I think Arsenal have the potential to score four. Reading may be able to undo Arsenal at set pieces however and 18/1 is generous for this scoreline.
Overall, most pundits, experts, and fans do not give Reading much chance tomorrow, with the odds reflecting that. However, most Reading fans will be going along with hope rather than expectation, and any sort of result will be cherished tomorrow if they can pull it off. Good luck to all those trying to find value this weekend on the game, and for those trying to Judas Bet their day and win money back on Arsenal to qualify to balance a Reading loss - Don't, the odds aren't worth it tomorrow, and it'll put a dour spin on what otherwise would be an amazing day. Keep your stakes low and look for value on the scoreline markets.
Good luck to the Reading players tomorrow, let's head over to Wembley, create a wall of noise (Or an air siren if not?), have a day out and hopefully, just hopefully come back with a bit of money in our pockets, and an FA Cup Final in May to look forwards to.