A pre Christmas round up of the movers and shakers around the Premier League and the odds surrounding them today is what is being served up here on The Tilehurst End, as we look at title chasers, relegation candidates and other Reading special markets.
First up, let's take a look at title chasers. The two obvious candidates here are Man United, and also Man City. Man United having walked into a 6 point lead over City following the derby are clear favourites for the title among the bookies, you can get a widely accepted, ½ on United winning the league (1.50). Man City have drifted out since the derby in December from 5/4 (2.25) right out to 21/10 (3.10) which can be found at Ladbrokes. Other contenders include Chelsea who are a regularly found 13/1 shot sitting a huge 13 points behind the current leaders United, despite their game in hand. The bar after this is 15 points back to Spurs, Arsenal, Everton and West Brom, all with varying odds, none of which seem realistic to place here. With the bookies seemingly already favouring the United squad quite heavily, a backing of Man City over the Xmas period where they play three of the weaker sides in Reading, Sunderland and Norwich may be profitable to lay after, providing Man United slip up at some point in their festive period.
Odds for relegation have taken a big swing unsurprisingly in the way of Reading. Having been at 8/11 (1.72) at the start of November, Reading now sit as the bookies outright favourites by a long way with the odds heavily stacked against them at 1/7 (1.14). QPR meanwhile currently have odds of 11/10 (2.10) to stay up with Paddypower, which could prove lucrative if Harry Redknapp is able to deal the right players into his squad in January. Southampton sit at 11/10 to go down currently despite their current good form, whilst other relegation candidates Sunderland and Wigan come in at 10/3 (3.33) and 13/8 (2.63) respectively. Either of these bets could prove to be value come the end of the season, and with Wigan playing Arsenal, Everton and Man United all by New Years Day, we could see them begin to be reeled in and dragged deeper into the mire.
The sack race finally came to a surprising conclusion in November when Roberto Di Matteo was given the boot by his Russian boss much to the dismay of most, he was swiftly followed by the most expected departure of the first half of the season, Mark Hughes with QPR. This led to Mancini, Lambert, O'Neill and now McDermott being favourite for the axe next. With 6 defeats on the bounce, the odds on McDermott being sacked next are currently 5/4 (2.25) with the next favourite, Martin O'Neill at 4/1 (5.00). The odds will only tumble you have to feel over the weekend with Man City hosting Reading.
Onto some Reading specials now, and currently Stan James are hosting the Over/Under market for points. The spread is currently at 28 points with the odds being 9/10 either side (1.90). With the current squad, backing the under may prove the profitable approach here, with Reading needing at least another 20 points to be over on the spread, and with only 21 games to go, it is looking unlikely Reading can pick up their points per game average currently. If you are looking for a more, shall we say, positive market, the top Reading league goalscorer market is also open currently at Stan James and Betvictor. ALF leads this with odds of evens (2.00) ahead of Pogrebynak at 9/4 (3.25). With him already on 5 goals, and having seemed to take over penalty duty, the smart money would be to go with the leader here. However, a small value bet may go onto the wide man Robson Kanu, who with 3 league goals could have a small shout in this, and with odds of 9/1 (10.00), the value may be there for him. The other special markets currently open are:
Will McDermott be managing the last day of the season (Yes 5/4 (2.25), No 4/6 (1.66))?
Reading to finish bottom (1/2 (1.50))?
Top 15 finish (9/1 (10.00)?
All of these specials are available at Stan James.
Odds taken are as of Saturday 22nd December AM from www.oddschecker.com
So that's how the money men see it, if you are of age and fancy a flutter please gamble responsibly and head to Gamble Aware for support.