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Reading FC Bookie Watch - Pre-Season 2013/14

So less than a week to go before the start of the season but where to the money men think we'll be come May? We take a look at how the bookmakers view various Reading related markets going into the campaign.

Alan Crowhurst

All odds are the best prices available via Oddschecker on July 28

Odds to be promoted

QPR 2/1
READING 3/1
BOLTON 100/30
WATFORD 4/1
NOTT'M FOREST 4/1
LEICESTER 4/1
WIGAN 9/2
BRIGHTON 5/1
LEEDS

7/1

YEOVIL 74/1

So Reading find themselves second favourites to go up with odds of just 3/1, only trailing QPR who are a best price of 2/1.

I think the odds are just about fair based on the expectation and potential of the squad. Unlike previous years there's no real 'giants' in the Championship this season and with uncertainty and upheaval at last year's contenders such as Brighton and Watford, you'd have to give Reading an edge heading into the season. For comparison, our last season in the Championship started with us 5/1 to go up so we're certainly viewed in a stronger light than our post-play-off final season.

Of the other contenders and there's no real surprises really. The favourites are mostly either recent Premier League sides (Bolton, Wigan) or perennial contenders (Brighton, Leicester) with last year's play-off finalists Watford and Brian McDermott's Leeds also highly fancied.

If you're betting on the outsider then nobody will give you better odds than Yeovil, who are given a 74/1 shot on making it a second successive promotion. Given the completely unexpected nature of this division over the years, there's worse ways to spend a pound...

The Title

QPR 6/1
READING 9/1
BOLTON 9/1
NOTT'M FOREST 11/1
WATFORD 12/1
WIGAN 12/1

It's a similar story if you're backing us to 'successfully defend' our title, with Reading 9/1 second favourites behind QPR. Last time around we were 16/1 so again it reflects increased confidence from the bookmakers but trying to actually predict a winner of this thing is tricky at the best of times so good luck with that!

Relegation

It may be the furthest thing from our minds but lets not forget that Wolves slipped straight down to League One last season having been tipped among the favourites to go back up.

YEOVIL 11/10
DONCASTER 5/2
BARNSLEY 13/5
BLACKPOOL 7/2
HUDDERSFIELD 9/2
READING 40/1

Reading are joint outsiders for relegation with Leicester, Bolton and QPR at 40/1 well behind favourites Yeovil who are a fraction above evens. Fellow promoted side Doncaster are 5/2 with Barnsley, Blackpool and Huddersfield also ranked among the favourites to make the drop.

Golden Boot

J RHODES 9/1
A LE FONDRE 14/1
C WOOD 14/1
J ULLOA 16/1
G HOLT 16/1
C AUSTIN 16/1
J BECKFORD 25/1
B ZAMORA 25/1
P POGREBNYAK

25/1

H ROBSON-KANU 150/1

I'm surprised that Le Fondre has been so highly rated, especially considering his last Championship season saw him perform well, but well down the list on 12 goals. Jordan Rhodes scores goals for fun so it's no surprise he's so well fancied while old hands Bobby Zamora and Grant Holt know how to find the net in this division.

To me Pavel Pogrebnyak's odds of 25/1 seem generous but with the Russian subject to plenty of transfer speculation and finding himself on the bench against Swansea, he might not get the starts needed to top the charts. Hal Robson-Kanu at 150/1 is also intriguing, as if he does get to play in a role behind a lone striker, he could get plenty of chances and with HRK on penalty duty as well at the end of last year, he could inflate that total further.

Overall

It's good to see that the bookies have confidence in our potential but at the same time it does add a little bit of pressure and expectation. Clubs will be keen to upset one of the favourites and fans will be expecting the club to bounce back in a big way from last year's dismal efforts.

I do think there's some value to be had at 3/1 but so much can happen I'd be tempted to go for more of an outsider to repeat the recent unexpected successes of Blackpool, Hull, Burnley and Palace. The other benefit of Reading being so strongly fancied is that if you're fond of 'judas betting' the odds of team beating the Royals will be inflated so you could well be quids in if Reading struggle.

So that's how the money men see it. If you are of age, in a country that allows it and fancy a flutter please gamble responsibly and head to Gamble Aware for support.