Reading travel to the midlands on the first day of the new season to face a Birmingham side who finished 10th in the previous campaign under new manager Gary Rowett, who joined from Burton Albion last October. Here in the first Bookie Watch of the season we take a look at the prices available for the game and leave you our tips for the opening day.
Birmingham are favourites going into the game, with a probably justified price of 6/4, with Reading slight outsiders at 21/10. The draw is available at a solid 12/5.
The draw looks a solid option for the game, Reading have looked very tight at the back during pre season, and haven't conceded more than one goal in a friendly since their opening game against the Thai All stars in Pre season, including games against 2 top flight teams, and an Espanyol side who finished 10th in La Liga last season. Birmingham have conceded a fair few goals in pre season, letting in 2 against Leicester last weekend, previously having conceded 2 against Kidderminster and Burton also. The worry for Royals fans however is that the team doesn't look much stronger going forward despite the signing of Orlando Sa during the summer, with many expecting another forward to come in before the end of the window. A fresh injury for Pavel Pogrebnyak will see Reading potentially struggle again to score goals during the early part of the season.
A strong away defence combined with a possibly weak attack could lead to a low goals total, leading us to look at the Under 2.5 goals option at 5/6, given there is potential for Reading at set pieces still during the game. This is probably value down to 4/5 and will be backing this for the game.
Striker, Clayton Donaldson was a main target for Reading during the summer until he put those rumours to bed by signing up a new deal up until 2017. He is available as FGS at a paltry 6/1, however there is value available elsewhere, especially given Clarke's comments that Pogrebnyak may not be fit for the game. This will likely lead to Sa leading the line for Reading, with him being available as FGS in his debut at a solid looking 10/1. The other value lies with Anton Ferdinand or Paul McShane, given it is likely one will start alongside Hector. Both are priced up at 50/1 to score first, and as a strong header of the ball, both players could be dangerous from set pieces.
Draw - 12/5 1.5pt
Sa FGS - 10/1 0.5pt
Current bank - 93.5pts
In play - 6.5pts
Staked - 2 points
New bank - 91.5pts
Good luck to all you readers who have a bet tomorrow, we will be back hopefully for Wednesday night, although Bookie Watch is out of the country until next Saturday, so we may not be back until Leeds.
Come on Urz!