Dzeko and half markets offer value as Man City host Reading

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Most interest will probably be in the handicap markets as punters expect Manchester City to run up a cricket score at home to Reading, but the safer money may be on Roberto Mancini’s men winning both halves.

Somewhat surprisingly, this is something that Manchester City have only achieved three times in all competitions this season, but these have all occurred at the Etihad.

Furthermore, the victories have arrived against teams with relegation concerns in QPR, Sunderland and most recently Aston Villa.

Reading are deeper in the relegation mire than anybody else at present and the Etihad is not the best place to visit for a club on a six-game losing streak.

During this stretch they have conceded 17 times and there is little hope of them keeping things tight if they do not improve drastically on the defending that saw them concede five against Arsenal.

This is the big doubt to the Man City winning both halves bet, as Arsenal drew their second period 2-2, having raced into a 3-0 interval lead.

Mancini could witness his team do something similar should they fly out of the blocks.

The biggest banker is the home win at 1/7, but this is a short price even for inclusion in a weekend accumulator, while the 1/3 that Man City triumph giving up a one-goal head start looks a tad on the short side.

10/11 for City overcoming a two-goal handicap looks about right, while it is 9/4 that they hammer Reading by at least four goals.

For punters fancying giving money away right on top of Christmas, Reading are 16/1 to leave with the three points, with the draw available at 13/2.

With a hectic Christmas schedule, Mancini may decide that this is the best game to start Edin Dzeko in attack and rest the likes of Carlos Tevez.

Dzeko is 10/11 to score in the 90 minutes and 7/2 to break the deadlock.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.