Newcastle v Reading: Hosts to relieve some pressure

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Newcastle are enduring a torrid time in the January transfer window. Not only are their prize assets making a bee-line for the St James’ Park exit door, relegation rivals are poaching those targeted as replacements.

For Reading then, who are still riding high off the back of their uber-dramatic 3-2 win over West Brom last time out, there surely won’t be a better time for them to face the Magpies on their own patch. A big, fat 16/5 says they’ll shovel more woe onto Alan Pardew’s growing pile of misery that is the 2012-13 campaign with a win on Tyneside.

The draw pays out at 11/4 and there’s no doubting that the away side would take that result now, but the Toon’s 4/5 favouritism looks far too good to oppose.

One of few positives that Newcastle can take into this clash is that they have beaten the Royals each time they’ve faced them on home soil, scoring at least three goals in each of the previous six north eastern encounters.

Even though they’re back to relying on the short-of-form Papiss Cisse for goals following Demba Ba’s exit and QPR’s hi-jacking of Loic Remy’s transfer, Reading are far from watertight – shipping 42 Premier League goals thus far – and for Newcastle to register over 2.5 goals pays reasonably at 12/5.

The Royals are still to sample the taste of victory on the road since their return to the top-flight. They’ve been beaten in six consecutive league matches away from the Madejski Stadium, failing to score a single goal in four of their previous five games.

These stats scream a home clean sheet and, regularly, this is the sort of bet we’d tip up but, with the odds as short as 13/8 for the Newcastle shut out, this market should be steered clear of. The reason for this being is that Magpies fans have seen their side keep just three teams at bay this term and, given their current problems, Reading may well pinch a goal.

Instead, punters should follow the diversion to the total result market in search of the best bet on this one.

A Newcastle win with fewer than 2.5 goals scored in the match is available to back at 3/1 and should not be taken lightly. As already established, Reading struggle for goals on the road and Newcastle’s strike force is seriously depleted. In what’s sure to be a nerve-jangling 90 minutes of football, one goal is probably going to be enough to claim the spoils and you’ve got to fancy the hosts to be the team celebrating come the final whistle.

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

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