Reading are blazing the Premier League trail of late and stand every chance of further improving their ever-brightening survival hopes at off-colour Stoke.
The Britannia has developed a fortress-like reputation in recent seasons but, considering that Stoke have won just one of their previous seven home games, there appears to be a weakness in their battlements that would-be besiegers have sounded out.
Despite their good form, backing the Royals’ 16/5 to emerge from Fort Britannia victorious is probably not a sound bet; Stoke will be desperate to halt their bad run and are more than capable of fending off the Berkshire club. The hosts’ 10/11 does offer appeal, but the draw looks the most appetising prospect at 23/10.
Four of Stoke’s seven winless home games have been tied, whereas Reading’s upturn in fortunes is largely down to their home form. The reality of the situation is that they’ve only beaten Newcastle and Crawley on the road in their previous eight ventures from the Madejski; they lost six on the spin prior to these games.
A point on the road is not to be sniffed at and their price of 21/25 not to lose the game in the Potteries looks a good bet.
An even more tempting punt is for Stoke to score the first goal of this clash. Reading have gone behind in seven successive away-days and, while the odds of 8/13 won’t pay the mortgage off, there’s reasonable grounds to argue that they should be priced shorter than they are.
Betting on the premise that all that’s forecast above comes home to roost, then both teams to score has to be backed also. It offers a bigger payday at 4/5 and Stoke have gone eight successive games without keeping a visiting team at bay so Brian McDermott’s men have an excellent chance of finding the net here.
In terms of who is on target for the Royals, Adam Le Fondre is obviously the first name that springs to mind. He’s developed the textbook ‘super sub’ habit of late and has bagged the final goal of the game in three of their previous six. He’s a 7/1 shot to score last here.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date