Cardiff will be hoping that their fifth play-off campaign will finally be the one that sees them promoted to the highs of the Premier League.
Having lost last year’s final to Blackpool and seeing arch-rivals Swansea book their place at Wembley by beating Nottingham Forest last night, expectation among Bluebirds fans will be high.
Following a goalless first leg, home advantage favours Cardiff in tonight’s tussle, and Dave Jones’ side can be backed to win at 6/5.
However, Reading’s results during the second half of the regular season suggest they are capable of beating anyone on their day. The Royals are 19/10 outsiders to win the game.
After their determined performance last time out, Cardiff will be looking to take advantage of their impressive attacking strength in front of their home support, with Jay Bothroyd, Michael Chopra and Peter Whittingham all in fine form this season.
But Reading are a threat going forward themselves, so an open game could also give them the chance to create more opportunities than they did in the first leg. Shane Long and Ian Harte will be hoping to add to their season’s tally of 21 and 11 league goals respectively.
Having said that, history suggests that the game will be a tight and nervy affair, with the last six games between the two teams having produced five draws and just one win.
Championship play-off betting fans can get odds of 11/5 on the game ending in a stalemate once again.
While both Reading and Cardiff have a tendency to score late in games, the Welsh side also boast the record of having found the net the most times in the first 15 minutes of matches this term.
As such, punters could be tempted to back the Bluebirds to get the game up and running by scoring the first goal.
A £10 bet on the Cardiff City Stadium outfit returns £18.50. Alternatively, backing Jones’ men to win the first half at football betting odds of 39/20 would see the same stake return £29.50.
Royals boss Brian McDermott will be fretting on the fitness of two of his key players ahead of the tie, with Jimmy Kebe having missed the first leg and Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu having limped off during the second half of the game at the Madejski Stadium.
Cardiff, meanwhile, have injury problems of their own. Manchester City loanee Craig Bellamy was forced off with a hamstring injury after just 17 minutes in last Friday’s goalless match.
A successful £10 bet on the game finishing 1-1 after 90 minutes will see punters collect returns of £67.50. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.