Blackpool and Reading find themselves locked together in the Championship table as the race for the play-offs continues when they clash at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.
Having dropped down from the Premier League, Blackpool were expected to be among the frontrunners this season and currently sit eighth, some 15 points off the pace being set by leaders Southampton.
Their Berkshire counterparts were being mentioned in the same breath, having fallen agonisingly short of promotion last term as they were beaten in the play-off final by Swansea..
However, the Championship rarely sticks to the script and both sides will have their work cut out if they’re to sustain a run that will see them climb back into the top six.
Although only a defeat will see the ninth-placed Royals leapfrog them, Blackpool could be unsettled by the untimely departure of influential loanee midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who was recalled by parent club Liverpool in midweek following an injury to Lucas Leiva.
Nevertheless, the Tangerines are rated as the 27/20 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting market for the match, with the draw available at 11/5 and a Reading triumph priced at 19/10.
Amazingly, Brian McDermott’s side are yet to command a lead at half-time in any of their 19 league games this season, but that unwanted statistic must come to an end at some point and the loss of six-goal Shelvey could work in the visitors’ favour.
Reading to finally be leading at half-time but the game to finish up honours even represents an excellent outside punt at 25/2, with Blackpool’s record of drawing almost a third of all their league games adding strength to this case.
Football betting fans can claim a free £25 bet for joining bwin.com and using it to back this selection would bring returns of £337.50 if succesful.
But arguably the safest bet for this particular encounter lies in the goalscoring stakes, with odds of 87/100 on three or more being scored.
Blackpool’s inconsistency may frustrate their fans, but they cannot bemoan a lack of entertainment or value for money as Ian Holloway’s side have upheld their reputation for putting on a show this season.
Their last five games have accumulated 16 goals – an average of over three per game – including their last home encounter, a sizzling 2-2 draw with Birmingham.
On the other hand, only seven of Reading’s 19 games have seen over 2.5 goals, but they’ve conceded two goals in each of their last three games while finding the back of the net themselves in four consecutive games. On top of this, the Royals have a ratio of exactly three goals per game in their last five outings.
So while the over 2.5 goals selection is certainly worth a decent play, betting on both teams to score also appears to be a no-brainer at odds of 67/100.
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