A meeting of two of the top six sides in the Championship might well sound like it has the potential to be a thriller, but Middlesbrough and Reading aren’t in the habit of being involved in high-scoring matches.
With odds of 3/5 on there being under 2.5 goals in the game, you can see that the sensible betting is on a contest featuring a limited amount of attacking action at either end.
Although Middlesbrough’s last home match against Nottingham Forest saw them win 2-1, the previous eight home fixtures had seen under 2.5 goals in normal time (Sunderland beat them 2-1 after extra-time in the FA Cup).
Reading’s form also plays along to the theory that the match on Teesside will see few goals as only one of their past five games has seen more than one goal scored, and this despite them winning four on the bounce.
The theory builds further when you consider that the meeting between these two sides earlier in the season ended 0-0 at the Madjeski Stadium.
As well as this, only just over a third of the games that Boro and Reading have played this season have seen over 2.5 goals, which is perhaps why odds on that happening at the Riverside are at a slightly longer 5/4.
With both sides having tight defences it is difficult to separate them and see who is most likely to emerge with the three points, but the second half could well be the decisive period.
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Reading have the incredible stat of drawing at half-time in 22 of their 31 league games, a record that no other club can get close to. With Tony Mowbray’s Boro drawing over a third of their home games after 45 minutes, 31/20 on a 0-0 scoreline at the interval could be prosperous.
After a tight first half, Reading look the most likely to go on and claim the victory as their second-half record is impressive, scoring 29 goals.
Boro, on the other hand, have an atrocious record in the second 45 minutes of their home games – so bad, in fact, that they would be 22nd if the league table was based purely on the second half of home games.
With this in mind, 11/2 on Reading to win after drawing at half-time seems like a very generous price, especially considering their players will be boosted by boss Brian McDermott resisting the overtures of Wolves this week and signing a new contract.
New customers to bwin can claim a free £25 bet and if placed on the Royals to triumph after an even first half, potential returns of £162.50 are on offer.
Despite all my doom and gloom over Boro’s chances, do remember that they beat Reading 3-1 at the Riverside last season and the Royals have only ever won twice in Middlesbrough.
Perhaps this is why the home side are actually still favourites in the 3Way betting market at 29/20, while the Royals are priced at 39/20 and the draw is at 2/1.
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