It is a sad indictment of Reading’s traumatic return to the top flight that Norwich City start as strong favourites for this Saturday’s clash between the sides at Carrow Road.
The Canaries are as short as 67/100 to pick up all three points, despite their distinctly underwhelming run of one win in 16 Premier League matches.
Of more significance is a run of just one point in eight matches for the Royals, who are as long as 4/1 to claim only their second away victory of the campaign and 27/10 to take a draw.
Nothing is going right for Reading as they await confirmation of their inevitable relegation. Where Adam Le Fondre was once scoring unlikely goals, he is now making unlikely scuffs in front of goal as the club’s luck continues to dry up.
Two things that support Reading’s case this weekend are that their application has not dropped one iota despite their form dipping and the stunning performance of young goalkeeper Alex McCarthy at home to Liverpool last weekend.
Seeing as Norwich are one of three Premier League teams to have managed less than a goal per game this season, it doesn’t take a wild leap of imagination to envisage a tight encounter if McCarthy is on song again.
Three of Norwich’s last six home league fixtures were goalless draws, and 0-0 can be backed at 33/4.
That the Canaries took the lead against both Swansea (drawing 2-2) and Arsenal (losing 3-1) in their last two matches does provide some hope that they will be able to reverse their slump in form in time to avoid relegation.
Norwich to win a match with less than 2.5 goals is a 29/10 option in a fixture that does, after all, have ‘must win’ pencilled all over it in East Anglia.
Punters registering with bwin today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Chris Hughton’s men to prevail in a game of under three goals would return a decent £78 if successful.
After all, ten of the 16 games at Carrow Road this term have featured under 2.5 goals – no ground in the Premier League has witnessed more.
And yet Norwich have been reasonably solid on their own patch – six of their seven wins have come at home – so they should have just enough to edge past a determined but limited Reading and that 29/10 looks an excellent price.