Reading go into a Premier League fixture outside the relegation zone for only the sixth time this season when Sunderland make the long trip down south on Saturday.
Remarkably, only Manchester United and Manchester City have bettered the Royals’ recent haul of ten points in their last five games.
Those most recent of those points came on Wednesday as two late goals from Adam Le Fondre rescued a stunning 2-2 draw against Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium to justify our pre-match prediction that the Blues would slip up.
And that impressive run makes the hosts decent value at 7/5 to secure three more vital points for their survival bid against the Black Cats.
Sunderland, for their part, are 19/10 to take their third away win in their last four league trips from the Stadium of Light, while the draw is a 9/4 chance.
Saturday’s encounter should be a keenly contested one between two confident sides, but of course, that doesn’t guarantee plenty of goals.
Reading’s tactics of late have been to sit back and frustrate more talented opponents, before usually giving away or goal or two and throwing it all out of the window, only to pull off startling comebacks with the help of super sub Le Fondre, who is a shout to net the final goal against the Black Cats.
As exciting as that has been, if Sunderland approach this game cautiously, a dull stalemate might need to be broken.
Sunderland’s scoring record has notably improved after a barren start to the season, but at 1.1 goals scored per game this term, it is fair to say they are not one of the league’s more attacking outfits.
A goalless draw is priced 15/2, but punters can back Reading to nick a tight low-scoring game – with two goals or less – at 17/4.
Only four out of 12 fixtures at the Madejski this season have seen two goals or less, but two of these have come since Christmas Day.
Then again, having managed to turn around half-time deficits in three matches in succession, punters would be well justified in speculating on another remarkable Reading comeback.
You can get odds of 30/1 for Brian McDermott’s men to be trailing at the break and rampaging back to seal a win.
However, the 7/5 about a Royals victory is good enough for me, with the aforementioned 17/4 on them winning a game of under 2.5 goals also receiving a small dabble.