JACK Wright's (@JackWright_BSB) new Bet of the Day continues on Friday as we head to the Championship.
Reading vs Cardiff | Friday 16th April 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
We return to the Championship for Bet of the Day but after yesterday’s relegation battle, we focus on the other end of the table as Reading look to reignite their play-off hopes as they welcome a Cardiff side just one place but seven points behind them.
Paunovic Veljko’s side know they will need to claim all three points here in order to put some pressure on sixth place Barnsley and Bournemouth in fifth (both on 71 points), who visit champions elect Norwich on Saturday evening, which should ensure we get a pumped-up home side all set on taking the game to their faltering visitors.
After his appointment at the end of January a run of six consecutive wins and seven wins in 11 undefeated games, it looked certain Mick McCarthy was going to blast his side in to the play-off places – however after taking just six points from their last seven fixtures it appears that dream is over for another year at least.
Once again though, as was the case yesterday, this isn’t a game I will be trying to find the winner – but instead all my interest is drawn to the card markets.
Reading sit eighth across the division for ball possession but should see more than their average 52% here as Cardiff have only the three sides occupying the relegation places below them for time spent on the ball 46%.
The Royals have been in my notebook all season for their ability to draw cautions, with 32 of their 41 league games (78%) having seen their opponents collect 20+ booking points and the explanation for this is that they have been fouled far more than any other side in the league – a total of 623 times at an average of 15.2 per game, due largely to also attempting the most dribbles (779) nearly a hundred more than any other side.
In today’s opponents, they face a side you would expect to have been revved up by their no-nonsense manager, demanding a response to their last road trip – a 5-0 defeat at relegation haunted Sheffield Wednesday, a side who have committed the fourth highest total of fouls in the Championship, 551 which is the same amount as the side we were successful in backing last night, Rotherham.
In contrast Reading have committed the joint least with their low total of 440 matched by possession kings Norwich.
As nice as it would be to simply play 20+ Cardiff booking points the 4/6 price is too low for me to put forward – but I do have another cracking angle of attack to get their bookings on side.
From their 41 league fixtures to date Reading have only collected more booking points on five occasions (12%), looking at the most recent fixtures we get a similar story – just one of their last five games and just one of their last five home games has seen them pick up more than their opponents.
Whereas, looking over the Bluebirds last frustrating five away games – four (80%) have seen them pick up the higher number of cards.
In John Brooks, we have a referee not afraid to take a name or two – the fourth most prolific card flourisher in the Championship, having shown 78 yellow and 4 reds from his 23 appointments at this level – his average of 3.39 yellows per game actually is the third highest of the regular referees for the division.
The Leicestershire born official has a booking points average of 37.83, slightly more than last night's official Jarred Gillett who served us well, on the two occasions he has taken charge of Cardiff games he has booked Sean Morrison, gave Joe Ralls two yellow cards followed by a red and Kieffer Moore in both – in both these fixtures the Welsh side picked up more booking points than their opponents.
Reading have had Brooks in charge of just one of their games, Preston’s visit to the Madejski Stadium, where he awarded Josh Laurent a late yellow card, but cautioned two opposition players.
In contrast to the 4/6 mentioned earlier we are getting a double your money offer from William Hill for Cardiff to have more booking points which given all the information listed above, looks to have a cracking chance and I have no hesitation in making it my Bet of the Day.
Reading vs Cardiff – Cardiff most booking points (1/1 William Hill)