READING welcome Bournemouth in Friday night's Championship action. Rob Mason (@Sturdys29) delivers his betting analysis.
Reading vs Bournemouth | Friday 29th January 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
It is fifth vs sixth in the race for the golden ticket back to the Premier League, as Reading take on Bournemouth, in what looks an intriguing game at the top of the Championship on Friday night.
Bournemouth come into the fixture with just 1 win in their last 6 league games (having not kept a clean sheet in their last 5) and they face a quick turn around after playing in the FA Cup against Crawley on Tuesday night. The Cherries did manage to get into the 5th Round, dominating the game and having 29 shots. They did, however, still only score 2 goals and conceded against League Two opposition.
You get the sense it is an important time for Jason Tindall’s men and the jury is still out as to whether the boss is the right man to lead Bournemouth back to the Premier League.
It has been an extremely positive start in Berkshire for Veljko Paunovic. He took over a team losing their last 3 games of the season finishing in 14th to genuine promotion contenders which must be commended. Reading come into the Friday night game having picked up 11 points from a possible 15 and are 5 games unbeaten pushing them above the south coast club in the league.
The Royals did, however, drop points at Preston last time out with the game ending 0-0 and Reading missing a penalty towards the end of the match.
The betting angles
In the outright market Bournemouth are priced at 13/10 to pick up all three points, with the draw at 9/4 and Reading to get the win at 5/2. If I were to pick out a play, the 5/2 on Reading to win with Sky Bet looks the way to go. The hosts' form is too good to ignore and the Cherries have been stuttering as of late. It leads me to think the 5/2 is value but I will instead focus elsewhere.
For my first play, I am going for Lucas Joao to score anytime. I cannot turn down the price of 43/20 with Sporting Index. Joao has a total of 14 for the season so far. The Portuguese striker is in a hot run of form currently having scored 8 times in his last 9 appearances and notched in the reverse fixture at the Vitality.
Since returning from an injury spell on the side lines the creative midfielder has made an impact for the Royals. Paunovic has deployed Swift in a more attacking position and has already scored a cracker of a free kick vs Coventry and had an assist in the same game.
Last season Swift averaged 0.6 shots on target per-game and I feel the price of 2/1 is too big to turn down. He is only 5/1 to score with the same bookmakers and Sky Bet have him priced at 4/5 for a SOT making the price on offer real value in my eyes.
James Linington is the man with the whistle for the game and averages this season 2.27 cards per-game. His stats for cards this season is below the overall league average and puts me off multiple card options but my final angle of attack is for Bournemouth to pick up most cards at 11/10 with Sky Bet.
Reading this season have received the second-lowest cards per game in the league at 1.12 whilst Bournemouth have received 1.48. It is teams playing Reading however that make the bet on offer stand out.
Reading’s opponents this season average 2.28 cards – the highest in the league with Reading's opponents receiving the most cards in 12 of the last 13 games. This bet also landed in the reverse fixture in November and must be snapped up at the price on offer.