Reading vs Cardiff – Royals without a win in seven against Cardiff
The Championship play-off final is the most lucrative game in world football and there will be plenty of pressure attached to Friday’s semi-final first leg play-off tie between Cardiff City and Reading.
Both sides saw their Championship campaign’s fizzle out towards the end of the season and neither side are in the best of form, but a place in the final at Wembley is at stake and both managers should have an easy job motivating their sides.
Cardiff will be the happier of the two sides as they enter the match on a seven-match unbeaten run with Reading, but Dave Jones’ side are the big 11/5 outsiders to win Thursday’s tie.
Reading’s home form is the reason they are the 5/4 favourites – they have won six of their last seven home games – but the first leg seems certain to end in a tie.
All of the last three matches between the two sides have ended with a share of the spoils and this season’s result at the Madejski Stadium saw Jay Bothroyd rescue a point Cardiff with a 77th minute equaliser.
The draw is available at 23/10 while both sides are available at 5/6 to qualify.
Bothroyd loves playing against Reading and when he takes to the Madejski turn on Friday he will be hoping to score in his third consecutive game against Reading – Bothroyd is 6/1 to get the last goal.
If the two draws this season are anything to go by, a late Cardiff goal will keep them in this play-off tie and the Bluebirds are 7/1 to come from behind and draw.
On just three occasions Reading have failed to score at home this season and the game looks set up to finish 1-1 and punters can back it at 5/1.
A £10 stake on Cardiff coming from behind to snatch a draw would return £60. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of a free bet worth up to £30.