Despite their relegation worries, Reading have only suffered one home defeat this season in six outings but bookies expect that tally to double this weekend as Manchester United visit the Madejski Stadium.
Stan James have installed Sir Alex Ferguson’s troops at 4/9 to maintain their push to wrestle the title back from rivals Manchester City while the Royals are a 7/1 shot at Paddy Power to follow Everton and Norwich’s lead by sending the Red Devils home empty-handed and bet365 post 7/2 against Brian McDermott’s men sharing the spoils on their own patch for the fifth time this term.
Despite their stubbornness at home however, Reading will find it difficult to hold out against a United team keen to put some travelling wobbles behind them and the visitors should enjoy the upper hand in a potentially high-scoring affair.
BetVictor offer 4/5 about both teams finding the net and it’s 4/7 with Skybet for the contest to produce three or more goals, an outcome bet365 combine with an away success at an enticing 20/21.
A potential contributor to the goal total could be Javier Hernandez. The United front man isn’t a guaranteed starter but has found the net four times in his team’s last four domestic away matches so he’s clearly thriving on the road and catches the eye at evens (Stan James) to notch at any stage here.
At Upton Park, West Ham have toiled of late, winning just one of their last six in all competitions and BetVictor quote Chelsea at 17/20 to worsen that record by picking up three points in the pair’s derby clash.
Nevertheless, it’s set to be a close encounter so there’s plenty to like about bet365’s 3/1 marked against a Blues success by one and William Hill’s 7/1 for Rafa Benitez’s charges to card a 1-0 triumph.
Champions Manchester City have struggled against Everton in recent seasons, losing eight of the pair’s last 10 meetings but they saw off the Toffees at the Etihad Stadium last season and can do so again this weekend at odds of 8/15 via Stan James. This is another fixture that could prove to be tight though and correct score punters could do worse than consider Ladbrokes’ 15/2 for City to edge out the solid Toffees 2-1.
High-flying West Brom have been almost untouchable so far at the Hawthorns, where they’re 21/20 with William Hill to see off Stoke and Shane Long, who has looked sharp of late, is decent value at 5/1 (Skybet) to open the scoring in the Black Country. Meanwhile, staying in the battle for the top four, BetVictor price Arsenal at 4/9 to collect a maximum haul at Swansea’s expense but the Gunners’ North London rivals Spurs might have to settle for a point (5/2, Stan James) as they make the short journey to Fulham.
In Rugby Union, England look set for a third straight defeat as they take on the formidable All Blacks at Twickenham.
Stuart Lancaster’s team are bet365’s 7/1 outsiders while New Zealand are just 1/10 at best courtesy of BetVictor to come out on top but although the visitors are the likely winners, the hosts can keep it closer than the handicaps suggest and aided by a 16-point start, England are the pick at 10/11 via Skybet.
Wales are given a three-point cushion by William Hill at 10/11 as they entertain Australia but the Wallabies can account for that advantage at 10/11 (Stan James).
Finall, boxing and heavyweight prospect David Price is just 1/10 via Ladbrokes to score a knockout victory over Matt Skelton but all eyes will be on Andrew Flintoff in Manchester on Friday as the ex-England cricketer makes his professional debut in the ring.
‘Freddie’ comes up against unbeaten but inexperienced American Richard Dawson and the bookies don’t seem entirely unanimous in terms of who will come out on top. Flintoff is a top price of 11/10 at Paddy Power to start his fight career with a success while BetVictor rate Dawson at even money to take his record to 3-0.
At this stage it’s an almost impossible fight to call - the former all-rounder has only been in training for four months but his opponent has barely any rounds under his belt either so it’s probably wise to keep stakes low in this one and enjoy the spectacle.
Alternatively, punters can wait until Saturday to back Tyson Fury (2/9, Ladbrokes) to get the better of Kevin Johnson on points, an outcome Paddy Power price at 4/5.
Bet of the week: Chelsea to beat West Ham by one – 3/1 (bet365).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com