Bet365 has this one down as a close affair with Reading 6/4 against Sunderland at 15/8 to win Saturday, with the draw at 23/10. But I think form in this one belies league position as I will show you in my Premier League tips and predictions for this fixture.
Be sure to check out our Premier League Tips & Picks: Weekend Rundown for insight on all of the upcoming EPL fixtures.
The hosts sit in 17th place, nine points and six places below their visitors in 11th. Reading however moved out of the relegation zone after a late double strike from substitute Adam Le Fondre saw them fight back from two behind against Chelsea last night at the Madejski Stadium to earn a priceless point. Reading are on a great run, having won four straight before last night's draw and have lost just once in eight in all competitions, winning five of them.
Sunderland drew with Swansea City Tuesday night in a hard fought but goalless encounter at the Stadium of Light to maintain their mid table position but will know that a couple of poor results, especially against those below them, could yet see them back in the relegation dogfight. They have lost three of their last eight and drawn two.
These two played the reverse fixture on Tyneside just eight weeks ago with the hosts winning easily 3-0 in a one sided affair, a repeat of that score is at 28/1 with Wiliam Hill but Reading have hit form in recent weeks as those stats reveal, whereas their visitors have been patchy with fine performances like the 1-0 win over Champions Man City sitting alongside an FA Cup exit at lower league side Bolton and losing games from winning positions, like the 2-1 loss at home to Spurs.
Reading are looking good for survival at this point but it is so tight down at the bottom that they cannot keep going behind in games even if they have, in several recent games, come back to win or draw from losing positions like they did last night against Chelsea and when beating WBA 3-2 having been two down in that one. Only Man Utd can boast more comeback wins than the royals of late.
With that in mind and because I like the current Premier League odds, the Half Time/Full Time of Sunderland/Reading is a great bet at 28/1 to continue that trend with Sunderland/Draw at 14/1 both with bet365. The one thing I do not see in this game is a Sunderland victory.
Adam Le Fondre is on fire right now for Reading, has hit seven in five games and 10 so far this season from only eight starts, coming off the bench 14 times. He has hit three doubles in the last five games and is 7/1 to do so again Saturday with William Hill. Noel Hunt actually hit a double in the one game in the last five Le Fronde failed to score in and with WBA's Romelu Lukaku hitting a brace (in vain) for them in that 3-2 comeback win, that is five games on the bounce that someone has netted two when Reading are playing. Some stat that!
Steven Fletcher is Sunderland's top scorer and also has ten on the season so far, but though higher up the table they have actually been outscored by Reading 30 goals to 27 in the EPL so far this season. Reading have ten different scorers this term, Sunderland nine.
So for me I see Reading continuing their great run and picking up more valuable points in this one and think it will likely be all three. Sunderland Boss Martin O'Neill always puts fire in the belly of his teams and this will be a hard fought encounter for sure but with Reading piping the Black Cats by the odd goal in three for me.
Premier League Tips: Home win at 11/8 and a correct score prediction of 2-1 at 17/2 with William Hill. The Half Time/Full Time of Sunderland/Reading at 28/1 with bet365.