It was all going so well for Reading. The Royals were flying high, seven points clear at the top of The Championship before last weekend’s fixtures, with seven wins and one draw. Then Coventry pulled off a shock 3-2 win on Friday night before Preston pumped them at home 3-0 during the week.
From being watertight at the back and ruthlessly efficient up front, Reading have seen the floodgates open at both ends of the pitch. There’s been 18 goals in their last five games – an average of 3.6 per game.
Saturday 12.30pm: Reading v Stoke
Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football
Stoke are Pottering along without setting the world alight in 11th and their success has largely come at home. They make the trip south here and have lost their last two away games. Reading’s recent wobble has put us of backing them here, but the overs market looks to be the best value on offer in Saturday’s early kick off.
The Potters were on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller against Watford on Wednesday and that is one of three games where Over 2.5 Goals has landed in their last five. As mentioned, we’ve seen 3.6 goals per game involving Reading over the same period and Stoke have recorded an average of 3.4 themselves. If that form continues we will be in for plenty of action to kick off Saturday’s football with Over 2.5 Goals landing and teeing up this big-value four fold.
Brentford have been difficult to predict this season, racking up four wins, three draws and three losses to give them 15 points and 10th place in the second tier. Middlesbrough, well, you know exactly what you’re going to get week in week out from a team managed by Neil Warnock.
Boro are 6th with four wins, five draws and just the one loss. Predictably they’re very hard to beat as they keep it tight and look to capitalise on dead-ball situations. Their 10 games have seen them score nine – the second lowest in the top half – and concede just five – the lowest in the whole division.
That record will come under threat when Ivan Toney takes to the field this weekend, however. The Bees’ summer signing has been irresistible of late, netting 10 times in 10 Championship games, with seven of them coming in his last six appearances. He’s scoring on average every 83 minutes this season and, despite coming up against the meanest defence in the division, we’re backing Ivan Toney to Score Anytime here and extend his lead at the top of the Championship’s goal-scoring table.
PHIL THOMPSON: My verdict on Man Utd and Chelsea’s Saturday fixtures
Wycombe looked in danger recording one of the worst Championship seasons ever. They lost their first seven games, took five matches to score and were only prevented from occupying bottom place because of Sheffield Wednesday’s 12-point deduction. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though.
Gareth Ainsworth’s gang have been close in most of their games and were feeling very unfortunate not to have racked up more points until recently. And now, something has clicked. After somehow failing to beat a below-par Watford three games back (picking up their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw) they’ve gone on to win their last two.
Now, I’m tempted to tip up the straight win here, but with the price on offer we’ll take Wycombe in the Double Chance market. Wycombe’s two wins have against two of the division’s weaker teams, Wednesday (1-0) and Birmingham City (2-1) and they face another here.
Forest are partial to a draw and have been improving of late, losing just once since Chris Hughton’s arrival six games ago. When Wycombe get the bit between their teeth, they’re just bloody hard to deal with. They’re desperately trying to make up for lost time and are being powered by perceived injustices. Don’t be surprised if they make it three wins in a row, but we’re selecting Wycombe and Draw on the Double Chance.
Preston, on the face of it, is another team that’s hard to predict. But, dig a little deeper and the selection becomes blindingly obvious. PNE are 12th with 13 points from four wins, one draw and five defeats.
On closer inspection you’ll find that every single point Preston have amassed this season has come away from Deepdale – including that shock 3-0 demolition of Reading on Wednesday. They’ve lost all five on home soil but are still undefeated on the road with four wins and a draw from their five trips on the bus.
Rotherham are seven points below Alex Neil’s side with four points fewer from a record that shows two wins, three draws and five defeats. They welcome the away-day loving Preston to the New York Stadium with a total of just four points from five home games, courtesy of one win (3-0 over Sheffield Wednesday) and one draw (1-1 with Huddersfield). Put these pieces of the puzzle together and the picture is clearly showing us another Preston Win on the road.
Tips for Saturday’s Championship games
These four selections in an acca will give you odds of around 28/1 with Paddy Power.
*All odds correct at time of publication and they’re always bang on with out clever betting widgets
- Our top trader’s 9/1 treble for Saturday’s Premier League action
- Our 20/1 Same Game Multi for Man Utd’s trip to Everton
- Check out this 35/1 four-fold for the FA Cup first-round
- Haaland to be on song, but Bayern to have last laugh against Dortmund
- Mitro’s on fire, but is it enough for Fulham to beat West Ham?
- Chelsea to blunt the Blues in routine win at Stamford Bridge
- Leeds can Klich into gear at Palace thanks to midfield man
- Pochettino awaiting feedback from televised Man Utd job interview
- Have Zlat! Awesome Ibrahimovic helps football punter score £2k from just £2 stake
- Mesut Ozil Delivers Hologram Of Himself To Old Trafford For Arsenal Game