Reading v Bristol City - Saturday 15:00

Four straight wins have powered Reading’s ascent to the head of the chasing pack but let’s not carried away with any ideas that Jaap Stam’s men are somehow different to the other 15 teams in the hunt for the play-offs. They might have a unique philosophy but their nine-point cushion over 16th-placed Aston Villa is a reflection of the fixture list more than bottom-line quality.

The Royals have made light work of the deadwood in the division over the past month, beating four teams in the bottom seven by an aggregate 9-0 scoreline. But early goals appear instrumental to their success, and five of those nine goals have arrived inside 30 minutes, validating their subsequent indulgence in sideways possession.

Bristol City, by contrast, have lost their way as a result of slow starts. The Robins seldom get on top of the opposition quick enough and usually reserve their best football for the second period. With only three first-half goals in their 17 league outings, and none in the last nine, there’s value in the standout 21/10 quote about Reading to win the first half.

However, despite a poor record of five straight defeats against the Berkshire club, City have enough quality about them nowadays to take something from this game. With Tammy Abraham in attack, it only requires half a chance to do what few teams can to Reading when they are protecting a lead. Take the 16/1 available on the Reading/Draw half time/full time bet.

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Reading to win the first half - 1pt @ 21/10
Reading/Draw half time/full time - 1pt @ 16/1