Reading vs Sheffield United: Surprise EFL Championship Leaders Take On Second-Placed Blades

Sheffield United stadium

Tuesday 30th August - 19:45

Anyone who got in on the action early would have surely gotten an amazing Championship betting scoop had they backed Reading for the title before the season got underway; as it is, the Royals are still 100/1 with most bookmakers. Could such a bet be worth chasing now that Paul Ince’s side have started so well?

Could the Royals Be Crowned Champions?

Clearly, it’s far too early to get carried away, but there’s no denying that Ince has got his Reading side off to something of a flyer. The Berkshire side started the season with defeats to Blackpool and Rotherham, with a narrow home win over Cardiff City sandwiched in between. 

However, the nature of their subsequent three successive wins, against promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and Millwall, have put Reading top of the pile and very much on a roll.

Paul Ince has had a mixed managerial, certainly when compared to the successes he achieved as a player, but he has made an immediate impact, having been given the permanent position as Reading boss following a joint period in charge of the club with Michael Gilkes last season.

The pair helped steer Reading away from relegation last season, albeit had Derby County not had a massive points deduction, then the club would have been relegated to League One.

Talk of promotion to the Premier League is, of course, premature, but Reading fans have suffered a great deal in recent seasons, and they’ll just be pleased to see their side at the right end of the table.

Reading enjoyed two seasons in the Premier League in 2006-07 and 2007-08; under boss Steve Coppell they even secured a memorable eighth-place finish. In 2012-13 they had another year in the top flight but were sent straight back down and haven’t bounced back since.

Sheffield United Well Placed

Reading travel to Bramall Lane to face second-placed Sheffield United, and you can expect the stands to be packed for this top-of-the-table clash, and the atmosphere on a Tuesday night is sure to be electric.

Under Paul Heckingbottom, the Blades are making a real fist of returning to the top flight. Last season they lost out to Nottingham Forest in the playoff semi-finals after experiencing penalty shoot-out heartache at the City Ground, but the former Leeds United, Hibernian and Barnsley boss has made sure his side have started the current campaign with a bang.

They were unfortunate to lose their opener away at EFL Championship title favourites Watford but have secured three wins and two draws from their last five fixtures, have won every home game this season, and are sure to offer Reading a stern test of their promotion credentials. 

Best Bets

Oliver McBurnie to Score First 5/1

The Scottish international striker experienced a very poor run of form prior to netting in Sheffield United’s 1-1 draw at Luton. The 26-year-old had failed to hit the back of the net in 43 league matches before he levelled things up at Kenilworth Road, and the former Swansea City man, who cost Sheffield United a massive £20m back in August 2019, will have experienced a significant morale boost from that goal, something he can build on for the visit of Reading. 

It’s a game that we feel Sheffield United will have the upper hand but betting on them to win isn’t going to net you much in the way of a lucrative payout, hence moving towards a first goal-scorer bet.