|By PAUL GOUGH
The betting is surprisingly in favour of home side Sunderland ahead of the Black Cats' relegation six pointer against Reading in the English Premier League on Tuesday.
The early season relegation battle takes place at the same time as the first two quarter-finals in this season's Capital One Cup competition on a busy night for football in England.
As well as the Premier League fixture, Bradford take on Arsenal in one League Cup quarter-final while former winners Norwich City and Aston Villa meet at Carrow Road in the other.
A win for Sunderland will not only lift Martin O'Neill's side out of the relegation zone but up to 15th on the table - above Wigan, Southampton and Aston Villa, who are all on 15 points - and just one place and one point below their great rivals Newcastle United.
And while Sunderland have won just twice from their past 23 Premier League games, they are the $2.06 favourites for this game at Betfair against Reading at $4.10, while the draw is paying $3.60.
Betfair's Daniel Bevan said around 75 percent of the early money traded on the game has been on Sunderland to win, with punters believing this is finally the Black Cats' chance to get a victory against a team that has won just one Premier League game all season.
However, it is hard to recommend either side with confidence, which might just make the draw the way to go.
It has been 17 years since these teams played out a draw, which probably means it will come along as a result in this fixture at precisely the time both sides badly need a win.
|Arsenal & Norwich City to win their League Cup matches
||Sunderland Reading to draw 0-0 at $11.50 at Betfair|
In the Capital One Cup, Arsenal are red-hot favourites at $1.38 at Betfair to win away at League Two club Bradford [$9.80] and the Gunners should have few problems, with manager Arsene Wenger revealing he may resist his usual urge to field a less-than full-strength team.
However, the other quarter-final is a much better betting proposition with Norwich, whose last trophy came in this competition in 1985, at home to Villa, whose last trophy came in this competition in 1996.
Norwich look good value to win at $2.08 with Betfair, considering they have already beaten Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham at home in the league this season.
*Note prices subject to change