Manchester United-Reading Betting Preview: Determined Red Devils won't slip up against the Royals

Reading face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup Fifth Round, and Jamie Dickenson is backing the Red Devils to keep firing by winning at half-time and full-time

Manchester United follow up their glamorous away day at Santiago Bernabeu with the Monday night visit of Reading in the Premier League.

It will come as no surprise to most punters to see that the hosts are the heavy 1/4 (1.25) favourites to win the match with bookmakers Coral.

The last time these two teams met, Reading gave United a scare but this time around the Royals are a lengthy 11/1 (12.0) to produce a cup shock and win at Old Trafford.

The draw is at 9/2 (5.5), but with the Premier League leaders having won their last 12 domestic home matches even that looks unlikely.

For greater value, backing the hosts to win at half-time as well full-time offers a better return of 4/6 (1.67) and looks more than probable when you consider the recent form of Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

This bet has come in during seven of the club's last 11 fixtures, while United have scored in the first half of all but one of 15 recent outings.

The fact that they won both halves of the encounter between these two sides only adds to the evidence, and with the Red Devils buoyant after a successful trip to Madrid and without another game until this weekend they should be fairly fresh.

With comparisons having been made from this United team to that of the treble-winning side of 1999, the Manchester giants are still in the running for another spectacular triple trophy haul in this campaign.

The main similarity appears to be having four strong options up front in both squads, with this year's attack featuring Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to the vintage of yesteryear containing Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.

It may be a touch fanciful to link the two in such romantic terms, but they do bear some striking similarities.

The one striker from the current crop who didn't play against Real Madrid is Javier Hernandez, but he may well be given a start against Reading.

Fourteen goals from 25 appearances is a great return for a player often used from the bench, and if the Mexico international gets the nod from the off, he could well add to his tally with the first strike at 7/2 (4.50).

Manchester United to win at half-time and full-time at 4/6 (1.67) with Coral Javier Hernandez to score first at 7/2 (4.50) with Coral

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Jamie Dickenson is a 22-year-old freelance journalist who specialises in football, sports and betting.

More of his work can be found here
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