Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, centre runs through the Barnsley defence during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Barnsley and Chelsea at the Oakwell Stadium in Barnsley, England,Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, Pool)
- Barnsley host Reading in Matchday 39 of the English Championship on Friday, April 2nd at 12:30 pm EST
- With eight matches remaining for both sides, Barnsley and Reading are only separated by two points in fifth and sixth place respectively
- Currently, Barnsley are the narrow favorites with a moneyline of +125
With only a handful of matches left in the English Championship season, clubs are still grinding it out for a Promotional Playoff spot. The last two spots in fifth and sixth place are currently held by Barnsley and Reading, who play each other on Friday afternoon. Bournemouth are three points behind Reading with a game in hand, and Cardiff City sits only one point further behind the Cherries, meaning the race is heating up.
Furthermore, it makes this match between Barnsley and Reading all the more important. The sides last played in September, in a match Reading won 2-0 with Barnsley playing down two men. Despite a recent loss to Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley has been on an excellent run of form, winning nine out of their last 11. With only two points of separation, Barnsley will not only want to avenge their fall defeat but also keep their spot in the table.
All in all, this boils down to getting a chance to play in the Premier League next season. An accomplishment of that magnitude changes a club for many years and surely impacts the career path of multiple players. Both sides desperately want a chance at this glory, but a loss in this result with only a handful of fixtures left would be devastating.
Barnsley vs Reading Odds
|Barnsley vs Reading||BAR +0.5 (+125) | REA -0.5 (-157)||BAR +125 | REA +220 | DRAW +220||Ov 2.5 (+138) | Un 2.5 (-175)|
Odds as of Mar 31
Reading Looks to Turn Around Poor Form
Before the international break, Reading had gone three matches without a win in games against Nottingham Forest, Birmingham and QPR. At points this season they have looked terribly inconsistent. However, their manager, Veljko Paunovic has given the team a bit of positive injury news as defender Michael Morrison looks to make the trip to Oakwell Stadium. Morrison is one of Reading’s first-choice center halves and will be a significant boost as they try defending Cauley Woodrow.
Lucas João’s tally of 18 goals is the most ever by a Reading player after 32 games in a Championship season.
— Talk Reading (@TalkReading) March 27, 2021
Meanwhile, Reading have an offensive weapon of their own in Lucas Joao. The Portuguese forward has scored 18 goals so far this year while additionally providing seven assists. His finishing prowess along with Michael Olise’s distribution through the middle can be a deadly combination. Olise scored the second goal in the reverse fixture and he will surely look to exploit their defense again come Friday.
Barnsley vs Reading Statistics
|1.29||Goals per game||1.37|
|11.7||Shots per game||11.6|
Woodrow Will Dictate this Result for Barnsley
While it could be said that many players chip in on the goal tally for Barnsley, Cauley Woodrow is far and away their best forward. Woodrow was on the bench the last time these two sides played, in a game where Barnsley only managed to put two shots on target. His presence in the number nine role should surely create more action against the team with the second-highest goals conceded mark in the top ten of the Championship.
📰 Back in action this Friday evening…
Read all about our clash with the Royals!
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) March 30, 2021
Recently, Barnsley have been fantastic and aside from a fluke against Sheffield Wednesday, their last loss came against Chelsea in the FA Cup. Despite a rocky start to their 2020/21 campaign, it looks like they are on track for a great finish that should leave them in a playoff spot come May. Unfortunately, the last time Barnsley won this result was all the way back in 2014. The sides have played seven times since then including four wins for Reading, and three stalemates.
Barnsley vs Reading Best Bet
Finally, the best bet for this match is the Barnsley moneyline with odds of +125. This bet has great value and is the most logical pick. The ‘Over’ on total goals is tempting because of the goal scorers on both teams, but these sides have scored under 2.5 total goals in five out of their last six head-to-head matchups. Furthermore, Barnsley are the team on form, while Reading is trying to dig themselves out. This season Reading have been so volatile in terms of their results, which is why it is crucial to go with the favorites in this match.
My Pick: Barnsley moneyline (+125)
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Josh Ricker is a freelance sports journalist, currently attending the University of Southern Maine (Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and Marketing). He has recently interned with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, and his work has been featured on Fansided, as well as now here on SBD.