F.A Cup – Fourth Round Best Bets

Following a rather disappointing third round, with very few upsets, attention turns to the fourth round of England’s most prized cup competition.

Sticking with the trend of last rounds predictions, it may pay to delve into a mixture of outsiders and goalscorers, with teams now stepping up the hunt for glory and putting out as strong a starting eleven as they can muster.

Double Delight;

Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job since taking over at Crystal Palace, and his side travel to holders Wigan on the back of a solid run of form which has seen them climb out of the relegation zone to 16th place.

Wigan on the other hand have found themselves floundering in eleventh place in the Championship, way below expectations. They have struggled to show the spark which seen them win the trophy last year, and it took a replay to see of MK Dons in the last round.

All this added together, means the current 27/10 for Crystal Palace seems exceptionally large. Usually it pays to steer clear of bottom-half Premier League sides travelling to Championship opposition, with questions asked over desire and commitment.

tony pulid

However, you can guarantee Pulis will have his men completely motivated and up for the challenge, and he will hope to improve on his record in the competiton, having guided Stoke to the final in 2011, before being beaten by Manchester City.

They should have too much class to see off Wigan, and they become the first selection in an enticing double.

The second selection is ironically, also a bottom half (relegation threatened) side, travelling away to a Championship side.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over the reigns at Cardiff City and guided his side past Newcastle in the previous round, and he has pinpointed a cup run as important to instilling confidence around the club, which will help them fight against relegation later in the season.

His side travel to Bolton, who are currently struggling in the Championship, and come into the game on the back of a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Reading.

You can be certain confidence will be extremely low, and Solskjaer’s men may well be able to take advantage of this. The Bluebird’s should realistically be favourites, yet are currently being offered at 9/5 to beat Dougie Freedman’s men.

Cardiff have managed to take the scalps of many big Premier League sides this season, and although they are currently sitting at the foot of the table, they have the belief and ability to be able to beat any side in the league on their day, which should mean they can surpass Bolton Wanders, and it is worth chancing at the prices.

This means that the double pays 9.36/1 and is definitely worth a small punt.

Any-time scorer double;

Any-time goalscorer bets are becoming increasingly popular with punters, and it is easy to see why. It gives hope throughout the entire game, as you know regardless of the score, if your player is on the pitch, you have a chance of winning your bet up until the ref blows the full-time whistle.

The first member of the elite duo we are going to back, may well be a surprising choice. The early kick-off is between Bournemouth and Liverpool, in which Liverpool are firm favourites to go through.

However, the Reds always look prone to conceding of late, and with Simon Mignolet’s current form being questioned, it would be no surprise to see the magic of the cup occur, and Bournemouth net a goal at some stage of the afternoon.

This means siding with Lewis Grabban (7/2), to net any-time could well be a profitable venture. The striker recently celebrated his 26th birthday by holding talks with Brighton about a potential move to the fellow Championship side, however he turned them down and signed a new contract at the Cherries.

It would be perfectly fitting for him to show his loyalty to the fans, by netting a goal against such esteemed opposition and his pace and prowess are sure to give Liverpool defenders a torrid time at Victoria Park, and he is definitely worth chancing at odds of 7/2 to score any-time.

The second part of the double comes in the shape of Adam Lallana, with the Englishman likely to be starting in an attacking role against Yeovil, on Saturday.

lallana

His ability to find the right spaces and class to choose the right pass or finish, has led the 25 year-old to be given his first chance in an England shirt this season. He will be looking to try and barge his way into Roy Hodgson’s plans for Brazil, and he knows the F.A Cup is one of the best ways to do it.

He netted in the previous round against Burnley, and will be hoping he can do the same against a weaker defence. The bookies are split with his odds ranging from 11/8 to a top-priced 2/1, and this should be exploited and added to the other selection of Grabban to form a 12.5/1 double.

Highest Scoring Game;

It is always difficult to predict the highest scoring game in an F.A Cup weekend, with thrillers being played out left, right and centre.

However, this particular market looks of great interest this round, due to a rather generous price on Manchester City taking on struggling Watford.

City have been sweeping all before them at the Etihad this season, and they have already registered over one hundred goals so far this season. They may not play their first string against Watford, but they have class in abundance and could well run riot.

Aguero will be given the nod to continue his return to fitness, and he alone will cause Watford some serious problems. They are 5/1 to be the highest scoring game, with Southampton v Yeovil at the same price. The Saints may well rest a few players, and take their foot of the gas when they establish a decent lead, whereas you can be certain City will be out to knock up a massive margin.

So, the 5/1 does look extremely tempting, and should be taken on City v Watford to be the highest scoring F.A Cup game this weekend.

Selections;

Crystal Palace & Cardiff both to win @ 9.36/1

Grabban & Lallana to score any-time @ 12.5/1

Man City v Watford to be the highest scoring game @ 5/1

F.A Cup – Third Round Best Bets

The magic of the F.A Cup is one thing that continues to give hope to teams and fans-a-like during their dark periods of supporting their club.

There’s nothing more that excites neutrals than the possibility of a big upset, and their looks set to be a few potential candidates this weekend.

Underdog Double;

Leicester City have been in fantastic form this season, mounting a serious title challenge in the Championship, and they travel to Mark Hughes’ Stoke this weekend.

Following on from a solid start to 2013, with a 3-1 win away at Millwall, Nigel Pearson’s men will be in great form and travel to the Potteries in buoyant mood.

Whereas Hughes’ men, have struggled of late, winning only one of their last six in all competitions. They come into the game having conceded a last minute penalty against Everton, throwing away a potential three points.

Their isn’t a massive difference in squad strengths between the two sides, and the pricing structure is based solely on the fact that the game is being played at the Britannia. Pearson will have prepped his players in dealing with the intense atmosphere, and the 27/10 on offer for Leicester looks too big to ignore, albeit not being too much of a ‘potential upset’.

The other team to go into the ‘Upset double’ is struggling Cardiff to beat in-form Newcastle. Yes, I know that’s not exactly what you want to hear going into the bet, but there is method in the madness.

Newcastle have been exceedingly strong in recent weeks, constantly surprising whilst racking up wins and shooting up the table. This is in a stark contrast to Cardiff’s dip in form, which ultimately (along with other things) cost Malky Mackay his job.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to be appointed the new Cardiff boss, and his wealth of experience on the pitch will come in very handy with the current squad at his disposal. Vincent Tan is sure to be offering hefty bonuses for impressive performances in cup competitions, and with the pressure of a league struggle put on the back-burner for a weekend, the freedom that Cardiff can play with will surely suit their expansive team.

The fairy-tale of the F.A Cup looks fitting to thrust Tan and his wild antics back into the limelight, and the stage looks set for a big game after Newcastle struggled to a defeat at the hands of West Brom, whilst Cardiff managed to keep Arsenal at bay for 88 minutes at the Emirates before conceding two late goals. The 9/2 for Cardiff looks generous, and the double pays 19.35/1.

Any-time scorer treble;

There are often selection issues from the so called ‘big sides’ in the competition, with many players being rested, with the league deemed more important. So it will pay to side with Championship sides and lower, who are guaranteed to put out their strongest eleven, as-well as paying attention to sides who are likely to play potential fringe players.

The first player to add to our treble, is Britt Asombalonga who has scored four times in only two appearances in the F.A Cup so far in his blossoming career. The 21 year-old has been in good form for Peterborough, and looks set to lead the line as Posh travel to Kidderminster hoping to avoid a potential upset. He is odds-on to net any-time in many places, with Bet365 going a stand-out 6/5, which becomes the first leg of the treble.

The second leg is a fringe player, who may potentially be sent out on loan this January, with the game acting as a potential shop window. The man is Nikica Jelavic at Everton, and although he is not guaranteed to start, the 6/4 on offer for him to net any-time looks too good to miss if he is to be given the nod.

The Croatian hasn’t been given much of a chance due to the emergence of loan signing Romelu Lukaku, and he will be looking to take advantage of any chance he is to be given. He is sure to get the service from a great footballing Everton side, who have began to thrive under Roberto Martinez. QPR are not great defensively, and Everton should be able to control the game, meaning Jelavic will be inundated with chances. The 6/4 with Bet365 is another best price, and is the second leg.

The final leg of the treble comes in the late kick-off on Saturday evening, and is Danny Welbeck who is currently 6/4. David Moyes will be taking no chances with team selection, knowing an early exit from the competition could be very cost to both him and his team. Welbeck is likely to start, and after netting twice away at the Swans on the opening day of the season, he will be confident of finding the net once more.

This means the treble pays 12.75/1 and looks a decent proposition to kick-start the new year in style.

Selections;

Leicester & Cardiff double @ 19.35/1

Assombalonga, Jelavic & Welbeck any-time treble @ 12.75/1

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