The nerves are starting to kick in in the FA Cup as we are entering the fourth round of competition. Heavy favorites could fall, here is our betting preview.
16 games are taking place over 3 days in the FA Cup as we reach the fourth round. Whilst the third round may be a highlight of the football calendar for many fans (it certainly is for me), the fourth round is where the nerves can start to kick in. With a good draw you can look ahead to the fifth round and be just 3 matches away from the final, with a tough draw you start to dream that your side could put out a rival for the competition. Either way, you're often left thinking this could be “your year”.
This season we have several sides that may be looking at the FA Cup as a truly legitimate competition to win, regardless of the financial prize on offer. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are all likely to have this competition fairly high up their list of priorities and that could give this years FA Cup even more of an edge, and an interesting dynamic to the betting odds hence forth.
Of those 4 sides Manchester City have the hardest tie as they face up against Crystal Palace, one of only two “all Premier League” clashes taking place this weekend. Palace though could be forgiven for having other matters on their mind as they look to avoid relegation this season. Pep Guardiola may be experiencing his first ever FA Cup run but he's known to take cup competitions seriously and I suspect he'll be putting out a strong side this weekend. Personally I'm backing my intuition with an Asian Handicap bet on Manchester -1 at 1.99 with Pinnacle.
I'm going a step further with Manchester United though and backing them to overcome a 2 goal handicap this weekend. Their opponents, Wigan Athletic, are in trouble towards the bottom of the Championship and an extended FA Cup run won't be their first consideration. It'll be a nice event for Wigan manager Warren Joyce though who returns to Old Trafford for the first time since relinquishing his post as reserve team manager at the tail end of 2016. Manchester United -2 is available at 1.87 with BetVictor.
There are potential banana skins out there as well though. Leicester may find it harder than they expect up against a Derby side that are steadily improving under Steve McClaren and if Liverpool take a risk with their starting line-up then Wolves can give them a game.
The closest thing I can see to a sure bet in this round though is a Both Teams To Score (No) bet on the game between Middlesbrough and Accrington Stanley. ‘Boro have a fantastic defensice record at the Riverside this season and against lower league opposition I can see them keeping another clean sheet.
There's so much football to watch this weekend in the FA Cup it will be hard to choose which match I want to sit down for but with an embarrassment of riches it could be hard to make a bad choice.