FA Cup Semi-Final Picks & Tips for Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal

Nila Amerova

Thursday, April 10, 2014 3:36 PM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014 3:36 PM GMT

Arsenal are the overwhelming favourites to hoist the FA Cup this season and can surely look forward to ending their title drought. But is it a foregone conclusion as soccer-betting markets suggest? Find out as we preview the semi-final clash between Arsenal and Wigan.

Arsenal Top Favourites To Win Outright
Following Manchester City’s shock upset in the quarterfinals, FA Cup odds went to press and Arsenal emerged as the runaway favourites to win the title. Indeed, the semi-finals are poised perfectly for tournament favourites Arsenal with just Premier League bottom stragglers Hull City, defending champions Wigan Athletic – now enjoying Championship football – and League One side Sheffield United in the way of getting their eager hands on the trophy.

It’s really no surprise therefore, given the field on hand, Arsenal have this market cornered on -225 futures odds to win outright at Bet365. By that same token, they are predictably favoured strongly to beat Wigan Athletic in the semis this weekend at Wembley Stadium, tipped at -225 on the soccer odds board to win outright.

But soccer bettors worth their salt know Arsenal notoriously flatter to deceive. Why else is the infamous title drought 8 years, 10 months, 19 days and counting long?

The scenario was similar in the 2010-2011 League Cup semi-final instalment when Arsenal were drawn into a final four with Ipswich, West Ham and Birmingham. Then the set up was just as perfect for Arsenal to end the long wait for silverware. Yet, they made a right mess of it in the end, not that the Birmingham Blues complained of course, seeing as they ended up popping the bubbly.

Bringing up ancient history doesn’t mean Arsenal aren’t credible favourites but rather it’s to demonstrate that they aren’t a sure soccer pick to win the competition proper. Nor for that matter to advance into the finals at the expense of Wigan Athletic, who are the defending champions mind. If there’s a lesson to be had: it’s that they can’t take anything for granted, not even their lofty top-flight credentials in the face of a widely acknowledged lightweight field. And soccer bettors would do well to take heed.

Wigan Athletic shocked Man City in the final last year, another occasion that was tipped a foregone conclusion in soccer-betting markets in favour of the Citizens, naturally. And it clearly wasn’t a one-off as the Latics just backed up that result with a second straight win over Man City in the competition, dumping the highly favoured Sky Blues in the quarterfinals.

Last year’s Premier League drop out are clearly punching above their weight class. They have advanced through this competition with impressive form with four wins and a draw (their opening match against Milton Keynes Dons went two legs – 3-3 draw before the Latics won 3-1 in Extra time in the second leg). 

Sportsbooks however aren’t buying what they are selling. Wigan Athletic ring in as the third favourites to win the competition at +700 futures betting odds. As well, they are listed at +600 to beat Arsenal at the weekend. Prompting the obvious question: are these odds a true reflection of their FA Cup form or are they just a reflection of the place they occupy in football hierarchy?

That said Arsenal have put forward a strong case in their FA Cup bid by advancing at the expense of top opposition mainly. They are through to the semis with four wins and two clean sheets – 2-0 over Tottenham Hotspur and 4-0 over Coventry City. What’s more, they beat both Liverpool (2-1) and Everton (4-1), Premier League counterparts that are enjoying standout seasons.

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Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal Match Betting Tips and Picks
By virtue of their top-flight credentials, Arsenal warrant their favourable odds to both win this competition and advance at the expense of the Latics. But recent poor form, which has seen them bow out of Champions League R16 and not only lose their grip on the Premier League title but also potentially on a top four spot is a source of serious concern. At the very least, it should give the Latics, who continue to defy the odds and punch above their weight class, a feeling that they have a chance against the Gunners. One that is exceedingly better than the odds makers would have you believe it is at +600 soccer odds to win outright. Let’s not forget, Wigan beat Man City twice and if that isn’t reason to consider them seriously what is?

Common wisdom suggests Arsenal are the safe soccer pick at -225. They have a lot to prove and critics to silence so they could (should) very well rise to the occasion. But the cautious optimist looking for the upset has to consider tickling Wigan’s tempting odds of +600 on the off chance that they just might mastermind yet another shocker.

Soccer Free Picks: Wigan Athletic at +600

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