So – the FA Cup 3rd round is finally upon us! It looks a very good draw, not too many mis-matches which for me is always good.
I’ve had a look through the prices, and rather than try and ear-mark too many shocks, I’ve looked to select a bit of value, favouring home teams in good form even against teams from higher leagues. I’ve tried to minimalise any Premier League involvement as I feel some teams rest players, so to back Aston Villa or Swansea against League Two opposition @ prices of evens or above is risky.
Here are my 6 tips for the FA Cup action on Saturday:
Brentford vs Walsall: Walsall Win or Draw @ 1/1
Walsall are in pretty good form, and sit top of League One. Brentford are mid-table in the Championship and might make a few changes with the likes of Hofmann and McEachran on the bench. This should be a tight game, and value for me could be a replay but Walsall not to lose.
Eastleigh vs Bolton: Eastleigh to Qualify @ 7/4
Bolton are in a poor place at the moment. Massive debt, poor performance and a manager who seems resigned to them going down.
Eastleigh on the other hand are full of confidence, in great form and look in the mood for an upset. This is another than could go the distance, so picking them to qualify over a potential 2 legs is the slightly safer bet at just under 2/1, rather than the win at just over 2/1
Peterborough vs Preston: Peterborough Win @ 29/20
Peterborough are a high scoring team, who have won 6 of their last 8 home games, and not failed to score at home this season. After an iffy start, they have come on leaps and bounds and now threaten the promotion places. Marcus Maddison and Connor Washington two in particular to watch. Preston are a solid team in the Championship that struggle away from home. Don’t score many, don’t concede many but against a side as attack-minded at Posh I think they might come unstuck.
Ipswich vs Portsmouth: BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals @ 5/4
Both of these sides can score for fun, but both can have issues at the back. Portsmouth have had 7 BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals in their last 10 away games, and while Ipswich have only had 4 in their last 10 home – you see them keep clean sheets against Burnley but concede 2 or 3 to the likes of Rotherham. I feel with the odd change made this is going to be a solid bet.
Northampton vs MK Dons: Northampton Win @ 17/10
Northampton are fantastic at home, with 7 wins in their last 10 – scoring plenty of goals and really pushing them into a good place for promotion. MK Dons on the other hand are struggling in the Championship and are finding goals hard to come by. Away from home, no wins in 10 and of those 7 were defeats. Given the form of the League Two side, certainly a good price!
Watford vs Newcastle: BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals @ 5/4
This all-Premier League should be a good one. It ended 2-1 in September, and with Newcastle looking increasingly dangerous but lacking end product, and Watford looking like they could beat anyone on their day, I think it will be a classic. Weather Mitrovic starts is another matter, but with Siem de Jong likely to feature, he will be dying to score after missing a sitter a few weeks back. Ighalo and Deeney will probably feature for the home side, who are reliable enough when it comes to goals but a little dodgy at the back with some temperamental defenders!
The 6 fold pays 185/1, while my preferred four-fold is Northampton, Peterborough and the two BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals games in what is a 33/1 acca.
Best of luck