Ahhhh, FA Cup third-round weekend. The tipster’s worst nightmare!
Notoriously unpredictable and surprising, it can be a tough weekend for bookies and punters alike. Nevertheless, by backing Leicester City, Manchester City and Derby County in this weekend’s Home Heroes, you will stand a great chance of picking up a decent return for your money.
All are playing dangerous opposition in Burton Albion, Watford and Tranmere Rovers respectively, but that should focus their minds and ensure that the dreaded cup shock doesn’t materialise.
New customers who sign up with bwin online qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back this weekend’s FA Cup Home Heroes banker treble will return £48.45 if successful.
Leicester City to beat Burton Albion @ 1/4
FA Cup shock specialists Burton Albion travel to the King Power Stadium on Saturday hoping to add to a rich tradition in the world’s most famous knockout competition, but Nigel Pearson’s side will have revenge on their minds when Gary Rowett’s men come calling.
The Brewers won 4-2 at the King Power Stadium in the Carling Cup in August, but repeating the feat in the FA Cup could be a much tougher proposition.
Despite holding Manchester United to a 0-0 draw in the third round in 2006 and knocking Middlesbrough out at the same stage in 2011, the recent stats don’t back up the assertion that the Brewers could stun the Foxes once again this time around.
Burton might be just one point outside the League Two play-off places but they have won just once away from home in their last five matches, losing three and drawing one, and have won just three of their 13 away games all season.
Leicester thrashed Huddersfield Town 6-1 in their last home match as they chase automatic promotion to the Premier League and they have won nine of their 13 home matches so far this campaign, losing just twice.
A second away win of the season over Leicester isn’t on the cards for Burton. Expect a comfortable home triumph.
Man City to beat Watford @ 7/50
Although it is difficult to predict with any great certainty what sort of side Manchester City will field against Watford on Saturday, the Etihad superstars should still have too much for Gianfranco Zola’s dangerous but unpredictable Watford side.
The Hornets shipped four goals at home to Charlton in their last outing on New Year’s Day and it is difficult to see how they will keep out a City side who have scored seven goals in their last two games.
Roberto Mancini’s men have lost just once on home soil in more than two years and haven’t exited any cup competition to lower-league opposition since Nottingham Forest dumped them out of the FA Cup four years ago.
Another home win looks likely here, even if a few of the hosts’ superstars are given a day off.
Derby County to beat Tranmere Rovers @ 7/10
High-flying Tranmere will no doubt feature highly on a lot of people’s potential shock lists, but not on mine.
Ronnie Moore’s League One table-toppers have won just one of their last four away games – a run which includes a 5-0 thrashing at promotion rivals Swindon – and on Saturday they travel to a venue where they have a horrible record historically.
The last three meetings between the sides in Derby, all in the mid-90s, ended in 6-2, 5-0 and 4-0 wins for the home side, so history is well and truly against the Merseysiders.
County have an excellent home record this season, losing just twice in 13 games, and they beat promotion-chasing Middlesbrough 3-1 at Pride Park in their first match of 2013.
Nigel Clough’s men will be in confident mood and they should do the business again here.