Five defeats in their last six games suggest Stoke could be prone to an FA Cup shock against Crawley Town, who have made a habit of upsetting higher-ranked opponents in recent times.
The Red Devils have already seen off Bristol City and Hull this season – in addition to Bury and Redbridge in rounds one and two – and last year put paid to the hopes of, amongst others, Swindon, Derby and Torquay as a Conference side while pushing Manchester United close at Old Trafford in round five.
So with Stoke’s poor form to take into account, don’t Crawley represent good bets to win on Sunday at odds of 13/5? Or at the very least draw and take the tie to a replay at 23/10?
Given Stoke are a Premier League outfit and Crawley ply their trade in League Two, odds of 21/20 look good value for the higher-ranked side to make it through to the quarter-finals.
Unfortunately, this ignores the fact that Crawley go into the game on the back of a 3-0 thrashing by Swindon at home on Tuesday.
Stoke also have impressive cup pedigree of their own having reached the FA Cup final last season.
And they have already shown they are capable of dispatching lower-league opposition in the 2012 version of the competition having seen off Gillingham and Derby away from home in rounds three and four.
A trip to the Broadfield Stadium will therefore not hold too much fear for the Potters and they look to be the best bets to make it through at 21/20.
Indeed, given Stoke are a Premier League outfit and Crawley ply their trade in League Two, odds of 21/20 look good value for the higher-ranked side to make it through to the quarter-finals.
A successful £25 free bet on Stoke to beat Crawley is set to return £51.25, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Nevertheless, Stoke have only scored more than once in a game on one occasion in their last eight matches, suggesting the scoreline is unlikely to be too comprehensive.
What may save the Potters here is that Crawley have been similarly shy in front of goal, with the Red Devils scoring more than once in a game in only one of their last ten.
With this in mind, a Stoke win to nil could prove tempting to some at 23/10 although, with both teams misfiring in attack, a safer bet could be on any team to win by a single goal at odds of 13/10.
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