After spending the week in court defending himself against charges of tax evasion, Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp will rush to Vicarage Road on Friday evening to deliver a team talk ahead of his side’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Watford.
But while Spurs will have their manager in the dugout, it is unlikely that Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond, who have been charged with preparing the team, will have readied a full-strength starting XI for the clash against the Hornets.
With an important run of Premier League fixtures around the corner – even if they are not quite as important as they would have been had Spurs beaten Manchester City on Sunday, or at least held on for a draw – the likes of Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jake Livermore could get the opportunity to impress tomorrow evening as stars such as Rafael van der Vaart and Scott Parker are rested.
But even allowing for the likelihood of Spurs fielding an under-strength team, they are strong favourites to make it to the next round.
Tottenham are priced at 9/50 to progress, leaving Watford at 33/10.
Watford are twice as likely to concede in the second half of a home league game than they are in the first 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, Tottenham are available at 11/25 to win on the night, leaving the draw at 13/4 and a Tottenham success at 25/4.
Tottenham’s chances will be boosted by the fact that Watford are not in the best of form.
After a run of eight games without defeat which moved them nine points off the play-offs and nine points clear of the relegation zone, three consecutive league defeats has left them 13 points behind sixth-placed Birmingham and only six points ahead of 22nd-placed Nottingham Forest.
Watford could also be unsettled by the transfer speculation surrounding Adrian Mariappa and Marvin Sordell, who are both linked with moves away from the club.
With Tottenham’s second string proving more than capable of seeing off lower-league opposition in the third round, it is easy to see why the away side are such heavy favourites.
But given a successful £25 free bet on Tottenham to win in 90 minutes will only secure punters £36, it could be worth looking at other options to ramp up the winnings.
First off is a bet on Spurs to score more goals in the second half than they do in the second at odds of 13/10.
The reasons for this are two-fold: firstly, Spurs have scored 59 per cent of their Premier League goals in the second half of games, meaning they have history of having more attacking success after half time.
The latest evidence of their potency in the second 45 minutes of games was provided as recently as Sunday, when they scored twice after half time against Manchester City.
But more significantly, Watford are twice as likely to concede in the second half of a home league game than they are in the first 45 minutes.
As such, they have the seventh-best half time home record in the Championship, with five wins and seven draws from 14 games.
But they have the third-worst second half home record in the league, and overall in the Championship they have conceded 67 per cent of their goals in the second period.
Spurs therefore look safe bets to score more goals in the second half than they do in the first, with a £25 free bet on this eventuality set to return £57.50.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Given Watford’s impressive first-half record at home and the fact there could be a slight lack of familiarity amongst the Spurs players given the likely team line-up, one final bet to consider could be on a draw/Spurs win in the half time/full time market, which is available at 333/100.
After all, this has been the second most popular half time/full time outcome for Tottenham in the last 20 games and Watford’s most frequent double result over the same period.
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