The early stages of the FA Cup can often prove to be a punter’s graveyard because you are always guaranteed at least one upset on any given weekend.
Looking down the fixture list, you casually pick out all of the favourites, all of the teams playing sides from lower divisions, and you cannot see how you are going to lose.
However, I personally have never had a success when tackling a mammoth FA Cup accumulator with all of the ‘dead-certs’.
Fortunately, this weekend, the bwinbetting bosses have decreed that I only have to predict an outcome from a single fourth-round fixture, which should greatly increase the chances of picking a winning selection.
It would be extremely easy to plump for the Premier League club as Everton travel to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, but after the Trotters dumped another top-flight side (Sunderland) out in the previous round, I am sure there will be plenty of punters who sense another (mini) giant-killing, which is available at very generous odds of 4/1.
Obviously David Moyes’ men go into the encounter as overwhelming favourites (31/50) and rightly so considering the exceptional form they have shown this season, but let us not forget what happened the last time they travelled to a Championship side for a cup game.
Elland Road was the venue back in September and although Moyes did rotate his side to some extent, Leeds United defeated the Toffees and advanced to the next round of the Capital One Cup.
You could argue that the Capital One Cup was not a priority for Everton, but Moyes would not admit to that philosophy. The fiery Scot goes into every match wanting to come out on top and that night would have been no different.
But instead of looking at it from the perspective that Everton are prone to a cup upset, I am assuming Moyes will not settle for another sub-standard performance and should field a strong line-up now that his injury concerns have eased slightly.
Having mentioned their superb season thus far, it should be noted that the side from Goodison Park have failed to record a win in their previous two league matches and did not find the back of the net in either of those ties.
Two consecutive goalless draws against Swansea City and Southampton are not disastrous results but if they are eyeing up a top-four spot then they will need to turn those draws into victories.
With both Chelsea and Tottenham picking up points regularly and Arsenal certainly not out of the running, Everton know that if they are to keep pace with the so called ‘big-boys’ in the chase for Champions League football, then they must maintain their early-season form right through until May.
If bwin customers sense a third consecutive draw for the Merseysiders, then this outcome can be backed at 14/5, while another 0-0 scoreline is priced at 33/4.
One thing for sure is that Dougie Freedman’s side will not let Everton have it all their own way and I suspect the Trotters will aim to get in the opposition’s faces from the start, but they will not be able to keep that up for 90 minutes and I predict that Moyes’ men will eventually grind out a result.
With that in mind, I am tipping the game to be level at the break, but Everton to win through at the full-time whistle, which is available at odds of 15/4.
Everton’s last two victories in the Premier League have come after being all square at the interval, so they know how to impose themselves in the second half and that should ultimately see them past the Championship side.