FA Cup Tips | 8th November 2014

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THE first round of the FA Cup is here with 80 teams battling it out to progress. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) eyes up the best bets.

FA Cup Betting Theory

FA Cup football, like most cup football at home and abroad, can be a bit of a nightmare. We’re told to be wary of the ‘magic’ that surrounds the FA Cup and so siding with big-priced outsiders should be the way forward. But I take a different approach.

Over the last two seasons of FA Cup first round and in games NOT going to extra-time, lower-league clubs have knocked out a team from a higher-division in 15/52 meetings – that’s nearly 29% and is about a one-in-three chance of an upset.

That might sound fairly attractive but remember, the high-division sides are progressing in 71% of these meetings and so, for me, it makes more sense trying to find teams that are likely to justify themselves as favourites, when betting on the FA Cup.

Weston Super Mare v Doncaster | Saturday 15.00

I backed Doncaster for relegation at the start of the season and they’re still yet to convince me. Sitting just three points above the drop zone and with Paul Dickov at the helm, it’s still a bet I believe could bank – that slip is one of the few ante-post punts I’m keeping safe.

But Rovers warrant respect for their trip to Weston Super Mare and the Woodspring Stadium. Dickov’s team have recorded a very impressive seven wins from their last 11 games on their travels and the third-tier team should have no problems brushing aside the Conference South outfit.

The Seagulls can boast just one home win to their name all season and sit second from bottom in the sixth-tier of the English football pyramid. Weston have lost five league games on the bounce and failed to score in their last two Conference South matches.

I’ll rely on Dickov’s men to put in a professional display and have Doncaster in the Half-Time-Full-Time market at evens with Betfair.

Cheltenham v Swindon | Saturday 15.00

Swindon have earned rave reviews for the football they’ve been playing under Mark Cooper and that was evident again in midweek as they saw off the challenge of Preston at the County Ground.

The Wiltshire side are playing with confidence, sitting pretty in third in League One with eight wins from their 16 outings. Impressive too to see they’ve won half of their eight road trips and also fired in 2+ goals in 11/16 league matches.

This weekend they make the short trip to Cheltenham and Bet365’s 21/20 on an away win looks right up my street, should my above theory serves me well.

The home side began the campaign with four wins in an unbeaten six-match spell but Mark Yates’ men have gone off the boil in recent weeks. It’s now seven losses in their last 11 League Two games for Town and they’ve failed to find the net in five of those games.

And against teams in 10th and above they’ve W1-D1-L5, which will hardly fill home supporters with confidence. Swindon are a class above Cheltenham and should come out on top in the battle of the Robins.

If this was a league fixture, I’ve no doubt they’d be odds-on so take Bet365’s generous 21/20 on an away win.

Yeovil v Crawley | Saturday 15.00

Yeovil have been on the drift in places during the past few days. The Glovers can be backed at odds-against but a few firms are still trying to entice punters into backing Gary Johnson’s men at odds-on quotes.

I’m certainly not one of them and neither should you. They’ve scored just twice in seven League One games now and lost five in a winless streak of seven to plummet to second-from-bottom.

Even at Huish Park they’ve struggled to get results. A surprise 1-0 win over Peterborough in September is their sole success in front of their home fans and so I’ve just got to oppose them this weekend – even if the opposition are Crawley.

Since a four-match losing spell, Crawley have found some consistency in being inconsistent – their last 10 league matches read W3-D4-L3. Their 16 League One games have brought about seven defeats but six of those have come against top-eight opposition.

Against the lesser lights, John Gregory’s men are able to compete. Take their results against teams in 10th and below and they’ve boasted a W4-D4-L1 record. With that in mind and Yeovil to be avoided like the plague, I quite fancy the look of Crawley in the Double Chance market at 10/11 with Bet365.

Best Bets

Weston Super Mare v Doncaster – Doncaster-Doncaster (1/1 Betfair)

Cheltenham v Swindon – Swindon to win (21/20 Bet365)

Yeovil v Crawley – Crawley double chance (10/11 Bet365)

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After starting his career in newspaper journalism, Mark soon found his way into the online betting world, forging a career in content, social media and marketing production. With a huge passion for stats, the Football League and European football, Mark’s other interests include playing rugby, following his beloved QPR and travel.

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