HE came out level with his FA Cup bets yesterday on a tough day, so let’s see what Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) can do on Sunday?
Bradford v Sunderland | Sunday 14:30
It’s a real shame this match isn’t on live TV as it has all the ingredients to be an exciting game. Yeah I know Sunderland are involved, but they might just contribute to a lively encounter here.
When you assess the match, the respective sides and the odds available on them it’s very hard not to get excited by Bradford. The League One side are 13/5 with William Hill to win this game and I can’t put anyone off that.
Phil Parkinson has done a great job at the Yorkshire club and for me deserves another crack in the top two divisions after earlier failure at Hull and Charlton. His side, who were promoted in 2013, are just four points off fifth place with games in hand. It could be an exciting few months.
The Bantams have lost just two games in their last 17 and their incredible WTF victory over Chelsea should go down as one of the great Cup upsets of all-time. You’ll recall they reached the League Cup Final in 2013 when they beat three Premier League sides along the way so their pedigree in this type of game is impeccable.
The League One side have scored in 19 of their last 20 games and if you contrast that with their opponents here it makes for startling reading. Sunderland have failed to score in three of their last seven games.
The Black Cats are just an incredibly unsexy side that for the rest of the season look nailed on to be relying on the contribution of Jermaine Defoe. He could prove the difference on Sunday without any doubt but I’m more than happy to avoid backing them at 5/4 with Paddy Power.
It seems to be one step forward and one back for the Mackems and when you factor in the dodgy Valley Parade pitch it could be a tough afternoon.
The bookmakers tend to agree as there’s very little juice in the Bradford handicap prices. 8/11 with BetVictor to avoid defeat just doesn’t really jump off the page. So instead I’ll back them +0.25 on the Asian Handicap at Evens with Bet365.
This means that half my stake goes on them to avoid defeat (+0.5) and the other half (+0) on the Draw No Bet option. This means that as long as they don’t lose I make profit.
Arsenal v Middlesbrough | Sunday 16:00 | BT Sport 1
I must admit I’ve been perplexed by the Arsenal price all week. Almost touching 1/2 at home to a Championship side. Call the nurse!
Just to put that into context, they were 2/9 at home to Aston Villa and 2/7 on Tuesday night against Leicester. Are Middlesborough a point and half better than the Foxes? Not for me. Okay, I appreciate it’s the FA Cup and not a league match.
Boro manager Aitor Karanka looks destined for a successful managerial career and it’s surely a matter of time before one of the Top 10 Premier League sides get in touch with him.
His side have won their last six matches, are unbeaten in 10 and will return to the top of the Championship if they win their game in hand. It’s been a glittering season, make no mistake about that.
Arsenal though, are formidable at home. Just one league defeat at the Emirates in 17 months tells you all you need to know about their strength there. They’ve won eight in a row on home turf with a victory over Borussia Dortmund at the start of that sequence.
When you add in the fact they’ve lost just one match from 40 at home in the FA Cup and have treated lower-league rivals with contempt in this competition then I’m all for them. But how do I get with them at the prices?
The Win To Nil appeals at 6/4 with Betfair but with a likely new centre-back partnership that could be a tad risky. So I’ll back them -1.5 on the handicap at 13/10 with Bet 365. Arsenal have scored more than one in 12 of their last 14 matches.