MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) shares his view on the best FA Cup bet from Tuesday night’s card.
Bolton v Eastleigh | Tuesday 19.45
I’m never normally one for FA Cup romance and therefore, I’m constantly looking for the complete opposite of a ‘cupset’.
Now I shouldn’t need too much explaining here but bottom-of-the-Championship Bolton are a ridiculously big 19/20 (Marathon) to see off National League outfit Eastleigh this midweek and I’m all over it.
Why? Well, the Trotters went off as short as 23/20 down in Hampshire 10 days ago and I was incredibly tempted to get involved then.
Darren Pratley spared Bolton’s blushes with an equaliser three minutes from time then and although majority of reports suggested the hosts were the better side, Wanderers enjoyed more shots, efforts on-target, possession and corners.
Eastleigh – the lowest ranked team left in the cup – were crestfallen at the final whistle. There was a feeling they’d had their chance(s) and blown it. Spitfires boss Chris Todd said:
“The players put absolutely everything into it and they’ve given a performance that deserved a win. It would have been a spectacle.”
The Spitfires followed the draw up with a rather lacklustre 2-1 defeat against Gateshead in the FA Trophy on Saturday and I seriously question whether they can produce another monumental effort at the Macron.
Bolton boss Neil Lennon described the surface ahead of the first tie as “one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a few crackers in my time in Scotland” so he’ll be chuffed to get back to Wanderers’ home comforts.
Although the Trotters were slaughtered 3-0 at Nottingham Forest at the weekend, an early red card to goalkeeper Ben Amos had put them on the back foot early on. Nevertheless, the four-times FA Cup winners and original founders of the Football League were given some rare good news on Monday.
The club have avoided an immediate winding-up order after their case was adjourned until late February. That should give the suits more time to sell assets, and the club to new investors, and keep the Lancashire outfit afloat.
And despite sitting seven points from safety, Lennon’s troops fare reasonably well on home soil. Their W2-D8-L3 return this season has included four clean sheets and it’s true too that their shots-on-target ratio is better than six Championship rivals when hosting league football.
The hosts have avoided embarrassment in their last 20 fixtures against non-league opposition now and I’m sure they’ll going all out to extend that record.
All in all, I was tempted to take Bolton at 23/20 down at the Silverlake Stadium so I see no reason why I should ignore them at bulbous 19/20 quotes. To put it into perspective, the bookies give Bradford the same chance of beating Bury as Bolton overcoming Eastleigh. That’s nonsense.
Bolton v Eastleigh – Bolton to win (19/20 Marathon)
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