Main Menu
No.1 2 3 4
No.5 6 7 8
No.9 10 11
Play now at the William Hill Casino
  | Home   | Index   | Info   | This Week   | Poker   | News   | Email
25/01/2008 No.12
rendspotting Football
Dan Roebuck
Friday January 25, 2008
  After the third-round massacre only Portsmouth look to have the strength to challenge the big four

Given the massacre punters suffered in the third round of the FA Cup - when 15 of 22 odds-on favourites failed to win - it is not surprising market moves have been thin on the ground before the fourth round of the competition this weekend. However, bookmakers will be a little concerned that the "big four" in the Premier League all made it through to the last 32 and collectively the four are now quoted at 3-10 (Boyle Sports) to win the Cup.

Manchester United have assumed favourite status in the outright market, trading at 7-2 (general) from 5-1. Chelsea are second best at 4-1 (general) with Liverpool 9-2 (general) and Arsenal also 9-2 (Ladbrokes).

Of that quartet Liverpool are perhaps the best bet. The pressure continues to grow on Rafael Benítez - Sky Bet offers 8-11 he will not be in charge at Anfield at the start of next season and 12-1 he goes before the end of this month - but he has won the Cup before and, as his side are so far off the pace in the Premier League (Sky Bet and Sporting Odds offer 100-1), this competition looks his best chance of a trophy. Liverpool face Havant and Waterlooville at home tomorrow and will surely progress. The non-leaguers are freely available at 100-1 to win at Anfield and 50-1 with William Hill to qualify for the next round (Hill's has laid a £1,000 bet on them to do so at that price).

After the big four Portsmouth and Manchester City are joint fifth favourites at 16-1 (both generally available) with Newcastle 28-1 (Sky Bet), Tottenham Hotspur 28-1 (Coral), Middlesbrough 40-1 (Boyle's) and 100-1 bar.

Bettors have already been stung by backing outsiders to win the Cup this year - during the 24 hours before the third round Ladbrokes alone laid Everton at 25-1 which would have lost them more than £125,000, Aston Villa at 50-1 would have cost them more than £80,000 and Blackburn Rovers at 33-1 more than £40,000 - so they are probably wary of going in again on a team except for one of the big four.

At current prices, though, I could not put anyone off having a flutter on Portsmouth. Harry Redknapp's side will have all of his players back from the African Cup of Nations by the time the fifth round is played and they should defeat Plymouth Argyle tomorrow to get there. Betfred and Blue Square are best at an attractive 4-9 about them doing so without the need for a replay and 7-1 is freely available for a Pilgrims victory at Fratton Park.

If Tottenham reproduce their Carling Cup form it is possible to see them winning at Old Trafford on Sunday. Juande Ramos has a superb record in domestic cups - a team of his last suffered a defeat in a national knockout tournament back in January 2006 when Sevilla were beaten 3-2 by Cádiz in the Copa del Rey - and Paddy Power is offering prices on the competition in which Spurs will lose first. As they face United away this weekend, the FA Cup is the 2-7 favourite, with the Uefa Cup and Carling Cup both 5-1 (Tottenham play Slavia Prague home and away in the former before facing Chelsea in the final of the latter at the end of next month).

Coral has updated its cup odds "without the big four" and makes Pompey favourites at 4-1 with City 6-1, Boro 7-1, Spurs 9-1 and 10-1 bar.

Paddy Power has revised its "top cup goalscorer from the third round onwards" prices and has dangled a carrot for punters by listing Steven Gerrard at 7-2. The Liverpool captain, who won this market in 2006 with only four goals (dead- heating with Yakubu Ayegbeni), has three already this season and, if he starts against Havant tomorrow, could easily double his tally.

Liverpool to win the FA Cup at 9-2 (general)
Steve Gerrard to be the top FA Cup goalscorer from the third round onwards at 7-2 (Paddy Power)
Portsmouth, each-way, in the FA Cup at 16-1 (general)
Fill out your e-mail address
to receive our newsletter!
E-mail address:  
First Name:  
Last Name:  

play online poker