It may not really be magic, but the FA Cup certainly does give fans of football’s lesser lights the chance to mix it with the big boys once a year, and after a punishing Premier League schedule over Xmas, there’s bound to be a shock or two around the grounds this weekend.
We’ve picked out three bets that all look good for singles backers, but combine to make a 75/1-plus treble. We can all dream.
Sunderland v Leeds
The perennially-in-crisis Yorkshiremen have pulled off some remarkable FA Cup results since fading into obscurity over a decade ago.
Manchester United were famously vanquished in front of the Old Trafford faithful at this stage by their hated rivals five years ago.
Leeds were then faced with third-round ties against Arsenal in each of the following two campaigns, with the Gunners needing an Elland Road replay in 2010/11, before winning just 1-0 at home 12 months later.
They’re 3/1 to qualify against a Sunderland side who have won one of their last 10 games and travel to Manchester City prior to this match.
There’s little form to recommend Neil Redfearn’s men at the moment, but you’d be mad to back the Black Cats advancing at 2/9.
QPR v Sheffield United
Only the R’s home form is saving them from the ignominy of going into this fixture neck-and-neck in the betting with Nigel Clough’s League One giantkillers, who tend to save their best for cup competitions.
The Blades have made the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, alongside Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham, after reaching the last four of this competition in 2013/14.
Clough’s charges won’t have played for nine days by the time this fixture rolls around, while QPR will be facing their fourth match since Christmas. 11/5 on the visitors going through looks huge.
Yeovil v Manchester United
The 11-time FA Cup winners have managed to serve up some serious tripe at this stage of the competition over the past decade, needing replays to see off Exeter and Burton in successive seasons between 2005-06, before losing at home to Leeds, as aforementioned, and then Swansea last term.
Historic giantkillers Yeovil haven’t put it up to the big boys much of late, but they did reach the fourth round ten years ago before going out to Sunderland, and Gary Johnson’s latest batch of Glovers will be desperate for a day out at Old Trafford.
United still haven’t got their act together away from home under Louis van Gaal, with just two wins on the road this term and none from their past couple of fixtures.
They also went down 4-0 to Yeovil’s League One Brethren MK Dons earlier this season in the Capital One Cup. There are worse bets around than 5/1 about the draw at Huish Park.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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