The incentive for teams partaking in FA Cup ties this weekend is the chance to bag a lucrative clash against Premiership opposition in the third round and this will be a particularly attractive scenario for non-league clubs.
FC United of Manchester have even more motivation than most given that they could potentially face Manchester United if they progress but sadly for the lowest-placed club in the competition they come up against the highest, Brighton and their adventure is subsequently set to come to an end.
The Northern Premier League outfit, bet365’s 12/1 outsiders, accounted for Rochdale in the first round so will fancy their chances of repeating the feat but lightning is unlikely to strike twice and the Seagulls look a relatively safe bet at 2/7 with Betdaq.
Nevertheless, as the League One leaders took two matches and a penalty shootout to overcome Woking, they’re not worth backing at such a low price.
The top-rated non-league teams left in the competition are AFC Wimbledon and Crawley, Blue Square Premier’s top two and at least one of them could cause a mini-upset.
The former face Stevenage at Kingsmeadow and some bookies are struggling to separate the two sides, 888Sport for example, pricing both at 6/4. However, William Hill rate the hosts at 19/10 and that looks huge given that they’ve won seven out of ten at home in the league.
Borough tend to be patchy on the road too but as they’ve registered a large amount of draws of late it’s best to err on the side of caution and back the Dons, ‘Draw No Bet’, at 23/20 (William Hill).
Crawley meanwhile, are also formidable on their own patch and they come up against a Swindon side struggling a touch for form. Danny Wilson’s men have won just one of their last seven and only have one away victory to their name in the league all season. They did of course win 4-0 at Plymouth in the previous round but the Red Devils should prove to be a more difficult opponent and well up for it, they’re an eye-catching 2-1 to book a third round berth at the first attempt (Boylesports).
Elsewhere, having cruised to victory away at Gillingham in round one, Dover won’t be overawed by the visit of Aldershot and while it requires a bit of a leap faith, as do all bets on non-league sides, they’re worth considering at 11/4 (Ladbrokes) to claim another impressive League Two scalp.
Finally, Macclesfield have shown significant improvement recently, the midweek reverse against Cheltenham notwithstanding and they can cause League One high-flyers Huddersfield plenty of problems at the Galpharm Stadium. The Terriers were given an almighty scare in the last round by non-league Cambridge, requiring two last-minute goals to win the pair’s replay and with the hosts’ focus undoubtedly on a promotion bid, the Silkmen (15/2, Coral) could catch them napping. Take the visitors then, at 15/8 with , to avoid defeat.
AFC Wimbledon to beat Stevenage ‘Draw No Bet’ – 23/20 (William Hill)
Crawley to beat Swindon – 2/1 (Paddy Power)
Macclesfield/Draw Double Chance – 15/8 ()
Dover to beat Aldershot – 11/4 (Ladbrokes)