Live on ESPN & ITV 1: Sat 12.30 & 17.15, Sun 14.00 & 16.30: Crawley travel to Old Trafford in the FA Cup in search of a massive upset.
When the balls were plucked from the velvet bag for the FA Cup fifth round just over a fortnight ago, non-league Crawley were rewarded for their endeavours in the competition so far, with a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.
The West Sussex outfit are full-time and subsequently can’t provide the archetypal photo opportunities with butchers, bakers and candlestick makers in the build-up to the clash but the media will nevertheless have a field day in hailing the ‘magic of the cup’ and the romantic reporting of the red tops is bound to coerce a few punters into backing what would be the biggest upset in the competition’s history, at 28/1 with 888Sport.
However, they’re set to be disappointed because Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are rightly overwhelming 1/14 favourites with Paddy Power to get the better of their identically-nicknamed opponents and 1/4 (Partybets) to do so by at least two clear goals. Nevertheless, there’s little scope for profit in backing the hosts short of taking them to prevail by at least four (13/10, bet365), which is not as likely as the odds suggest and indeed at the same price, this time courtesy of , a better bet is for tricky Portuguese winger Nani to get on the scoresheet.
The Blue Square Premier outfit can boast arguably the best striker outside of league football in Matt Tubbs, who has 28 goals this season including a hat-trick last weekend and Crawley fans can back him at 18/1 with William Hill to stun Old Trafford into silence by breaking the deadlock. The same bookie offer a tempting 7/1 for Tubbs to notch at any point.
At Brisbane Road, Totesport make Leyton Orient 17/2 to manage a shock of their own as they face Arsenal. Having enjoyed their fare share of good fortune in ties against Leeds and Huddersfield, the Gunners, rated at 1.3 (3/10) by Betdaq, don’t appeal. Instead, again it’s the anytime goalscorer market, specifically Nicklas Bendtner at 13/10 (), that punters should focus on.
Everton have drawn five of their last seven against Chelsea and are 3/1 (Stan James) to take their fourth-round replay at Stamford Bridge to extra-time but David Moyes’ side were so poor at Bolton that it’s hard to see past the hosts (3/5, William Hill), who can overcome their scoring problems against the Toffees’ generous defence.
Manchester City are 1/6 with Ladbrokes to get the job done at the second attempt against Notts County and Betfred quote Roberto Mancini’s troops at 4/1 to come out on top after a drawn first half. Elsewhere, Birmingham are absolutely huge at 1.7 (7/10) with Betdaq to see off Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrews, Stoke are the same price with William Hill to outmuscle Brighton, Fulham and Bolton are 23/10 (Totesport) to require a replay and West Ham are Coral’s 4/5 favourites on Monday, as they entertain Burnley.
Nani to score at any time for Man Utd v Crawley – 13/10 (bet365)
Birmingham to beat Sheffield Wednesday – 7/10 (Betdaq)
Draw/Man City in HT/FT betting against Notts County – 4/1 (Betfred)