It’s the football FA Cup 3rd round this weekend and BetVictor Brand Ambassador Michael Owen is here to provide his best bets ahead of all the action.
Liverpool to win & btts
Aston Villa v Liverpool 1-2
I’m expecting both sides to make some changes here. Dean Smith has been playing with a similar XI for a few weeks now, so there are a few players that could do with a break. As for Liverpool, their injury list is getting smaller, although 6 first team players remain on the side lines.
This could be an ideal opportunity for Jurgen Klopp to play Thiago. The Spaniard has been back for a few weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s given more time here to bolster his fitness.
As mentioned, both may not be at full strength, but I do feel Liverpool have enough in their ranks to secure a place in the next round.
Wolves to win
Wolves v Crystal Palace 2-1
It’s another all Premier League tie as Palace travel to Molineux to face Wolves. Neither side are in great league form. The visitors have won only 2 of their last 7 away matches. Four of which were defeats, and interestingly, they have lost on their last two visits to Wolves.
This one should be tight; however, I have slight preference for the home side to make it through.
Everton to win -1 goal
Everton v Rotherham 3-1
Everton are having a decent season. Toffees fans will be hoping they can put in a cup run this term, as they certainly have a squad that’s good enough to go far.
This will be a big day for Rotherham, but it is noted that The Millers have won only 1 of their last 9 matches.
I’m expecting a professional performance from Everton and think they’ll progress comfortably.
Millwall to win -1 goal
Boreham Wood v Millwall 0-2
What a day for Boreham Wood! They play their first ever FA Cup 3rd round match, welcoming Championship side Millwall to Meadow Park.
The home side arrive here amid a winning run; however, I do think Millwall have enough quality to get through. The away side will have to be patient given the nature of the tie, but in the end, I can see them winning by a couple of goals.
Draw match result
Luton Town v Reading 1-1
There are 8 places between Luton and Reading in the Championship. However, league form will count for nothing in this FA Cup tie.
You only have to go back as far as Boxing Day to see when these sides last met. That ended in a narrow win for Reading at the Madejski Stadium, and I’m expecting another tight match here.
I could see this one going beyond the 90, and with no replays this year, it could go all the way.
Correct score 1-1 (after 90 mins)
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff City 1-1
Forest welcome Cardiff to the City Ground looking to avenge a 2-0 defeat to the Bluebirds there earlier in the season.
Since then both sides form has been patchy. Currently, Forest are enjoying a 5 game unbeaten run whilst Cardiff have lost their last 3.
I’m expecting a real cup tie here and think both sides could cancel each other out in the 90 minutes.
Norwich to win & btts
Norwich City v Coventry 3-1
Championship table toppers Norwich welcome fellow 2nd tier side Coventry to Carrow Road. Coventry have already taken a point away at Norwich this season, so the home side will be wary of the threat from Mark Robins’ men.
That said, Norwich have been excellent this season. With the likes of Teemu Pukki and the fantastic Emiliano Buendia to choose from, I think they’ll have enough to progress.
Blackburn to win
Blackburn Rovers v Doncaster 2-1
Of the 24 meetings between these sides, Doncaster have only managed 3 wins. They travel to Ewood Park looking for revenge after Blackburn knocked them out of the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Doncaster’s good run of form came to an end when they were defeated 1-0 by Shrewsbury on home soil. Blackburn come into this fresh from a good 2-0 victory away to Birmingham, and if they put in a similar performance, I can see them going through.
Blackpool to win
Blackpool v West Brom 1-0
Premier League strugglers West Brom travel to Blackpool hoping for better fortunes in the cup.
The big difference here is that the Baggies come into this as massive favourites. Mentally, that is a big shift and without an early goal to calm the nerves, I think there is potential for an upset here.
West Brom may see a cup run as a potential distraction from their Premier League survival fight, a job that Sam Allardyce was specifically brought in to achieve and I can see him resting a number of first team players for this one.
As I mentioned, the longer this stays 0-0, the more nervous the visitors will get. If that materialises, I think Blackpool could smell blood and steal a goal in what would be a big upset.
Preston to win
Wycombe v Preston 0-1
Preston travel to Wycombe after a 1-0 loss at home to Nottingham Forest ended a 3 game winning run.
Wycombe had an impressive home win against Cardiff over the festive period, before being brought back down to earth in last week’s 3-1 defeat away at Middlesbrough.
The home side currently sit bottom of the Championship; however, they are not completely out of it.
With that in mind, I think they may want to rest players ahead of a busy run in, as they continue their fight for survival.
Fulham to win -1 goal
QPR v Fulham 1-3
With both sides in such poor league form, the FA Cup could come as a welcome distraction.
QPR have been pretty inconsistent this season. Typically, Mark Warburton’s side have played well at times but just fallen short. Similar can be said for Fulham, but I just think the Cottagers will have too much quality and should progress.
Swansea to win
Stevenage v Swansea 0-2
Stevenage take on Swansea for the first time in the FA Cup since 2003. I have watched Swansea a few times this season and they have been impressive at times on the road. If they play at their best here, I think they should make comfortable progress.
Burnley to win 1-0
Burnley v MK Dons 1-0
Sean Dyche has been able to welcome back most of his first team players from injury over recent weeks, so I’ve not been too surprised to see their results steadily improving.
This will be a tough task for the away side, and I’m expecting a professional performance from Burnley which should be good enough to see them through.
Sheffield United to win
Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United 0-1
Sheffield United can’t buy a win in the Premier League right now. This could come as welcome distraction, and possibly a springboard to better things should they get a good result.
I am convinced that Sheffield United aren’t as bad as their points tally suggests. Many people will look at this as a potential upset, but I think the Blades have enough to get the job done and go through to the next round.
Bournemouth to win
Oldham Athletic v Bournemouth 1-2
In form Bournemouth take on Harry Kewell’s Oldham. The Cherries have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 7 matches. What’s more, they are also the Championship’s leading goal scorers.
Oldham haven’t been too convincing at the back this season, conceding 38 goals in 22 games.
With that in mind, I think the visitors should win an entertaining encounter at Boundary Park.
Leicester to win & btts
Stoke City v Leicester City 1-2
Stoke welcome Premier League high-flyers Leicester City to the Bet365 Stadium. Leicester have had an excellent season, so far. However, they have played a lot of games and I’m sure Brendan Rodgers will see this as an ideal opportunity to rest some of his key players.
That said, Stoke have been so inconsistent this season. We all know how effective the Foxes are away from home, and I think they’ll just have enough again here.
Sheffield Wednesday to win -1 goal
Exeter City v Sheffield Wednesday 0-2
Sheffield Wednesday arrive here having won 3 of their last 4 matches. They take on an Exeter side that have won only once in 5 matches, and I think they have another tough match ahead here.
Wednesday have made some improvement at the back in recent weeks, and if they can keep these performances going, I could see them winning this one.
Arsenal to win & btts
Arsenal v Newcastle United 2-1
It’s an all Premier League tie as Arsenal welcome Newcastle to the Emirates. The Gunners have certainly turned the corner in recent weeks. They take on a Newcastle side that despite getting a draw against Liverpool, have struggled against the top sides this season.
I think Mikel Arteta will continue to opt for the youngsters that have been excellent in recent weeks, and if he does, I think Arsenal will go through.
Brentford to win -1 goal
Brentford v Middlesbrough 2-0
Brentford come into this having lost out to Tottenham in Tuesday’s EFL Cup semi-final. The Bees were well in the match until they were reduced to 10 men, so they can take pride from that having been up against a full strength Spurs side.
The visitors are having a bit of a stop-start season. Good results are often followed by a slip up, so it’s difficult to get a handle on Boro. With that in mind, I fancy Brentford to win here and go from strength to strength this season.
Huddersfield to win
Huddersfield v Plymouth Argyle 2-0
Huddersfield are looking to get their first win in the FA Cups at the John Smiths’ Stadium in 4 years. To do that, they’ll need to beat a Plymouth side that started the season brightly but have since slid down the table.
I’m expecting the home side to have most of the ball here, and eventually I think they’ll get the breakthrough against a team who have been leaking goals in recent weeks.
Manchester United to win -1 goal
Manchester United v Watford 3-1
Despite playing well in patches, Manchester United were eliminated from the EFL Cup on Wednesday night against rivals City.
They are creating plenty of chances, and I can see Edison Cavani playing a big part once he gets back from suspension.
The striker will miss this one, although I still think United have enough about them to safely go through.
Southampton to win -1 goal
Southampton v Shrewsbury 2-0
We all know how good Southampton are in full flight. Ralph Hasenhüttl has got the Saints’ playing tremendous stuff and I think they will fancy their chances of a decent cup run.
These ties always throw up nervous moments, however, Hasenhüttl is so professional. He’ll have his players well drilled and I’d be surprised if Southampton aren’t in the draw for the next round.
Leeds to win -2 goals
Crawley Town v Leeds United 0-3
Leeds are on their travels as they visit Crawley Town. These are the types of matches where you need to be on your toes.
Any small mistakes early on and nerves can really make it difficult. That said, Leeds are a very good side.
I don’t see Marcelo Bielsa deviating from his usual game plan, and if his players are in the mood, I think they’ll come away with an easy win.
Bristol City to win
Bristol City v Portsmouth 1-0
It doesn’t seem like long ago when Harry Redknapp’s Portsmouth lifted the FA Cup. A lot has changed since 2008 and Pompey arrive here sitting third in League One.
Bristol City come into this in a poor run of form. They sit tenth in the Championship table. However, I think the cup could come as a welcome distraction for City and I think they’ll just edge it.
Cheltenham to win
Cheltenham v Mansfield Town 2-1
Both these sides played out a goal-less draw earlier in the season and I’m expecting another tight affair here.
Cheltenham have had the upper hand against Mansfield in recent times, having gone undefeated in 3 matches.
I think this one could follow suit with Cheltenham going through in a closely fought contest.
Over 3.5 goals
Chelsea v Morecambe 6-0
Chelsea kick off their FA Cup campaign as one of the favourites for the trophy. It’s fair to say the Blues need a result after a difficult festive period. I’d expect Frank Lampard to make a few changes here so he can rest a few of his bigger names.
For Morecambe, it’s a great chance to go and play at Stamford Bridge. Let’s hope they give their supporters a performance to be proud of. However, at the end of the 90 minutes, I’m confident the Premier League side will go through in comfortable fashion.
City to win -2 goals
Manchester City v Birmingham 4-0
City are already through to the EFL Cup final and are ominously gaining ground in the Premier League. Their FA Cup hunt starts here, and I expect Pep to make several changes to the side that won at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Despite a slow start to the season, City are again pushing on in all competitions, and I think they’ll be in the draw for the fourth round with a straightforward win at the Etihad.
Barnsley to win -2 goals
Barnsley v Tranmere 2-0
Prior to last week’s defeat to Norwich, Barnsley had won 5 out of 6 matches. The Tykes certainly have enough about them to be confident of going through against a Tranmere side that sit two divisions below them.
Over 3.5 goals
Marine v Tottenham 0-5
What a match this is for Marine! This is what the FA Cup is all about. Tottenham secured their place in the EFL Cup final on Tuesday night, and although we should see a much changed line up from the visitors, this should be very comfortable.
Brighton to win
Newport County v Brighton 0-2
The FA Cup offers Brighton a break from a Premier League campaign where despite playing well at times, results have been a bit disappointing.
They travel to Newport in what could be an awkward tie for the Premier League side. However, if the Seagulls continue to create chances like they have been, they should be in the draw for the next round.
West Ham to win -1 goal
Stockport v West Ham 0-4
West Ham fans will be hoping the Hammers can translate their decent Premier League form into a good FA Cup run. On their day, they are a decent side and can be very difficult to play against.
David Moyes is too experienced to let unprofessionalism slip into his players mindset. With that in mind, I think the Londoners will go through and score a few in the process.