FA Cup Betting Tips: Burnley and Wigan to upset the odds

By James Cantrill

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5 January 2024

The festive period is over, a breathless few weeks of action is behind us, immediately ahead is the most wonderful round of fixtures the footballing calendar has to offer; the FA Cup third round. We have you covered with five tips from across the slate in the Tipsheet. 

Fulham vs Rotherham 

Kick-off: 19:30 Friday 

Leam Richardson's appointment has overseen an uptick in Rotherham’s form. The Millers have taken five points from the nine on offer which does not sound outrageous but considering they have played Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Blackburn over that period it is more than the South Yorkshire outfit would have expected.  

Since their return to the Championship, Rotherham have proved to be more than capable at picking up results in backs against the wall scenarios. Draws with Leeds (1-1), Ipswich (2-2) and Southampton (1-1) domestically this term illustrate this point and those are three of the current Championshiptop four. 

Combine those results with the 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, 2-1 over Sunderland, four points from Middlesbrough, draws with Burnley, Luton and Coventry last campaign and a clear pattern emerges. 

Siding with the second tiers basement boys against Premier League opposition looks odd at face value but I think there is enough to be enthused about. 

Prediction: Rotherham Asian Handicap (+1.0) @ 4.2

Tottenham vs Burnley 

Kick-off: 20:00 Friday, ITV 

It would be textbook Tottenham to get knocked out of the FA Cup 3rd round when they are desperately in need of a trophy. The draught stretches back to 2008. They were knocked out of the League Cup in the first round and could well suffer a similar fate here with numbers running low. 

With 11 players unavailable, Ange Postecoglou will rotate out of necessity, Spurs aren’t entirely out of the title race yet after all. That is not to say Vincent Kompany won’t shuffle his deck as well but at tasty odds, Burnley are the more palatable betting proposition. 

The Clarets have taken seven points from their last seven games, commendable considering they have played Liverpool, Aston Villa and Brighton over that period. Keen to maintain momentum, it would not be a shock to see the visitors progress on Friday. 

Prediction: Burnley to beat Tottenham @ 7.8

Blackburn vs Cambridge

Kick-off: 15:00 Saturday 

The original plan for this clash was to back the visitors to cause an upset but after watching Cambnridge’s price tumble as the week went on I figured it would be best to find the value elsewhere. 

Gassan Ahadme’s price to score anytime appeals. The Moroccan frontman tops the U’s offensive charts, seven goals and an average of 2.2 shots per game. He hit a real purple patch just before Christmas with five goals in five appearances.  

Ahadme has not played since December 22nd, the Ipswich loanee is eligible to play for Cambridge in this competition having scored in the last round but with Neil Harris warning he could return to his parent club this month, I guess the biggest gamble is whether he plays or not. 

Prediction: Gassan Ahadme Anytime Goalscorer @ 4.5

West Brom vs Aldershot

Kick-off: 14:00 Sunday

There is something about the FA Cup third round that is just conducive to goals, especially when it pits together two sides from different divisions when there is a clear gulf in quality. The shackles are off for the underdogs and the guard of the often heavily rotated upper league side is down. 

Last season, 59% of the games at this stage saw both teams score click which includes each of the three games involving non-league sides. In fact, in those three games last season, there were 15 goals scored. 

The XI Carlos Corberán has fielded in cup competitions in games gone by suggests to me he prioritises domestic duty. Aldershot certainly have the firepower to bloody the second tier's side's nose, which is why backing BTTS appeals. 

Prediction: Both teams to score @ 1.76

Wigan vs Manchester United

Kick-off: 20:15 Monday, ITV

Saved the best till last. Wigan’s odds of beating Manchester United are slim. Who would have thought it given this match-up pits top flight Manchester United against the third tier Latics. But it is the dynamic of the clash that interests me.

Erik ten Hag leads the Premier League sack race. He is a man under pressure overseeing a side that does not respond to pressure well. The Red Devils are nine points off the top four and are already out of the League Cup and all European competitions. Perhaps, this competition is the last chance saloon for saving the club's season and the manager's job. 

When the odds were stacked against Man Utd in the Champions League they crumbled, they 3-0 against an injury stricken Newcastle at Old Trafford in the League Cup, so I certainly would not be in a hurry to back them on Monday. 

Prediction: Wigan to beat Man Utd @ 13.0

Recommended Bets

Back Rotherham Asian Handicap (+1.0) @ 4.2
Back Burnley to beat Tottenham @ 7.8
Back Gassan Ahadme Anytime Goalscorer @ 4.5
Back BTTS in West Brom vs Aldershot @ 1.76
Back Wigan to beat Man Utd @ 13.0

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