Picking an FA Cup shock

05/01/2013 | By | Reply More

Ah, the romance of the FA Cup!

The romance bit comes from a non league team coming up against a major club and beating them. But the evidence for regular giant killings is a little thin on the ground.

Last year, for the first time since 1994 a minor team made the fifth round. In the prior year a league two team made the fifth round, but there are often many years where this doesn’t occur. It really is the luck of the draw. If some major teams fall by the wayside and there are a couple of early round exits then the path can be laid for a good old fashioned cup run. But, according to the stats, the depressing fact is that the major teams are the ones that end up in the latter stages.

The thing I like about the FA Cup though is the fact it is not seeded. In Tennis the whole tournament is geared to the bias for top players to meet in the latter stages. This makes commercial sense as people would want to watch top players in a titanic battle for the title. Football though is highly variable and settled by the odd goal in three quite often. So a bit of luck, you only need to look at QPR’s recent win against Chelsea for an example, can see a team progress.

With only 90mins to decide a match, a bit of luck can make a huge difference. So the first thing I look for is teams that are either high or low on confidence. Low confidence teams have a tendency to be nervous and can slip up. For a team brimming with confidence nothing is impossible and they will have a go anyhow! Next you need that team to be playing at home. Home advantage is worth around 0.40 of a goal on average, so if a team is at home you can pretty much factor in a head start. The 3rd round draw hasn’t been particularly kind to throwing up predictable shocks this year. But there are some interesting set ups.

Matches I’d be very keen on, are a bit short on the ground. But one obvious candidate is Brighton vs Newcastle.¬†Newcastle have lost their last three FA Cup away matches, and have not dismissed a club away since the fourth round in 2006. Crawley vs Reading is interesting also. Reading went out to Stevenage last year and Crawley have reached the fifth round in each of the last two seasons. Reading’s confidence has improved recently though, so I fancy this less.

A Mansfield win over Liverpool would be amazing, but I just can’t see it coming. The same goes for Cheltenham, but home advantage should play some part in both these games. One match I do have my eye on is Wigan vs Bournemouth, though Wigan at home is unfavourable. But after a bad start to the season, Bournemouth have been resurgent under the stewardship of Eddie Howe and not lost a match since he returned. I reckon they will fancy their chances anywhere at the moment. Still a bit of an ask against premier league opposition, but I fancy a side bet on this one.

So, it seems clear cut opportunities are a bit thin on the ground, but there is some potential.

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Category: Football trading strategies

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I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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