Smaller clubs get a look in with the FA Cup betting tips and odds. We’re now into the thick of the FA Cup qualifying campaign with round four taking place on Saturday afternoon across the country. Some fancied sides have suffered the pain of elimination earlier than expected; some underdogs are pushing forward with their quest to make the first-round proper, banking the cash injection that accompanies it.
With the return of the Premier League and domestic football fixtures following a brief but painful international break, this stage of English football’s favourite knockout competition may not feature too highly on the list of priorities for most fans. However, with the right amount of research and homework, not to mention a sprinkling of luck, you could make a strong profit.
We had some interesting results in round three, including St Neots Town knocking hosts Coalville Town out on penalties following a 3-3 draw; Metropolitan Police’s criminal 1-0 over Tiverton Town and Gloucester’s rampant 3-0 away to Dorking Wanderers. There were plenty of shocks too and we guarantee there will be more to come before the weekend is over.
As you would’ve guessed, there has been nothing so far to change the thinking of bookmakers in their outright betting and Manchester City – favourites for the Premier League and Champions League – are top of the FA Cup pile at 4/1. Liverpool leads the chasing pack at 6/1, before Chelsea’s 7/1 complete the major places. Manchester United and Tottenham supporters will find their clubs locked at 8/1, Arsenal doing the rounds 9/1 and the prices then start to grow with Everton 20/1 and Leicester 25/1. All prices mentioned are provided by Bet365.
Aldershot Town – Kettering Town
National League side Aldershot Town will fancy their chances of using home advantage to get through to the next round. The Shots finished fifth in their division last season’ However, they made a poor start to this campaign, losing eight and drawing two of their first 16. Having said that, the side is improving and back-to-back wins over Halifax and Eastleigh gave fans hope for the winter ahead.
Gary Waddock’s crew proved their stomach for a fight when claiming an away win over Eastleigh despite falling behind inside five minutes to a McCallum opener. Few would’ve been surprised to see heads drop that day but they stuck at it and got level through a Johnson own-goal half an hour later. Less than three minutes after the equaliser, Aldershot pulled in front, Rendell scoring what turned out to be the winning goal and they must be credited for hanging on.
Poppies Travel with Confidence
Kettering Town plays their football in the Southern League Premier Division Central and earned a fourth-place finish last season. The Poppies target improvement and lead the way after nine matches played, winning eight and losing one in that period. It has been a fantastic start and confidence is sky high in the camp going into this FA Cup match. They may be on the road, but with a points cushion in the league, they can concentrate on causing an upset here.
Marcus Law is a highly experienced manager at this level of football and there will be nothing that surprises him going to Aldershot. He’ll know his team are underdogs but will ensure everyone in the away dressing room is well aware this is a one-off match where league form, reputation and history count for nothing. The FA Cup is littered with unlikely heroes and there’s no reason why Kettering can’t go and create a story of their own.
Stick with Home Comforts
Home advantage should prove to be the difference in what will be an interesting afternoon. Kettering brings confidence and a self-belief that’ll take some beating. They’ll set-up to frustrate their opponents in the early exchanges and hope to create a nervy atmosphere in the stands. They may just do that, but as the contest goes on, Aldershot’s class should shine through.
The local side is expected to win and should be backed in your weekend FA Cup accumulators 1/2 (William Hill). Those with a bit more faith in Kettering can try their luck on both teams finding the net during this one and, again, that should do a job in multiples 3/4 (888sport). If you’re after a bigger price, why not combine the two and go both teams to score in an Aldershot win 23/10 (888sport). That’s a super single.
Harrogate Town – Wrexham
This looks to be the pick of the round for us with an all National League meeting between high-flying duo Harrowgate and Wrexham for a place in the next round. One side will continue their dream of earning big money, the other dumped out and left to concentrate on their league campaign, following the rest of the FA Cup adventure at home.
Harrogate won nine of their first 16 league matches to climb to fourth in the pile and are involved in a promotion push. A place in the top three will be the aim at the end of the season, but aside finishing in the top-seven have a chance of playing league football and, at this point, Town is certainly one of the main contenders. They secured an eye-catching 2-0 win away to Ebbsfleet recently, Howe and Williams doing the scoring.
The Dragons on Fire
Wrexham is two places above their opponents in the league table at the time of writing with one more point on the board. They completed the hat-trick when beating Barnet, Havant & Waterlooville and Dagenham & Redbridge, a run of form that lifted them to second, cranking up the pressure on free-spending leaders Salford. There’s a title race on in that division that football fans should keep an eye on.
These sides have met only twice before in recorded competitive history with Harrogate winning 2-0 thanks to a Mark Beck double last December before being held to a goalless draw at this venue in September. There was very little between the sides that day, but we fancy a few more goals here. There are no points at stake, allowing both teams to put on a show. Back both teams to score in a draw 17/5 (888sport).