While there’s an extensive lower league programme, the FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend, creating another opportunity for one of those yearned-for upsets capable of cheering the nation’s football fans.
Exeter were unlucky not to win the mantle of giant-killers in the last round, but despite bookies remaining convinced that the eventual FA Cup winners will emerge from a small clutch of teams – Manchester City are Ladbrokes’ 5/1 favourites, with Arsenal and Chelsea both priced at 11/2 by Stan James – the fourth round ties could witness some unexpected results.
Could it happen at Milton Keynes Dons, where the home side host Chelsea?
William Hill think not, installing the Londoners as their 1/2 odds-on favourites to make the fifth round at the first attempt.
MK Dons, by contrast, kick off priced as Betfred’s lengthy-looking 5/1 underdogs, while the draw is offered at an eye-catching 7/2 by BetVictor.com.
Chelsea are 7/1 (Betway) to win 2-0, but bolder backers might prefer the 7/1 marked by Coral for the tie to finish one apiece.
Earlier on Sunday, Everton face an awkward-looking tie against League Two Carlisle, a contest which promises everything the FA Cup can deliver.
Naturally enough, Roberto Martinez’s men open as Stan James’s 4/7 favourites to emerge victorious at the first attempt, but Carlisle will recognise the opportunity they have to bloody the nose of a top-flight outfit and at 15/2 (bet365), they appear massively overpriced.
Indeed, even the draw, available at 4/1 (Skybet), looks a little too frothy and punters in the market for a modicum of insurance could be persuaded to take advantage of this generous-looking price, although Ladbrokes’ 7/1 for Everton to win 2-0 is the correct score market’s most popular result.
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Bournemouth to win at Portsmouth (7/5, bet365)
Crystal Palace to beat Stoke (6/5, Coral)
Hull to win at Bury (evens, Stan James)