Yabadabadoo. The FA Cup is back on the tele-box and accumulator fans will be licking their lips, with nine sides priced up at 4/6 or shorter and 11 Premier League sides facing lower league opposition. It has all the ingredients for another weekend of carnage for Paddy Power after last weekend’s coupon chaos left him with barely a thread on his back. It’s fair to say the food in the Power Tower canteen this week has been even worse than its usual sub-par standards thanks to the football results.
But with so many short-prices it’s easy for just one slip up to cost you an accumulator win – particularly if you’re grouping together eight or nine legs to pick up a decent return. So the optimist in us is attempting a different tactic, by plucking the value out of the win-draw-win and both teams to score market.
Here you have a 400/1 four-fold that returns just over £2k off a fiver, plus you get an extra £400 courtesy of Paddy Power’s 20% Accumulator Bonus, taking your potential winnings to just short of £2.5k. It’s a little riskier than a straight win-draw-win accumulator, but the possible prize is far sweeter.
Plus the stats are firmly in our favour…
Blackburn v Swansea
- Both teams have scored in 19 of Blackburn’s 26 league games (a 73 per cent strike rate). Rovers have failed to score just three times at home this season from 13 games and have kept just two clean sheets in the Championship since October 21.
- Away from home, both teams have scored in 70 per cent of Swansea’s Premier League games this season. The Swans have scored in 80 per cent of their away games, but kept just three clean sheets on their travels.
VERDICT: Despite finding the net on the road, Swansea’s away form isn’t great with just two wins from 10 league games. Blackburn are going through a rough patch with just one league win in seven, but their home form is solid with a 46 per cent win rate at Ewood Park. Swansea have scored in all five of their Premier League defeats this season and they can continue that trend in the FA Cup. Blackburn to win and both teams to score: 9/2
Cardiff v Reading
- In nine of Cardiff’s 13 home games in the Championship this season both sides have found the net. That’s an average of 69 per cent, and the second highest in the division. They’ve failed to score just twice at home, but have kept just three clean sheets from 13 games.
- Reading have kept just two clean sheets on their travels in the league this season, but can boast of scoring in nine of their 13 away games. In the Royals last six away games in the Championship both teams have found the net, but Reading have won just one.
VERDICT: Neither side are in particularly good form in the league, and with that in mind we’re siding with home advantage again. Reading have won just two games from 13 on the road this season in the Championship, whereas Cardiff have won eight from 13 at home. The Bluebird have picked up 74 per cent of their league points at the Cardiff City Stadium, and they can bring that reliable home form into the cup. Cardiff to win and both teams to score: 10/3
Preston v Sheffield United
- Preston have given their home fans plenty to cheer about by finding the net in every single one of their home games this season. But the Lilywhites have also conceded in nine of their 13 games at Deepdale and both teams have scored in five of their last six home games.
- Sheffield United have conceded in 75 per cent of their away games, but they have also scored in 83 per cent of their games on the road. Both teams have found the net in four of the Blades’ last five games in League One.
VERDICT: Preston’s home form is one of the best in League One, with just the single defeat at Deepdale all season – and even that was due to two goals in the last five minutes against Bradford. Sheffield United’s away from is mixed, winning five, losing five and drawing two, but worryingly they are win-less in their last three league matches on the road. The sides drew 1-1 at Deepdale in August, but we’re siding with Preston to edge it. Preston to win and both teams to score: 7/2
Bristol City v West Ham
- Bristol City have scored in 10 of their 12 home games in League One this season, although both teams have scored in just five of their 12 matches at the Ashton Gate Stadium.
- Both teams have scored in 90 per cent of West Ham’s Premier League away games. The Hammers haven’t kept any clean sheets on the road this season and have failed to score just once on their travels – that was at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day.
VERDICT: West Ham’s goal scoring form on the road has been great this season – failing to find the net just three times in 22 games. On paper their away form looks mixed (won three, drawn four, lost three) but the three games they lost were away to Chelsea, Man Utd and Everton. Bristol City have made their ground a fortress winning nine and drawing two of 12 league games there, failing to score just twice. But Big Sam’s Hammers are flying and full of confidence they could kick-start a really impressive cup run. West Ham to win and both teams to score: 11/4
- Liverpool v Bolton: Heskey returns – although there’s a better value 16/1 shot to find the net
- Southampton’s case for the defence: Why a solid back line is paving the way for Champions League football
- Punting Hall of Fame: A weekend of coupon chaos results in one punter winning more than £13k off a £2 accumulator