Reading are set to take on Swansea city in the playoff final that is thought to be the biggest game of their season. Reading FC can remember what it’s like to be a top flight side, with the Royals having been relegated in 2008 under Steve Coppell, although they have risen from the flames and walloped Cardiff 3-0 in the semi-finals to take a step closer to the big time.
Brian McDermott’s team are even money with bet365 to be promoted on Monday, making them the slight outsiders, with the bookies prepared to offer no bigger than 5/6 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) about Swansea City.
The Swans are managed by Brendan Rodgers, someone who had an ill-fated spell at Reading when they were first relegated to the Championship in 2009. He lasted just six months at the Berkshire club, although he’s demonstrating that was a blip by steering Swansea to the verge of something magical.
The Welsh side were far too good for Nottingham Forest in the semi-final and they will have their backers at 9/5 (Betfred – £50 free bet) to claim victory in ninety minutes, with City having already beaten Reading twice this term.
When Crawley Town beat Torquay to become the first non-league club to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup in 17 years, players, fans and owners would have thought it couldn’t get much better, but a glamorous trip to Manchester United was the ultimate prize.
The FA Cup is full of giant-killings and a Crawley Town victory over Manchester United would be one of the biggest in history. The soccer odds reflect this, with an incredible +2800 from Victor Chandler for the win. A draw at +1200 from Ladbrokes is a better bet, but it is difficult to see anything other than a home win.
While few expect an away win, Crawley‘s players should give a good account of themselves with a battling performance, and the unknown quantity could even score the first goal.
Matt Tubbs is the most likely candidate to score for the non-league side at Old Trafford with 28 goals in 27 starts this season. The 26 year-old is given odds of +2000 from Bet365 for the first goal.
For fans of international football there’s a real treat in store tonight as the Carling Nation’s Cup match between Ireland and Wales kicks off at 7.45pm. You can watch the match itself on Sky 1 and follow the action and of course to make things more interesting, the Ireland v Wales football betting is already open.
For the Carling Nation’s Cup, a football tournament between the Celtic countries it makes sense that we look at tonight’s book at Paddy Power online bookmakers.
Going into the match, Ireland is by far the favourite to win with outright odds of 8/11, Wales as the underdogs are going into the match at 4/1 to win, while Paddy Power online are offering 5/2 for the draw.
Can Wales hold on for the draw? That could certainly provide generous odds and if they could hold on for a win you’d be laughing all the way to the bank, but this isn’t the only match betting available for the match as Paddy Power are offering a whole host of bets. There’s handicap betting to balance out to the two teams but we think the money in the Ireland v Wales game tonight is in the correct score betting! There are some fantastic odds available if you can predict the correct score for tonight. This sports writer just got a very generous 7/1 on Ireland to win 2 – 1, do you have a score prediction? Click the banner above and see how much money a correct guess at tonight’s football score could get you at Paddy Power online sportsbook.
The first certainty of the weekend is that the 16 FA Cup fourth-round fixtures have to go down as the most uninspiring for many a year.
That’s a given with the likes of Torquay matched against Crawley and Sheffield Wednesday drawn out of the hat with Hereford and the only tie that in any way floats neutral boats is the one at Goodison Park between Everton and Chelsea on Saturday dinner time.
That doesn’t mean to say we can’t make money, though and the second and third certainties over the next few days dictate that all we have to do is roll up at the bookies, place a double and sit back and wait until it’s time to collect the winnings.
Certainties I reckon in the shape of Bolton and Burnley who should easily dispose of Wigan and Burton respectively at the first time of asking and yet the combined price for both doing so is a monster 11/8.
Get on large is the advice with our selections seemingly having far too much in hand for their opponents.
Let’s take Bolton for example, a side, despite Monday’s hammering by Chelsea, that are currently enjoying a renaissance under the astute leadership of Owen Coyle. They’re fit, they’re strong and they’re tough as teak in stark contrast to a Wigan side that for the past 18 months has looked as flimsy as balsa wood when put under any sort of pressure.
And just to clinch it the Trotters – judging by the players asked to do a job against non-league York in the last round – will likely field a near-strength starting XI which if they so wish will include recent signing David Wheater who avoided getting cup-tied whilst at
Midweek victors Bolton and Spurs clash at White Hart Lane
Spurs and Bolton meet at White Hart Lane on Saturday with both sides looking to bounce back from a mid season dip in form and push on towards qualification for European football next year. Spurs will be looking to keep pressure on fourth placed Chelsea and can join their London rivals on 44 points with a win, whilst Bolton will be keen to complete the double over Harry Redknapp’s men after winning 4-2 at the Reebok Stadium earlier in the season.
Tottenham go into Saturday’s fixture as the bookies favourite and will be looking to build on the three clean sheets that they have kept at home in their last three League outings at the Lane; the chances of which will be helped by the return of England International centre back Michael Dawson, who should start in the place of Sebastian Bassong. Spurs form of late has not been up to Champions League standard however, with only one win in their last five games – a 1-0 victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park in midweek. Harry Redknapp has called for his strikers to fire them into Champions League contention, and Peter Crouch duly answered against Rovers to head the winner; he should start again up-front alongside Jermaine Defoe. Spurs have only scored 33 goals in their 24 League outings this season, considerably less than the teams above them, and they will need to improve this if they are to challenge for Europe’s Elite club competition.
January signing Steven Pienaar is fit to play and is contention to start on the left wing in the absence of flying Welshman Gareth Bale, who is not yet fit to return to the starting line-up. Spurs will also be without Croatian playmaker Luka Modric, a player who has been at the fulcrum of Spurs’s creativity and style much acclaimed over the last 12 months. Tom Huddlestone is still missing, so Wilson Palacios should deputise alongside Jermaine Jenas in the centre of the park. Redknapp revealed this week that he had the chance to sign experienced Dutch defensive midfielder Mark Van Bommel in the transfer window, which he spurned; the Spurs gaffer probably wishes he could call upon the now AC Milan midfielder with Tom Huddlestone still in recovery.
Like Spurs, Bolton have had a run of poor results of late but got back to winning ways in midweek, also with a 1-0 win at home to Wolves. New loan signing Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to score the winner in that game, and is expected to get his first start for the Trotters on Saturday afternoon. Sturridge was something of a revelation in his time at Manchester City but has found his chances very limited at Chelsea and will be looking to reignite his career during his loan spell at Bolton.