The FA Cup, the most enthralling football competition in the world, is just one game away from its conclusion and already the bookmakers are offering odds on the finale. With Manchester United set to take on Crystal Palace in the 2015/2016 FA Cup final on 21 May, the pundits have been out in force over the last few days in a bid to breakdown the match.
As ever, the weight of expectation has fallen firmly on the shoulders of Manchester United. Despite a lacklustre season in the Premier League, Louis Van Gaal's men will start the match as the betting favourites against Palace.
Paddy Power Sports' odds makers currently have United as 4/11 favourites for the trophy while otrher bookies are offering a slightly more optimistic 4/5. On the other side of the coin, Palace will line-up as 11/5 underdogs at Paddy Power Sports.
Of course, the odds only tell half the story in the FA Cup and there are positives and negatives on both sides if you look hard enough. Indeed, United might be the bigger club with more financial firepower, but the team's route to the final was less than impressive.
An unconvincing third round win over Sheffield United set the tone for what would become one of United's tougher FA Cup campaigns. Although six goals in two rounds against Derby and Shrewsbury Town suggested there was some sort of resurgence happening at Old Trafford, a marginal victory in the replay against West Ham and a 2:1 struggle against Everton in the semi-final means United look far from unbeatable.
As for Palace's run, it was much of the same. The main difference between the two sides is that one should have cruised through, while the other was always going to find it tough going. Palace certainly didn't make things easy for themselves, but that was almost to be expected, and it could be this grit and determination that has them upsetting the odds on 21 May.
With nothing left to play for in the Premier League but pride, Palace will be looking to revive a disappointing season with a win in the FA Cup final. But if there is to be a fairytale ending for Palace, then the likes of Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabay will have to find the target at Wembley.
The two Palace standouts have scored six goals apiece this season and if they can hit the back of the net early on 21 May, you could bank a 17/10 return on your money courtesy of William Hill Sports. Naturally, if you believe United will strike the first blow then odds of 4/7 at William Hill will give you a small return on your investment.
For Palace manager Alan Pardew, the FA Cup has also been something of a sore point as he's come close to winning on two occasions. However, as he said in a press conference back in January, there have been teams with less quality on the pitch that have gone on to win the cup and he believes it could be third time lucky.
If it is to be for Pardew then it likely won't be by many goals, as both sides have only scored 20 goals between them en route to the final. Although not a paltry total, the fact that neither has managed more than three goals in a single game means there's little chance of a goal fest at Wembley.
If that's that case then William Hill's 11/2 odds on a United 1-0 win or the 17/2 price for a goalless 90-minutes could be shrewd investments ahead of the game. Of course, as is often the case with the FA Cup, literally anything could happen and whether the odds makers can foresee it or not, the match should throw up some interesting situations before the final whistle blows.
For the best odds and betting offers on the FA Cup Final, visit William Hill Sports today!
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