Two teams whose seasons have all of a sudden been reduced to being balanced on this tie meet in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley this Saturday evening as Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur. Jose Mourinho’s side quickly followed their uplifting derby day victory over their cross-town rivals with an insipid showing in defeat against West Brom on Sunday.
With their continental campaign having already been ended unceremoniously by Wissam Ben Yedder and the league title already in City’s hands, the oldest cup competition in football becomes their last chance of salvaging some collective pride this term. Tottenham’s Champions League hopes for next year look relatively secure, what with them holding a cosy lead over London rivals Chelsea in fourth.
Their tilt at a European title ended in agonising fashion by Juventus, they too have just this competition left to gain some long-awaited silverware. Mauricio Pochettino's revolution at Spurs has had everything a fan could have asked for to this point - except that elusive first bit of tin.
Much is dependent, then, on the outcome of this last four encounter, with a win for either side keeping the hopes of a season-defining cup victory alive. We’ve picked out some of the best angles for football betting fans to approach this tie with the aims of turning a profit. Read on for this weekend's FA Cup betting tips!
Spurs were very much a team in form before a defeat at Manchester City shook them somewhat and they’re priced up at 6/5 to win this tie within the 90 minutes with Betfair. Their embattled northern rivals are 23/10 with William Hill, while the stalemate is 40/17 on 888Sport.
The Londoners are 8/13 to qualify (after possible extra-time and penalties) with William Hill, while United are 6/5 with the same bookmaker. For all they might be a side out of sorts, it’s Mourinho’s team that we’re keen to get on our side at those prices.
While their displays have lacked any of the intensity and quality which one would expect from them time and again this season, they’re a well-organised side and can grind a game of football to a halt fairly ably. The style of low-risk play they’ve employed under the Portuguese is effective in these one-off ties
We can even see them can knaw past a more expressive Tottenham side on their doorstep, while possibly needing more than the regulation 90 minutes to do it. Manchester United can be backed to find a way through the tie at the aforementioned 6/5 and, all things considered, that’s a price that looks more than fair.
Our forecast for United edging a cagey tie leads naturally to an interest in the total goals markets. An outright chess match with under 1.5 goals can be backed at 13/5 with Unibet with the over 1.5 option available at a skinny 3/10 with 888Sport.
We’ll move up to the under/over 2.5 market where we’ll be relying on Jose’s appetite for self-preservation and the tense occasion leading to a low-scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals on that line can be taken at 4/5 with BetBright and we’re hopeful this can pay dividends should the kind of hard-fought scrap that we’re envisaging play out.
With our two main wagers in the tie selected in the more traditional markets, we can widen the scope of our search a bit and look to throw a dart at a bigger priced selection. It’s in the goalscorer markets that one we like is lurking. With the prediction of a close, low-scoring game being shaded by United in mind, none of the shortest-priced selections in the goalscoring markets appeal too much.
The first three of them, Harry Kane, Fernando Llorente and Son Hueng-Min will line up for Spurs and the first United player on the list Romelu Lukaku, who has never been one for stopping the show on a big occasion. We’ve cast our collective eye right the way down the list in the search for a play that offers us a spot of value.
At speculative odds, we’re willing to support Chris Smalling venturing upfield and nabbing himself a score. The English centre-half has netted three times so far this season and is a dangerous presence when looming at the back post at set pieces.
Smalling is 11/1 with Betfair to score anytime but we’d rather take him at 50/1 first goalscorer with one of the other top bookies instead. A small investment at each-way odds can pay dividends should he net a goal that’s the deadlock-breaker this Saturday evening, with a still significant return up for grabs should he score at any stage.