The midweek coupon in England is dominated by the FA Cup third round, with no less than ten games to be replayed after the initial ties were drawn. The headline clash will be Exeter’s visit to Anfield to take on Liverpool after holding the Reds to a 2-2 draw and earning themselves a lucrative replay. The cup dream will probably end there for the south coast side though, with Jurgen Klopp’s men showing some improved performances in the Premier League since then.
Plenty of the other ties are balanced on a knife edge and there are much more appealing games to get stuck into from a betting point of view. West Brom actually let us down last time out when they inexplicably let a one goal lead slip at home to Bristol City, and in the end had to snatch a late draw just to give themselves a second chance. Tony Pulis will have let his players know in no uncertain terms how unacceptable that was though, and they bounced back to claim a point away at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in the Premier League. They are odds against for the visit to Ashton Gate and can be given a chance to redeem themselves on Tuesday night.
In other ties we’re advising stalemates in two games that look incredibly tight. Portsmouth welcome Ipswich to town after getting a 2-2 draw at Portman Road in the original tie, and this one looks like it could go all the way to extra time and penalties. Another one that looks almost impossible to call is the all-Championship match-up between Reading and Huddersfield, and that’s another where spot kicks might be the only way to choose between the two. There’s plenty of value in backing the draw in both of these games.
Bristol City v West Brom
The Robins were expected to go down easily at the Hawthorns, but they shocked everyone by claiming a 2-2 draw, and it could have been a very different story if it wasn’t for James Morrison’s last-gasp equalizer for the Albion. Tony Pulis will surely be glad about the second chance, but having spoken about fixture congestion prior to the game he’ll be bitterly disappointed that his team didn’t hold on to the 1-0 lead they had with just 23 minutes left on the clock. They earned another late 2-2 draw away at Chelsea in the Premier league in the following match, and the performance level was much improved.
Bristol City will surely be up for a giant-killing, but they have looked vulnerable all season in the Championship, and may not be able to live with the quality of a Premier League side for another 90 minutes. City have only won twice in front of their own fans in the league this season, and they’ve been beaten six times in their 13 matches at Ashton Gate. It’s no surprise to see them in the bottom three and it’s going to be a battle for survival from here on in. They’ve only won twice in the last ten at home and have been beaten by the likes of Preston, Blackburn, Fulham and Reading. If West Brom turn up and play to their best, they should ensure a safe passage through to the fourth round where a home tie against Peterborough awaits.
Portsmouth v Ipswich
There was nothing to choose between these two last time and the Draw makes plenty of appeal at +245 with 888Sport
Pompey may only be 4th in league Two but promotion is still well on the cards, and they haven’t been beaten on home ground in ten games. They almost ground out a victory in the first tie with an 86th minute goal, but were pegged back by Ipswich two minutes later to set up this replay. Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy said afterwards that Portsmouth were the better side and probably deserved to win, and he will know that this will be far from an easy task.
The Tractor Boys are holding on to their position in and around the top six of the Championship and another play-off campaign will surely be the target in terms of the league, but a cup run would also be great and the winner of this will welcome Premier League Bournemouth to their stadium in the fourth round. Ipswich are unbeaten in seven on the road, and will be a very tough nut for Pompey to crack. The value here lies in the draw, and the longer the game goes on the less any one player will want to make the mistake that puts his side out. That type of scenario often leads to extra time and penalties, and we fancy this one to go all the way.
Reading v Huddersfield
The same can be said of Reading and Huddersfield where the Draw is priced at +275 with Bet365
The last two games between these two have ended all square, with 2-2 draws in the league in November, and in the FA Cup a week and a half ago. Both are in good recent form, with Reading having put a string of defeats behind them to record three games unbeaten (prior to the weekend Championship games), and Huddersfield racking up a run of five without defeat.
Two of the last three games played between the teams on this ground have ended all square, and another draw is surely the value. The prospect of a home tie against Walsall in the fourth round is an enticing one, and with neither side battling for promotion or relegation in the league, a good cup run could be the highlight of the season.
West Brom to beat Bristol City
Tuesday 19th January, 19:45 GMT
Porstmouth and Ipswich to Draw
Tuesday 19th January, 19:45 GMT
Reading and Huddersfield to Draw
Tuesday 19th January, 20:00 GMT
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