It’s the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday, and while many eyes will be on the Premier League as always, fans of lower league football will be affording themselves the annual dreams of romance and FA Cup glory. It’s England’s most famous cup competition because it gives semi-professional sides the chance to pit their wits against some of the biggest teams in the country – if they can make it through to the third round when the big boys enter the fray.
Preliminary rounds have been ongoing for some time already, but it’s at the first round proper stage that teams from Leagues One and Two join in, and they will also be aiming for a cup run, which can offer a huge financial boost to those clubs further down the league ladder. My esteemed colleague here at Sports Betting Online has already extolled the virtues of Eastleigh when they take on Crewe at the weekend, and we’ve got a further three teams that we fancy to do the business at the first time of asking on Saturday.
Burton Albion v Peterborough
Burton Albion are flying high in League One under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and they’re worth following when they host Peterborough at 5/42.25+1251.251.25-0.80 with BetVictor
After promotion from League Two last term under the former Chelsea and Holland striker, Burton have confounded expectations in League One, and currently occupy 2nd place in the division, level on points with leaders Walsall. We’re now 16 games into the League One season, and rather than a flash in the pan, Burton have to be considered as genuine promotion contenders. They suffered a little bit of a blip lately with defeats to Walsall and Fleetwood, along with a 0-0 draw with Crewe, but they’ve bounced back over the last two games with 2-0 home win over Port Vale, and Saturday’s 1-0 away victory at Oldham. Hasselbaink has his own history with the FA Cup, and will want to improve upon last season’s dismal 5-0 defeat at the hands of Barnsley.
Peterborough aren’t having such a good time of things in League One this season, and they are way back in 13th place and struggling to find any sort of consistency. Of their last ten games they’ve won 5, drawn 2 and lost 3. Away form has been nothing to shout about either, and although they recently had a purple patch of three consecutive away wins at Swindon, Bradford and Oldham, it’s six defeats in the last ten away from home.
Burton have won five of the last ten at home, including a 2-1 win over Peterborough here back on the 22nd of August in the league. A price of odds against is plenty good enough for a side in good form on home soil.
Coventry v Northampton
Coventry are also riding high in League One, in 4th place just a point off the leaders, and they can be backed to overcome League Two Northampton at 7/101.70-1430.70-1.430.70 with William Hill
The Sky Blues have been through the ringer over the last ten to fifteen years, and what was once a top flight regular has been languishing in the lower reaches for a very long time. Their long-suffering fans will hope the tide is starting to turn this season, and they are going well under experienced boss Tony Mowbray. Joe Cole surprised the football world when the former Chelsea and England playmaker joined Coventry on loan from Aston Villa, but he has already made an impact, scoring the winning goal direct from a free kick in the 4-3 win over Barnsley on Tuesday night. He retains the class that saw him play at the very top level for club and country, and will be a significant weapon in Coventry’s arsenal this term.
The Sky Blues are unbeaten in seven games in the league, and are fancied to be too strong for League Two high flyers Northampton on Saturday.
The Cobblers were relegated from League One last term, but they’re making a good effort to get back up straight away and sit 5th in League Two, 7 points behind leaders Plymouth. Despite the generally good recent form they’ve lost two of their last three away games – at Cambridge and Milwall (in the Capital One Cup) – and might struggle against a side of Coventry’s quality.
Walsall v Fleetwood
Our final tip for this weekend’s cup action is Walsall, who are priced at 8/111.73-1380.72-1.380.72 with Coral for the visit of struggling Fleetwood in Saturday.
Walsall are well-placed to battle it out for automatic promotion in League One this term, sitting top of the pile in a very tight division where two points separate the top four. They’ve only lost once in ten in the league, and will fancy themselves to progress to the second round. Home form hasn’t been exceptional, but they have won three of the last five in front of their own fans, and have beaten Fleetwood in their last two visits here.
Fleetwood would be forgiven for wanting to concentrate on the league rather than the cup, after a torrid start to the season which has left them in the relegation zone and staring down the barrel. They’ve lost 7 of the last 9 games, and although they’ve won the two in-between, that is poor form by anyone’s standards. Away from home it’s 8 defeats in 10, and to make matters worse they’ve only managed a single goal in the last five games. By contrast, Walsall have notched 12 times in their last five, and they ought to have too much firepower for their visitors on Saturday afternoon.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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