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Port Vale versus Plymouth is the least attractive of the six English FA Cup third round ties on Sunday 5 January 2014 to viewers but it is the most attractive to punters because the Valiants are available at odds of 2.00 with BetVictor.
Best known as the team that Robbie Williams supports, Port Vale has made a surprisingly good fist of re-establishing itself in English League One. Promoted to England’s third tier at the end of last term, Port Vale is eighth after playing 24 English League One matches and in an excellent position to mount an unforeseen push for a play-off berth.
Port Vale has won five and drawn one of its last seven league and cup matches at Vale Park, with its only recent home loss coming against English League One automatic promotion contender Preston in late November. In stark contrast, Plymouth has won only two of its last 11 away games across all competitions and it is ranked 12th in English League Two at the halfway point of the season.
What really makes Port Vale so attractive at odds of 2.00 is the result of the two English League Two matches between the Valiants and Plymouth last term. Port Vale defeated Plymouth 3-1 in Devon towards the beginning of the season and proved that its away romp was no fluke by crushing Argyle 4-0 in Staffordshire four months later. One should note that Port Vale did get a bit of help in that Plymouth played most of the Vale Park clash with 10 men following Nick Chadwick’s red card but, even so, the head-to-head record is valid.
Port Vale should be well into odds-on territory to qualify for the English FA Cup fourth round with a home win over a Plymouth side ranked 28 places lower on the English football pyramid. Port Vale is trading at odds as low as 1.78 with some bookmakers and even those odds are quite generous.
English Premier League struggler Sunderland is surprisingly big at odds of 2.30 with Paddy Power to keep a clean sheet in beating English League One minnow Carlisle at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has gone on the record as saying that the Black Cats are taking the cup competitions seriously in spite of their league predicament because the multiple cup winner as a player knows the value of a good run in a knockout tournament to team morale.
The case for backing Sunderland to defeat Carlisle to nil in the English FA Cup third round has more to do with the form of the Cumbrians than the Black Cats. Carlisle’s numbers on its travels are terrible, with the Cumbrians having lost five and drawn two of their last seven road games. Carlisle needed a replay to get past non-league Boreham Wood after failing to score in Hertfordshire. Indeed, Carlisle has failed to score in five of its last seven away matches.
Not only is Sunderland worth backing at odds of 2.30 to beat Carlisle and keep the Cumbrians scoreless but also the Black Cats are worth including in multiples at odds of 1.40 with Paddy Power to win their English FA Cup third round assignment at the Stadium of Light.
Finally, Liverpool has a score to settle with Oldham after the Latics upset the Reds at Boundary Park this time last year. Liverpool will be highly motivated for the visit of Oldham to Anfield and the best way to profit from the Reds being hyped up is to back over three and a half goals at odds of 1.91 with Ladbrokes. Liverpool is scoring goals for fun at the moment and Oldham, having rustled the onion bag in 15 of its last 17 games across all competitions, may contribute to the total going over the line as well.