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Blades for redemption at 66/1...

Tuesday 12th January 2021

In Across the Leagues today:

  • FA Cup – revised market…
  • Sheffield United at 66/1…
  • Stranger things have happened… 

Blades for redemption at 66/1…

Yesterday’s bet felt like a proper old-fashioned gamble.

I already had Hibernian down as underdog potential for the Most Corners at Celtic.

But once the news broke that 13 Celtic players had to self-isolate, as well as their manager Neil Lennon. The match-day markets got suspended, then reinstated when it was confirmed that the game would still go ahead.

Then followed a scramble for prices, as money came for both sides – a depleted Celtic at bigger odds than they started the day, and Hibernian fancied to take advantage.

We steered away from the Match Result market, and instead used the statistics on our website to identify Hibernian’s noteworthy form in the Most Corners department.

The game ended 1-1, with the corners score 10-3 to Hibs.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for more 4/1 and 7/2 underdog prices like that in the Most Corners markets.

  • Hibernian have now won the Most Corners in 6 of their last 7 away games. That includes trips to both Celtic and Rangers. Hibs’ next two Scottish Premiership fixtures are at home, v Kilmarnock, and then Rangers
  • Kevin Nisbet scored the late equaliser for Hibernian last night. He’s now joint-top scorer in the Scottish Premiership this season, level with James Tavernier of Rangers on 10 goals

Across the Leagues member Denis wasn’t on Hibs last night. He’s doing his own thing, and having plenty of fun…

Hi Oliver well done spotting Hibs last night didn't take the bet I backed our pal James Tavernier other day had one cleared off line missed a penalty lol but still enjoying the battle win some lose some keep up good work regards Denis

10 in a row in the Premier League…

The 2020/21 fixture list is proving hard to cram in. And as long as it’s safe and allowed to keep playing, that means loads of live football on TV for us to enjoy during lockdown.

This evening there are three Premier League matches. The start of 10 consecutive days of top-flight action in England. Including the upcoming weekend schedule, then more midweek games next week.

There are also half a dozen games in the English Football League tonight. As well as Dundee Utd v St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership. And a couple of matches in the Spanish top-flight, with La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid taking on Sevilla.

Our website is up-to-date with all the latest league stats for those….

  • Also on the site is today’s free Across the Leagues EXTRA Premier League Predictions email, which contains a few pointers for the midweek games. Including a trio of Correct Scores, with some fruity odds available

FA Cup – Outright Winner…

The FA Cup 4th and 5th round draws were made last night. Both rounds were pulled out of the hat, one after another, to aid with fixture scheduling.

With the draws at hand, as promised, that means we can now revisit the tournament market and prices. Potentially mapping out a route to the latter stages for a big-price underdog…

Last week’s initial Outright Winner preview identified Southampton (28/1 & 25/1) as an Each Way outsider for the Cup.

Should they get past Shrewsbury – the only 3rd round tie yet to be played, which may now be taking place on 20th January. Saints would then face a home tie v Arsenal in the 4th round.

  • The bookies haven’t flinched on Southampton’s price, despite Arsenal coming out the hat. The 28/1 and 25/1 we took last week hasn’t drifted; in fact, the Saints have gone down slightly with some firms, to 22/1 and 20/1

Looking further ahead, getting past Arsenal would then see Southampton travel to Chorley or Wolves in the 5th round. Get through that, and we’re talking about the quarter finals. But that’s all a long way off, with a lot of football to be played, of course.

The season’s unique double-draw does let us try and plot a path through the field, though. After Monday’s 4th & 5th round combo, there’s one team I like in particular at the prices. And it’s a bit of a leftfield one…

Blades for redemption…

Last season, in December 2019, I put up Sheffield United for the FA Cup at standout odds of 70/1 & 66/1 Each Way.

Chris Wilder’s side gave a great run for our money there. Reaching the quarter finals, where they were only beaten – 2-1 by a late goal – by eventual cup winners, Arsenal.

Unlike last season, where the Blades were impressing in their first campaign back in the Premier League. This time, Sheff Utd are struggling in the league, big-time.

With 17 games played, the Steel City side are rock bottom of the table, with just 2 points. They’re still searching for their first league win of 2020/21. The latest attempt comes against Newcastle this evening.

At the weekend though, Wilder’s team got their first win of any kind in this campaign. Claiming what could turn out to be an important 3-2 win at League One side Bristol Rovers, in the FA Cup 3rd round…

That cup victory has to be good for confidence. And it’s fair to say that a first win for the Blades was coming, after a series of narrow score-lines in the Premier League.

Sheff Utd have lost seven games by the 1-0 score, for example. Top-half teams Man Utd, Leicester, Everton, West Ham, Man City, Liverpool, and Aston Villa have all beaten the men in red & white in 2020/21 – but only by a one-goal margin of victory.

Stanger things have happened…

Two other angles that get my underdog antenna twitching for Sheff Utd at 66/1 and 60/1 for an FA Cup run this season…

The 4th & 5th round draws looks very winnable. They certainly could’ve been worse. Sheff Utd will avoid any Premier League rivals until the quarter finals:

  • Drawn at home to Plymouth in the 4th round (Plymouth are currently 15th in League One)
  • Then, if they get past Plymouth, Blades will have another home tie, this time against mid-table Championship opposition, Millwall or Bristol City

Secondly, in terms of a relegation-threatened club finding respite in the FA Cup. It’s been done before…

  • In 2015/16, Crystal Palace got to the FA Cup final – and finished 15th in the Premier League, 5 points above the relegation zone
  • In 2014/15, Aston Villa stayed up by just 3 pts, finishing 17th – and also reached the FA Cup final
  • In 2013/14, Hull were runners-up in the FA Cup – and came 16th in the Premier League, 4 pts from the drop-zone
  • In 2012/13, Wigan were relegated – and won the FA Cup
  • In 2009/10, Portsmouth went down, finishing bottom of the Premier League – but also reached the FA Cup final
  • In 1996/97, Middlesbrough were FA Cup runners-up – and relegated from the Premier League

Those six examples make interesting and encouraging reading to me. At the current prices, and with the 4th & 5th round draws in mind, Sheff Utd are going in the book as an Each Way outsider.

Today’s picks

From the analysis above, here is my pick for today…

FA Cup 2020/21

Outright Winner:

  • Sheffield United @ 66/1 Each Way with Boylesports, 60/1 Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, 50/1 in general

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

I’ll be back tomorrow, with a look at the stats and markets for the Wednesday evening games.

Enjoy the football…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Oliver Upstone

Across the Leagues