Monday 11th January 2021
In Across the Leagues today:
I’m not going to pretend that FA Cup 3rd round weekend was as much fun as usual. In the midst of this pandemic, not much is.
However, despite all the changes and hurdles, the vast majority of matches went ahead, one way or another. Derby and Villa both put out the kids, for example.
And in terms of our 3rd round ‘shock-hunter’ analysis, the averages were in line with the last five seasons…
From the 12 ties played (so far) that featured a team from outside the top-flight taking on Premier League opposition. One managed to win in 90 minutes, and three more took the big boys to extra time & penalties:
Blackpool 2 West Brom 2 – Blackpool on Pens
Burnley 1 MK Dons 1 – Burnley on Pens
Crawley 3 Leeds Utd 0 – Crawley win
Newport County 1 Brighton 1 – Brighton on Pens
With the last-five-seasons average sitting at five shocks per FA Cup 3rd round, and Southampton v Shrewsbury (TBC) and Stockport County v West Ham still to come tonight. This year’s 3rd round has been on target with four surprise results recorded.
We also took note of these 3rd round averages, compiled over the last five seasons combined:
Home Wins 46%
Away Wins 29%
The weekend results, with 30 ties completed, came in at:
Home Wins 17 (57%)
Draws 3 (10%)
Away Wins 10 (33%)
The FA Cup 4th and 5th rounds draws take place from 7pm tonight, live on the BBC and BT Sport. The next two rounds are both being drawn out of the hat, to aid with fixture scheduling.
My Outright Winner preview identified Southampton (28/1 & 25/1) as an Each Way outsider for the Cup. With the new draws at hand this week, we can revisit the tournament market and prices, potentially mapping out a route to the latter stages for another big-price underdog.
In Friday’s email, I focused on Serie A in Italy, illustrating the difference in price, and if-backed-in-every-game profit, between a big name like Cristiano Ronaldo, and a couple of less well-known men available at bigger prices in the match-day markets…
Playing the prices from the more off the beaten track route means less payouts, but a better-looking P&L sheet in the long run. As borne out by the prices & players discussed on Friday.
Over the weekend, it ended up a minor victory for the favourites. Winning the battle, but not the war, as the saying goes…
From the three odds-on favourites mentioned, Ronaldo at 4/7 (1.57) and Duvan Zapata at 10/11 (1.91) both found the net, for Juventus and Atalanta respectively. Lazio’s 5/6 (1.83) shot Ciro Immobile draw a blank.
My own two price picks, at the more appealing odds, were Joao Pedro of Cagliari at 23/10 (3.3), and Sassuolo’s Francesco Caputo at 3/1 (4.0)…
Pedro missed a first-half penalty. On the day then, with that saved penalty kick, therein lies the difference between a profitable Sunday evening, and a losing one.
But remember, this is just the battle and not the war… if you’re choosing to follow the Anytime Scorer picks that I put in your weekly Across the Leagues emails, then it’s worth knowing that that area is running at a 31% ROI to level stakes this season.
There’s a game I’m interested in in the Scottish Premiership this evening, taking place at Celtic Park (7.45pm, Sky Sports)…
This is still set to go ahead, despite a COVID-19 isolation order meaning 13 Celtic players and some of the management team can’t turn out tonight.
Since that news broke at lunchtime, Celtic have drifted from 1/2 (1.5) favourites for the home win, to odds-against in places. With BetVictor now 5/4 (2.25) in the revised prices (2.30pm).
If you take out two defeats against Old Firm rivals and runaway league leaders Rangers, then Celtic are unbeaten in 19 Scottish Premiership matches, and have won 7 out of 8 at home this season.
Of course, tonight’s team news needs to be balanced against that form.
Hibernian have been one of those ‘surprise packages’ we’ve been talking about in the European leagues this campaign. They started 2020/21 in fine form, winning 5 of their first 7 games…
The wheels have come off a bit recently for Hibs, though. With 3 defeats in a row, and no goals scored.
Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet has been enjoying a great debut season in the top tier. The 23-year-old summer signing from Dunfermline has 10 goals to his name, putting him a very credible 2nd in the current Top Goalscorer chart in the Scottish Premiership.
The Scorer stats on our website also show that Nisbet is No.1 in the division for First Goalscorer payouts this season, landing that bet on 5 occasions (from 20 league starts).
Like the rest of his teammates, the goals have dried up recently. Optimists may read something good from this stat, going into tonight’s game:
This evening’s Scorer markets have the Hibs man at around 6/4 (2.5) to score Anytime, and 5/1 (6.0) to score First (BetVictor). This morning, before the Celtic coronavirus news developed, Nisbet was 2/1 (3.0) and 6/1 (7.0).
I’ve got my eye on the Corners stats here…
The Head-2-Head on our site shows the home v away form is evenly-matched on the Last 5 form:
Overall, Celtic have won the Most Corners in each of their last 7 league games.
Hibernian have won the Most Corners in their last 3 games, all of which remember ended in defeat. That includes a 1-0 loss at Rangers, where Hibs took the corner count, 5-8.
Before the Celtic first-team news fully broke today, Hibs were a top-price 6/1 for the Most Corners. As I write, you can still get 4/1 (5.0) and 7/2+ (4.5+). That looks worth taking as an underdog corners bet to me.
If you prefer more of a safety-net option…
The bookmakers have the Corner Handicap line at 3 as it stands. That’s a -3 handicap for Celtic to overcome, and a +3 corners head-start for Hibernian…
Celtic have covered a -3 Corner Handicap in 4 of their 9 home games (44%).
The markets are going up as I write. If you fancy the Hibs +3 Corner Handicap option, it’s 5/6 (1.83) with Bet365.
From the analysis above, here is my pick for today…
Celtic v Hibernian
Other bookies to check with between now and kick-off include William Hill, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, Betway.
I’ll be back tomorrow, ready for the start of 10 consecutive days of Premier League action.
Enjoy the football…