Well done if you followed MM’s advice in backing the draw at Real Madrid on Wednesday night. We’re hoping for even better luck this weekend, with United returning to action in the FA Cup, along with City, Wigan and round four giant-killers Oldham.
We give you the punter-friendly guide to this weekend’s cup feast, along with the chances of Bolton, Bury and Rochdale in their respective league clashes.
Oldham Athletic v Everton, Boundary Park, Saturday 6pm
Oldham Athletic (10/1 Betfred); Draw (9/2 Bet365); Everton (4/11 William Hill)
Latics worked miracles in toppling Liverpool in round four but will find their Merseyside neighbours a bridge too far.
David Moyes’ men are made of stern stuff and are taking this competition seriously, naming strong sides at Cheltenham and Bolton to get this far.
SkyBet’s ‘Price Boost’ of 9/1 for the 3-0 scoreline in favour of the Toffees is good value, with them having hit seven on their travels to reach this stage in the competition.
If you think lightning can strike twice, the repeat scoreline from Oldham’s 3-2 success over Liverpool is a mammoth 100/1 with Coral.
Goalscoring hero from the last round Matt Smith is a doubt for Saturday but on-loan Lee Barnard, who opened the scoring against MK Dons in the week, is a tasty 22/1 to score two or more goals with Bet365.
For the prudent among you, Paddypower refunding all losing, correct score, scorecast and first and last goalscorer bets if Latics open the scoring.
Tip: Both teams to score in the first half (7/2, SkyBet)
Manchester City v Leeds United, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 2pm
Manchester City (2/9, Coral); Draw (7/1, Boylesports); Leeds United (16/1, StanJames)
Pressure is mounting on Manchester City, with the FA Cup their only realistic chance of silverware following last weekend’s catastrophic defeat at Southampton.
Fortunately, their opponents, while a big name, have fallen on hard times and travel poorly – having not won away from home in the league since December 1 – ensuring City should progress comfortably.
Care must be taken, however, after Leeds disposed of Tottenham in round four, so Roberto Mancini should name a strong team, making Coral’s price of 18/1 for a hat-trick from any of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko inviting.
With City’s defence looking wobbly, it is not inconceivable Leeds may snatch an early lead – they do after all relish the big occasion, knocking United out at Old Trafford three years ago – and Leeds half-time, City full-time is worth a punt at 33/1 with Totesport.
For the pessimists out there, who really believe failure in this tie will spell the end for Mancini, the draw no bet price on Leeds is an astonishing 16/1 with Coral. So, while the prospect of a tricky replay at Elland Road is grim, at least some betting winnings will return to your pocket in that unfortunate event.
Tip: Half time 1-1, full time 4-1 City (80/1, Paddypower)
Huddersfield Town v Wigan Athletic, John Smith’s Stadium, Sunday 3.55pm
Huddersfield Town (11/4, Ladbrokes); Draw (13/5, Ladbrokes); Wigan Athletic (6/5, BetVictor)
Mired in a relegation struggle, it is questionable how much of a priority FA Cup progression is for Roberto Martinez.
This potential indifference is compounded by a new man in Huddersfield’s dugout – this will be Mark Robins’ first match as Terriers boss and usually changing managers inspires a reaction from the players.
With a price of just under 3/1 available on a home win, the Wigan victory looks poor value, with the draw an enticing prospect at 13/5.
Wigan have not won in six Premier League games – only narrowly beating non-league Macclesfield in round four – but do score goals, with seven in their last four games, as quickly as they leak them.
For those wanting a big bet, 8/11 on both teams to score is good value, while over 2.5 goals is 5/6 with Betfred.
If you want a smaller, fun bet, Shaun Maloney scoring first with the game ending 2-2 is 90/1 with SkyBet.
Tip: Wigan to win by one goal (31/10, Ladbrokes)
Manchester United v Reading, Old Trafford, Monday 8pm
Manchester United (2/7, William Hill); Draw (29/5, Pinnacle); Reading (12/1, Boylesports)
Sir Alex Ferguson will almost certainly rest players for this one, following the exertions in Madrid and having named a full-strength line-up against Everton last week.
With that in mind, Javier Hernandez – the only forward not to feature in Spain – is great value at 9/2 with Bwin and at 5/1 with Betfred to score two or more goals anytime.
The visiting Royals have fared better recently but Premier League survival is their only priority, so it is hard to look beyond United, now unbeaten in 17 domestic matches.
The evening could peter out in an underwhelming atmosphere, making a goal feast hard to envisage. A 1-0 United win is enticing at 11/1 with BetVictor.
Adam LeFondre is in hot form for the Royals and the perennial ‘super sub’ may be worth backing at 14/1 for the last goal with Bwin.
Tip: Nick Powell to score anytime (5/2, Ladbrokes)
Football league treble: Bolton and Rochdale to win, Bury (v Coventry) to draw (22/1, SkyBet)
Bolton are good value to ruin Billy Davies’ return to Nottingham Forest – who have lost their last three – while struggling ‘dale are due a result and will see the visit of Torquay – who have won just one in eight – as an ideal opportunity.
Meanwhile, Bury may have been edged out by Sheffield United midweek but the clash with managerless Coventry has draw written all over it.
Image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.