Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City Betting

Carling Cup Semi Final First Leg

The eighth League Cup semi final between two non-top flight teams (and the first since 2000) pits Championship duo Crystal Palace against Cardiff City.

Cardiff go into this tie with superior league form, sitting in third place just two points off the automatic promotion slots while Palace have fallen away a little and find themselves eleventh. However, they are just three points away from the play-off places.

The Bluebirds beat Palace at home back in November by a 2-0 scoreline and having attended the match myself, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about Dougie Freedman’s side who were in the play-off places at the time.

Admittedly, Darren Ambrose did not participate in that match and he has been instrumental during Palace’s cup run this season, scoring a wonder goal to help knock out Manchester United in the last round.

Both teams fielded weakened sides in last weekend’s FA Cup fixtures and subsequently both were eliminated. Palace were missing key players through illness while Cardiff boss Malky Mackay rested the likes of Kenny Miller, Aron Gunnarson, captain Mark Hudson and the in-demand Peter Whittingham.

Palace go into this game with a great home record in the League Cup. Indeed, they have lost just twice in their last 30 fixtures in this competition, winning 24 of them. However, Cardiff have won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five trips to Palace in all competitions.

A tight match looks the safest bet because neither side will want to “lose” the first leg, giving them everything to play for when they meet again at the Cardiff City Stadium in a fortnight’s time. City have lost four of their last six away matches in the League Cup but have drawn seven of their 13 league matches on the road this season.

City manager Mackay has instilled a work ethic into his team and generally this campaign, Cardiff keep things tight at the back. A weakened defence was breached four times in their FA Cup defeat at West Brom last weekend but with a full-strength side, I can see this one ending goalless or possibly 1-1.

Verdict: Draw @ 3.25 (Bet Victor)

Other Results:

  • Cardiff City @ 2.38 (Betfred)
  • Crystal Palace @ 3.3 (bet365)

First Goalscorer

Crystal Palace midfielder Darren Ambrose has scored three goals in his last three appearances in the competition, including a wonder strike against Manchester United in the last round. The former Newcastle United player can be backed at 12.0 (Paddy Power).

Selected other first goalscorers:

  • Kenny Miller @ 7.0 (Betfred)
  • Robert Earnshaw @ 8.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Glenn Murray @ 8.0 (bet365)
  • Jermaine Easter @ 8.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Joe Mason @ 8.0 (Coral)
  • Chris Martin @ 8.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Wilfred Zaha @ 9.0 (Betfred)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 9.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Steffen Iversen @ 10.0 (bet365)
  • Antonio Pedroza @ 10.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 11.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Sean Scannell @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • No Goalscorer @ 9.0 (Boylesports)

Anytime Goalscorer

The bookmakers see Kenny Miller as the biggest goal threat and he netted in City’s 2-0 league defeat of Palace last year. Miller can be backed at 2.88 (bet365) to do the same again.

Selected other anytime goalscorers:

  • Joe Mason @ 3.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Robert Earnshaw @ 3.5  (Sportingbet)
  • Glenn Murray @ 3.6 (bet365)
  • Jermaine Easter @ 3.6 (Paddy Power)
  • Chris Martin @ 3.75 (Paddy Power)
  • Wilfred Zaha @ 4.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Rudy Gestede @ 4.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Steffen Iversen @ 4.33 (bet365)
  • Antonio Pedroza @ 4.33 (bet365)
  • Peter Whittingham @ 4.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Sean Scannell @ 4.5 (bet365)
  • Darren Ambrose @ 5.0 (Paddy Power)

Correct Score

The bookmakers believe this is going to be a tight match and 1-1 can be backed at a best price of 7.0 (Ladbrokes) or 0-0 at 9.0 (Boylesports).

Selected other correct scores:

  • Crystal Palace 1-0 @ 8.5 (bet365)
  • Crystal Palace 2-0 @ 15.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Crystal Palace 2-1 @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Crystal Palace 3-0 @ 41.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Crystal Palace 3-1 @ 29.0 (Coral)
  • Draw 2-2 @ 17.0 (bet365)
  • Draw 3-3 @ 101.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Cardiff City 1-0 @ 7.5 (Bet Victor)
  • Cardiff City 2-0 @ 13.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Cardiff City 2-1 @ 11.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Cardiff City 3-0 @ 29.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Cardiff City 3-1 @ 23.0 (Ladbrokes)

Chelsea Favourites To Win FA Cup After Fourth Round Draw

Chelsea have been instilled as the new favourites to win the FA Cup after the fourth round draw was made.

Following a comfortable 4-0 victory against Portsmouth in the third round, the Blues must now travel to either Queens Park Rangers or MK Dons.

Manchester United, who won a thrilling cup tie at bitter rivals Manchester City (as predicted here), are no better than third favourites among most firms having been drawn at Liverpool.

United’s visit to Anfield will be the pairs first encounter since the race row concerning Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra. However, Saurez is set to miss the mach through suspension.

Sticking with controversy, Chelsea could play QPR again days before John Terry makes his court appearance having been charged with making a racist comment to Anton Ferdinand during their match last October.

One club going about their business quietly in the FA Cup is Tottenham Hotspur, generally second favourites after being drawn at Watford. Harry Redknapp’s side beat League Two side Cheltenham Town in the last round.

Arsenal are fourth favourites, despite not being guaranteed a place in the fourth round yet. They face Leeds United tonight with Thierry Henry set to make his second debut for the club after signing on loan from New York Red Bulls.

Liverpool’s tie against Manchester United sees them fifth favourites while Newcastle United, who edged past Blackburn Rovers in the third round, are sixth favourites. Alan Pardew’s side will visit either Conference leaders Wrexham or Brighton & Hove Albion of the Championship.

The bookmakers are convinced the winners will come from one of those six teams as the odds start drifting for the rest of the pack. Sunderland face a tough local encounter against Championship rivals Middlesbrough while Everton tackle fellow Premier League side Fulham.

Stoke City face a potential banana skin when they visit Derby County in the fourth round while Aston Villa will play either Arsenal or Leeds United.

League Two outfit Swindon Town, who shocked Premier League  Wigan Athletic, face a trip to either Nottingham Forest or Leicester City. Fellow League Two club Crawley will look to dump out yet another Championship opponent when they visit Hull City.

There will be at least one League One club in the fifth round, as Stevenage and Notts County were drawn together in the fourth round.

A selection of the FA Cup outright winner odds are as follows:

  • Chelsea @ 5.5 (Paddy Power)
  • Tottenham Hotspur @ 6.5 (Coral)
  • Manchester United @ 7.0 (Boylesports)
  • Arsenal @ 9.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Liverpool @ 11.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Newcastle United @ 21.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Sunderland @ 21.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Everton @ 23.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Stoke City @ 34.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Fulham @ 41.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Aston Villa @ 51.0 (Coral)
  • Crawley @ 751.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Notts County @ 751.0 (Ladbrokes)
  • Swindon Town @ 751.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Stevenage @ 1001.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Wrexham @ 5001.0 (Ladbrokes)

Mark Hughes Favourite For Next QPR Manager

Former Fulham manager Mark Hughes is the overwhelming favourite to take charge at Queen Park Rangers, after Neil Warnock was sacked yesterday.

Just days after Warnock stated he needed another four or five new players to keep the relegation threatened Hoops in the top flight, he was shown the door by new chairman Tony Fernandes.

Warnock won the Championship last season but found life in the top flight a lot more difficult. Just one point separated his team from the relegation zone.

Welshman Hughes, who has also managed Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, was immediately instilled as the bookmaker’s favourite to take over at Loftus Road, although there are a few other names in the running.

Former West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola was named second favourite to have a crack at managing another London club while former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Rafa Benitez is currently third favourite.

Other names mentioned include ex-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, who was recently fired from his post at Leicester City and Steve Bruce, sacked earlier this season by Sunderland.

Two former QPR greats can also be backed. Ray Wilkins, who previously managed the side but has been working as a pundit since departing Chelsea last season and former striker Les Ferdinand, can both be backed at longer odds.

A selection of the names in the running for the QPR job are as follows:

  • Mark Hughes @ 1.2 (Betfred)
  • Gianfranco Zola @ 6.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Rafa Benitez @ 13.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Sven Goran Eriksson @ 21.0 (Paddy Power)
  • Roberto Di Matteo @ 21.0 (Sky Bet)
  • Roberto Martinez @ 21.0 (Betfred)
  • Alan Curbishley @ 23.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Steve Bruce @ 26.0 (Bet Victor)
  • Ray Wilkins @ 41.0 (Sportingbet)
  • Les Ferdinand @ 101.0 (Sportingbet)

Explaining the reasons behind sacking Warnock, new chairman Fernandes said: “This decision has been made in the best interests of the club and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that was made lightly.

“Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change.”

FA Cup Third Round Preview

The FA Cup third round takes place this weekend, promising big matches, tales of giant killing and maybe just a little romance in the cynical world of football.

But, does the FA Cup hold any winning opportunities this weekend or is it going to be the cause of many a busted betting slip?

Friday Night Banana Skin

The bookmakers will hope a number of coupons are sunk before a ball is even kicked on Saturday when Liverpool host League One side Oldham Athletic on Friday night.

Of course, a home win should be a formality but Liverpool have been out of sorts recently. You are not going to get much better than 1.13 (Boylesports) on Liverpool which on a cold, windswept evening game against an unknown quantity playing the game of their careers, does not scream “value” to me.

One to avoid I think.

Draws Galore

A number of fixtures taking place this weekend look difficult to call, so there could be plenty of opportunities for punters willing to back the draw. Here, I have identified eight matches which could require replays. Home advantage can be a great leveller for sides playing a division below their opponents while out of form sides taking on opposition from a division below can also be held over 90 minutes.

Birmingham City vs Wolves @ 3.3 (Bet Victor)

Dagenham & Redbridge vs Millwall @ 3.6 (Betfred)

Barnsley vs Swansea @ 3.4 (Sky Bet)

Doncaster Rovers vs Notts County @ 3.4 (Ladbrokes)

Hull City vs Ipswich Town @ 3.75 (Bet Victor)

MK Dons vs Queens Park Rangers @ 3.3 (Sky Bet)

Nottingham Forest vs Leicester City @ 3.3 (bet365)

West Bromwich Albion vs Cardiff City @ 3.8 (Coral)

Predict the Cupsets

Who doesn’t love a Cup upset? It’s one reason we watch the games after all.

First of all I am going to take Gillingham to beat Stoke City @ 6.0 (Boylesports). Last season Tony Pulis’ side reached the final for the first time in their history but with the club going well in the Premier League and still involved in Europe, he may opt to rest a few key players. The Gills are gunning for promotion in League Two and if there is going to be a “huge” upset this weekend, I think it’s going to happen at Priestfield Stadium.

Charlton Athletic can be backed @ 8.0 (Bet Victor) to beat Premier League side Fulham at Craven Cottage which is a huge price. The Addicks are set for promotion from League One this season and the derby element of this fixture will see them raise their game even further. Fulham look shaky despite beating Arsenal and they could face a third round exit.

Those of you looking for an upset on Sunday may fancy Peterborough United to beat Sunderland @ 4.0 (Ladbrokes). The Posh are free scoring at home and Sunderland may go into this match a little too over confidently after winning four and drawing one out of six matches since Martin O’Neill became manager.

The Manchester Derby

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the Manchester derby and it will be viewed as a “rematch” following City’s 6-1 trouncing of United at Old Trafford back in October. United are in poor form going into this match, having lost 3-0 to Newcastle on Wednesday and 3-2 at home to Blackburn Rovers last weekend.

However, prior to those back to back defeats, they won their last four matches convincingly, scoring 16 goals and conceding just one. City are experiencing mixed form themselves. They beat Liverpool convincingly on Tuesday night but lost 1-0 at Sunderland last weekend and were held to a goalless draw at West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day.

With home advantage, City are expected to win but they will be without the Africa Cup of Nations bound brothers Yaya and Kolo Toure.

I don’t believe City are going to have things their own way this weekend which is why I am backing Manchester United to win @ 3.6 (Bet Victor).

Monday Night Football

If you haven’t had enough of the FA Cup by Monday, Arsenal vs Leeds United is televised for your entertainment. Arsenal, are of course short-priced favourites but there could be some value in opposing them.

You may remember that Leeds held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at the Emirate at this stage of the competition last season before losing the replay 3-1 at Elland Road. Interestingly, Arsenal have lost just one of their last 35 FA Cup matches at home under Arsene Wenger – a 1-0 reverse against Leeds back in 1997.

Can Leeds frustrate the Gunners yet again? If you think they can, the draw is available @ 6.0 (Paddy Power).

Bookmaker Specials

If you enjoy the money back specials offered by Paddy Power you will be interested to know if a red card is issued in any of the following televised matches, you get your losing first / last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast singles refunded on that match:

  • Birmingham City vs Wolves
  • Bristol Rovers vs Aston Villa
  • Manchester City vs Manchester United
  • Arsenal vs Leeds United