THE magic of the FA Cup is still alive going by the events at Salford last night.
BBC cameras put the jinx on Notts County as they were sunk by non-league minnows Salford who are owned by a handful of ex-Manchester United stars.
Cup clashes dominate the weekend card and earlier in the week I posted some stats from Kevin Pullein’s column in this week’s Racing and Football Outlook.
In this piece I’m advising some stats-based goals bets but one thing that has to be considered is team news. I’ve checked as much as time allows considering there are 43 ties and many teams are minus key men due to parent clubs not giving permission for on-loan players to participate – for example Coventry can’t field top scorer Adam Armstrong and boss Mowbray says he’s “down to the bare bones” with six or seven players out.
His on-form League One side should still be too strong for Northampton at home but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Sides whose managers are hinting at rotation include Accrington, Wigan, Cambridge and Plymouth who are definitely without key man Reuben Reid. Scunthorpe and Southend are noth decimated for their meeting and Forest Green could have a striker crisis for their trip to Wimbledon.
So that’s a few bits and pieces to consider and if anyone has other FA Cup team news to add do it here.
As far as the goals bets are concerned Pullein pointed out first-round games have averaged three goals a game from 1995 up to last season.
That compares to 2.8 for rounds two to four and 2.7 for rounds five and six. This figure rises to 3.7 when when League One sides entertain non-league teams and 3.3 on their travels.
Sheffield Utd, Port Vale, Millwall, Doncaster and Crewe are the League One sides at home to non-league opposition while Barnsley, Bradford, Chesterfield, Colchester and Shrewsbury are away.
An over 3.5 goals treble featuring Sheffield Utd v Worcester, Crewe v Eastleigh and Millwall v Fylde pays 18-1 at William Hill. Less risky is an over 2.5 goals treble with Altrincham v Barnsley, Wealdstone v Colchester and Gainsborough v Shrewsbury (tomorrow). That returns 5-1 at 10bet.
Remember those are simply going by stats. For a both teams to score treble I like Barnet v Blackpool, Burton v Peterbrough and Rochdale v Swindon. That pays 9-2 at bet365.
As Salford suggest it could be a bit of a minefield picking winners – and don’t be tempted to lump in all the favourites on a big accumulator.
Over 3.5 Goals Treble
Sheff Utd v Worcester
Crewe v Eastleigh
Millwall v Fylde
(18-1, William Hill)