Be wary on Cup weekend
Footballer than bookie rep Dale Tempest explains his betting approach for the FA Cup - and picks out his best bets for the fourth round.
- Related Content
Former professional footballer Dale Tempest has turned bookie - he's now Sky Bet's public relations director.
Fulham, Huddersfield and Colchester were among his clubs during a 16-year career so he knows exactly how the game is played and these days he's very much got his finger on the pulse of the markets as both a punter and a bookie.
His regular Friday column explores the mindset of the bookies and highlights the best bets for the weekend's action. Here's his take on this weekend's fourth-round FA Cup ties.
More and more with the FA Cup my betting is becoming about looking at the fixtures around it and the priorities of the teams involved.
I also look at their injury situations and consider who has the strongest squad to cope at this time of year.
First up, some big teams are very short. I won't be touching Liverpool at 1/3 at Bournemouth.
Likewise, Sunderland at 1/4 have no appeal. They will be in many people's acca but they are coming in off the back of the excitement of their Capital One Cup victory at Old Trafford, not to mention a long, hard night's work and every time they've been expected to win at home they've not delivered this season.
Everton are another team, at 2/7, who are just starting to get stretched slightly in terms of injuries. Away at Stevenage on what's likely to be a terrible surface, they can't be backed at the price. The teams who like to play good football can be dragged into a bit of struggle on this type of pitch.
There are a couple of bets that do stand out.
I like over 2.5 goals in Bolton v Cardiff.
I expected to see 8/11 over and evens under in this one but to my surprise the market is pitched the other way round.
After Bolton's 7-1 drubbing last week and Cardiff's six-goal thriller at Man City, it's overs for me.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is playing a much more open and attacking game. As well as at City, that was evidenced at Newcastle in the last round.
Bolton's home games have seen 30 goals in 13 league matches and while those stats suggest it's borderline, the short-term form of Bolton's defence and Cardiff's attack means there should be goals in the game.
Huddersfield are another team I like this week. They will be without record signing Nakhi Wells, who is cup-tied, but even at 10/11 things still look good for a Huddersfield side finding their feet and gradually improving as the season goes on.
They face Charlton at home and I feel it's a massive advantage when you have a completely free week compared to a team who have had to travel away (to Oxford) and grind out a victory in midweek.
Elsewhere on the coupon, I've no doubt Man City will be in everybody's accas this weekend - they play Watford - given they are averaging four goals a game at home.
The only possible angle for me in this one is to go draw-City in the HT/FT market. City dominated but it took them 45 minutes to score against Blackburn in the third-round replay.
If they take the same casual approach it's likely the victory will come in the second half when their extra quality will shine through. At 3/1, it might be worth a shot.
Holders Wigan aren't an even-money chance to beat Crystal Palace, who have really improved under Tony Pulis.
Players will buy into something that's working. You need all 11 pulling together and that's what they've got right now.
Sheffield Wednesday are also too short at Rochdale at 6/5 - they may be the higher-ranked team but they've won only one away game all season.
Stuart Gray is doing a good job but Keith Hill will have Rochdale bouncing at home. As I said earlier, the quality of the pitches lower down is a massive leveller. The draw looks a decent price in this one - that result often feels like a win to the smaller team.
Finally, avoid Swansea at even money too at Birmingham.
They've got a really huge game v Fulham next Tuesday which has to be the focus for them right now. Michael Laudrup will know it's no good having a cup run - he won't be there at the end of the season if they keep losing league games.