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Free betting tips and match preview: FA Cup semi-final - Watford v Wolves

Our best bets for Watford v Wolves
Our best bets for Watford v Wolves

A close contest is expected on Sunday when Watford meet Wolves at Wembley, Tom Carnduff takes a look at the betting.


Recommended bets

2pts Draw after 90 minutes at 23/10

1pt A VAR review to be used in 90 minutes at 6/4

For advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Watford v Wolves (FA Cup semi-final, Wembley Stadium, BT Sport 2, 1600 BST)

Two sides who are leading the way in the 'best of the rest' category in the Premier League go head-to-head at Wembley with a spot in the final up for grabs.

Wolves have snatched the headlines with their exploits in their first season back in the top-flight, most notably beating Manchester United and Chelsea while picking up points against others in the top-six.

Watford, on the other hand, are experiencing their best Premier League season so far with 46 points. It's also the most points they have accrued in a top-flight campaign since 1986/87 (63).

That was the perfect preparation for this game as they look to return to Wembley in May. Following that win over Fulham, which relegated the Cottagers, manager Javi Gracia said: "It will be a tough game (against Wolves), but we know we are able to beat anyone. We have to be demanding with ourselves, and in this way, we are able to win as well."

One of the many things we've learnt from Wolves this season is how they are a team for the big occasion. They seem to relish the opportunity to come up against the best teams that England has to offer and that is why they have a healthy points return from playing those at the top.

That could put them in a good place here as they are clearly a side with the right mindset going into games such as this. That said, with Watford's enjoyable campaign so far, they will be up against extremely tough opposition.

While Watford may not boast the same record against top-six sides this season, they did beat Wolves when the two sides met at the Molineux in October.

It's different this time around though with Wolves firmly settled into Premier League life by now. This game is too close to call in terms of 90 minutes, which is why we may have to settle for extra-time and potentially the drama of penalties in this semi-final.


Betting guide

Score prediction: Watford 1-1 Wolves (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)

While both sides have plenty of attacking power, a game at this stage of the competition, with two evenly-matched sides, could mean a rather cagey affair. That doesn't mean we're set for 90 minutes of possession-based football where there is a fear of attack, but rather a game where chances on goal may well be limited. We're likely going to need more than regular time to split these two.

Best bet: Draw after 90 minutes at 23/10

As stated above, this game is probably going to need at least 30 more minutes to find a winner. At a general price of 23/10, the value is certainly there in going down this route in terms of the outright market.

Best bet: A VAR review to be used in 90 minutes at 6/4

Ah, VAR. The technology that at first divided opinion in football but has now been accepted as something that is probably required in the game. We will see it in the Premier League next season, but this season has seen it used at Premier League stadiums in the FA Cup. The difference in this game is that fans will be able to see the decision after a VAR check has been made. This is similar to the way it worked at the Russia World Cup. The referee will watch the incident back, make his decision, and then the footage will be replayed on the big screens. VAR still has it's problems though as we get used to it in this country. In a game such as this, where we're expecting it to be a close contest, there is every chance that VAR will needed. At a price of 6/4 with Sky Bet, it's another option worth a consideration.


Opta facts

  • This will be the eighth FA Cup match between Watford and Wolves, with the Hornets winning just one of the seven previous encounters – a 3-0 victory in the fifth round in February 1980.
  • Wolves’ second ever biggest FA Cup victory came against Watford back in January 1912, thrashing the then non-league outfit 10-0 in a first round replay.
  • Watford have only lost one of their last five matches against Wolves in all competitions (W2 D2), a 0-1 defeat at Vicarage Road in December 2014 in the Championship.
  • Wolves are playing in their 15th FA Cup semi-final and first since 1998. They’ve been eliminated each of the last four times they’ve reached this stage, last progressing in 1960 en route to winning the trophy under Stan Cullis.
  • Watford will play their seventh FA Cup semi-final, only managing to progress on one previous occasion – a 1-0 victory over Plymouth back during the 1983-84 campaign. Indeed, of sides to appear in at last five FA Cup semi-finals, Watford have the joint-lowest progression rate alongside Fulham (1/6 – 17%).
  • Wolves have won their last six games at Wembley Stadium – only Arsenal (7 between May 2014 and May 2017) and Tottenham (7 between January-March 2018) have won more consecutively at the ground.
  • Watford have won just one of their six games in all competitions at Wembley Stadium (2-0 v Bolton in May 1999) losing each of their last four at the ground.
  • Watford skipper Troy Deeney has had a direct hand in nine goals in his last 13 FA Cup appearances, scoring five and assisting four.
  • Each of Watford’s seven FA Cup goals this season have been assisted by different players (Masina, Sema, Hughes, Quina, Cleverley, Cathcart and Pereyra).
  • Only Padraig Amond (5) has scored in more different rounds of the FA Cup this season than Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, with the Mexican netting in the third, fourth and quarter-final rounds.

Odds correct at 1030 BST (05/04/19)

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Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: Chelsea's Coutinho

Chelsea chasing Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho is one of the transfer rumours doing the round in Tuesday's Paper Talk.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Premier League betting preview

Tuesday sees two games in the Premier League as Tottenham welcome Brighton and Watford take on Southampton. We have two best bets.

=?UTF-8?Q?Burnley=E2=80=99s_Ashley_Barnes_celebrates?=3

Chelsea misfire in top-four battle

Maurizio Sarri was sent to the stands as Chelsea blew a big chance to stake their Champions League claim by slipping to a 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley.

Check out today's Paper Talk4

Paper Talk: Lukaku leaving?

Juventus are eyeing Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku with Manchester United happy to listen to offers - get all the latest from today's back pages.

Robbie Fowler formerly played in Australia with Perth Glory and North Queensland5

Robbie Fowler named Brisbane boss

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