FA Cup Fifth Round - Spread Bettors Review

Spread Betting the FA Cup: A Spread Bettors Review of the 5th Round

The fifth round of the FA Cup served up a number of superb solo strikes, goalmouth scrambles and moments of high drama over the weekend. The favourites prevailed in almost every game, but then Man Utd pulled off a fine victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the final fixture of the round. Elsewhere there were no giant killings and many lower league sides fell by the wayside, meaning the Premier League dominates the quarter-final draw. It was a weekend for sellers, as anyone that sold on the FA Cup Upset Index would have enjoyed a profitable weekend, while aggregate goals markets all came in lower than our projections.

It all started on Friday night, when Watford laboured to a 1-0 win away at QPR courtesy of Etienne Capoue’s strike on the stroke of half-time. Each side managed just a single shot on target in what proved to be a turgid affair, but the Premier League side ultimately did enough to scrape through. Brighton faced a tough game on Saturday against a Derby side that had already knocked out Southampton. However, first half strikes from Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia put the Seagulls in a commanding position, and Ashley Cole’s late strike – a first ever goal in the FA Cup for the former Chelsea and Arsenal left-back – proved a mere consolation for the Rams.

No Fairy-Tale For Wimbledon But Two Championship Teams Remain

League One’s bottom side, AFC Wimbledon, had enjoyed a dream run all the way to the fifth round, but their journey ended with defeat at the hands of Millwall. Murray Wallace put the visitors ahead in the fifth minute and they held on for a 1-0 victory, much to the disappointment of anyone hoping for a goal fest of a weekend. Newport County were seeking the biggest upset of the season as they hosted the mighty Man City, but the Premier League champions were not in a charitable mood.

The League Two strugglers did well to keep things level at half-time, but Leroy Sane gave City the lead on 51 minutes. Phil Foden doubled their advantage in the 75th minute, but Padraig Amond gave the hosts a lifeline with a deft lob over Ederson with two minutes remaining. Hopes of a comeback were immediately dashed as Foden fired in again and Riyad Mahrez completed the rout with a 95th minute strike to make it 4-1.

The Premier League’s Wolves and Crystal Palace both won to nil on the road as an Ivan Cavaleiro strike saw Wolves past Bristol City, while Jeffrey Schlupp and Max Meyer put Doncaster Rovers to the sword in a 2-0 victory for Crystal Palace. There was late drama in the Wolves game as Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding went up for a last-gasp corner and almost equalised, only for opposite number John Ruddy to deny him.

The final game on Sunday was an all-Championship affair that saw Swansea thump Brentford 4-1. Neal Maupay missed a sitter for the visitors, while Daniel James fired in a wonderful individual goal for the hosts.

It all ended with the big game on Monday night, a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final. That saw Antonio Conte’s Chelsea beat Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd to seize glory, but there were two new managers in charge this time around and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the better of Maurizio Sarri. The Blues dominated possession, but Man Utd were far more incisive in attack and goals from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba saw them through to the next round.

A Distinct Lack of Fifth Round Upsets

Our FA Cup Upset Index allowed punters to predict how many lower league teams would surge into the quarter-finals. Each Championship team making the next round would be awarded 10 points, with 20 for League One teams and 30 for League Two teams. We pitched the spread at 38-43 and anyone selling at 38 would have generated a healthy profit. In the end, just two Championship teams – Swansea and Millwall – made it through, while there are no teams from League One or Two remaining. That means the market settled at 20 points. Anyone that sold for £10 at 38 would have made a £180 profit. However, if Wimbledon had got the better of Millwall and Derby seen off Brighton then the market would have settled at 40, meaning sellers would have been £20 out of pocket.

Despite big wins for Man City and Swansea, it was a slightly lower scoring round of fixtures than anticipated. Our traders pitched Aggregate Total Goals at 22-22.8, Aggregate Total Home Goals at 8.6-9 and Aggregate Total Away goals at 13.45-13.85. In the end, there were seven home goals and 13 away goals, making 20 in total, meaning that sellers were in profit in each of these markets.

Chelsea, Doncaster, Bristol City, AFC Wimbledon and QPR all drew blanks, denting the totals considerably. Anyone that bought will be grateful to Swansea and Man City for mitigating their losses. Total Aggregate Goal Minutes also came under the spread, despite several late goals in the Man City game and Ashley Cole’s late strike. Things were close to being very different when Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding had a last gasp effort saved from a corner against Wolves, but sellers ended up celebrating once again.

Meanwhile, no matches went to extra-time or penalties, and no penalties were taken or scored, so sellers cashed in on all of those markets too. The spread for total penalties taken was 12-14, so anyone selling at 12 would have made a considerable profit. That market includes penalty shoot-outs, so it takes just one shoot-out to delight buyers, but ultimately all the matches were won in normal time, which is pretty rare.

The one slight upset of the fifth round was Man Utd’s away victory over Chelsea. The Blues were given a Win Index of 13.5-15 before the game, while Man Utd’s was a slightly more modest 8.75-10.25, so anyone buying on Man Utd or selling on Chelsea would have cheered the result. The Total Goals Index was 2.65-2.85 and there were just two, so that came in under, while there were 11 corners so anyone buying at 10.5 would have made a small profit.

The big teams have been kept apart in the next round too. Man City are away at Swansea, while Man Utd travel to Molineux to face Wolves. Watford take on Crystal Palace in an all Premier League quarter-final clash, while Brighton can enjoy a visit to Championship outfit Millwall. Check out our football spread betting options to find out what markets we are offering for the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

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