FA Cup Semi-Final Spread Betting Preview

Spread The Word, It’s FA Cup Semi-Final Time

The identity of the FA Cup finalists will be decided this weekend when Man City meet Brighton on Saturday evening and Watford lock horns with Wolves on Sunday. Each of these Premier League teams will now be looking to take one step closer to FA Cup glory.

Manchester City v Brighton – 6 April

Manchester City still have a unique clean-sweep of trophies on the radar, but there may yet be a twist. Given that City are facing a huge run-in for the Premier League and Champions League, and stand as frontrunners for glory in outright football spreads for both competitions, it would not be surprising to see City adopt a softer, but no less skilled approach this weekend.

The effect of City’s hunt for the two ‘major’ trophies in their sights was plain to see in the last round, as Pep Guardiola’s men only just avoided the embarrassment of an exit to lower-league opposition. Up until the previous round, City’s progress in the FA Cup had been a breeze, with twelve unanswered goals across home ties being followed by a 4-1 thumping of Newport at Rodney Parade.

Brighton themselves are still fighting to avoid relegation, and although the outlook still remains in their favour, this could still impact negatively on the club’s bid to reach the FA Cup final. The Seagulls’ own progress to this stage has been complicated, demanding an exceptional team ethic in the face of spirited opposition. Never was this more evident than in the last round, as Brighton negotiated a penalty shootout in front of a baying Millwall crowd at The Den.

The Seagulls’ natural status as distant underdogs is yet further underlined, by the fact that their three clashes with a City team led by Pep Guardiola have all yielded defeats by a two-goal margin, with two failures to score any at all.

Watford v Wolves – 7 April

The second semi-final of the weekend is expected to be a much more evenly-matched affair, but neither side will wish to miss a golden opportunity to reach the FA Cup final, amidst an ever-growing gap between perennial Champions League contenders and the rest of the Premier League.

In Watford’s case, victory would grant the Hertfordshire club a first appearance in an FA Cup final for 35 years. Back in the 1984 final, the Hornets ran out 2-0 losers to Everton, and in the short term, both clubs went in opposite trajectories. Watford’s route to this semi-final has been largely characterised by solid defensive performances, although the Hornets’ run of victorious clean sheets was ended in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Crystal Palace.

Wolves, meanwhile, are in a first FA Cup semi-final since 1998. So too did it mark a continuation of Wolves’ single-goal victories throughout this FA Cup campaign, which began with a spirited 2-1 win over Liverpool, followed by a brace of hard-fought wins over lower-league opposition – including a replay against third-tier Shrewsbury.

In terms of head-to-head records, Watford were 2-0 victors in October’s league meeting at Molineux, with the return fixture yet to be played. They last met in the FA Cup as occupants of the same league back in January 2008, with Wolves destroying Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road.

FA Cup Semi-Final Spread Betting Options

With some real trends in the semi-finalists’ individual FA Cup runs and head-to-head records, there may be some extra interest to the current spread betting markets for goal minutes and goal supremacy.

The most popular of these is the Total Goals market. As ever, gains and losses would hinge on the number of goals mustered by two teams involved in a single match. For the upcoming semi-finals, the spreads for total goals are as follows:

Manchester City v Brighton: 3.25 (sell) – 3.45 (buy)Watford v Wolves: 2.35 – 2.55

The expectation of City to score multiple goals against an unfancied opponent heavily influences this market. In practice, this means that anyone backing the ‘buy’ value of 3.45 for City v Brighton would require the game to produce four or more goals to yield a payout.

This is because deducting the buy price from the settle value (if the match produced, say, 5 goals) would create a positive make-up, which is used as a winnings multiplier as follows:

Settle (5) – Buy price (3.45) = Make up (1.55)

That make-up value is then multiplied by your stake (say, £5) to create a final payout of £7.75.

However, if City v Brighton was to produce just two goals, that would create a loss of 1.45 times your stake (2 - 3.45 = -1.45).

You would therefore lose £7.25, or 1.45x your initial £5 stake.

Total Goal Minutes (TGM)

One of the most engaging aggregate markets out there is known as ‘Total Goal Minutes’. Quite simply, it is the combined minute numbers of the two teams involved in a match. Using the Watford v Wolves fixture, this is how you could win and lose on the TGM market this weekend.

At present, the TGM spread for Watford v Wolves is 122 (sell) – 132 (buy). In this scenario, let’s say that you wagered £2 on the sell value, believing that the match would be low-scoring.

The match is winding to a close with the total minutes standing at 47, with Watford having taken the lead on 46 minutes, 12 seconds – an official goal time rounded up to the ‘47th minute’. If it stays that way, 47 becomes the settle value and you win back 75x your stake based on the following calculation:

Sell price (122) - Settle (47) = Positive make-up (75) 75 x Wager (£2) = £150

However, if a player – for either team – was to score a late goal in the 90th minute, that would take the settle value to 137. That is 15 points above the sell price, meaning that you would lose 15x your stake, as follows:

Sell price (122) - Settle (137) = Negative make up (-15) -15 x Wager (£2) = -£30

There are many more diverse and intriguing FA Cup spread betting markets to explore. More information about how settle values are calculated can be found on the 'I' tab to the left of each individual market.

Alternatively, head over to our Sports Spread Betting Training Centre for a comprehensive guide to find out more about football spread betting.

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