FA Cup matches are a special breed and only true football connoisseurs fully appreciate their beauty and unpredictability. This brief guideline will prepare you to follow this competition like a pro.
All eyes of the football world are on the English Premier League, and with good reason too – it is legitimately the best league in the world. However, much smaller number of fans is watching the other top-level English competition, the famous but semi-forgotten FA Cup. That’s a bit surprising considering that all of the PL sides take part in the annual knockout-style tournament that crowns a winner after a series of head-to-head matchups. Teams from lower divisions also participate and believe it or not, they have been known to surprise one of the big league favourites more often than you would expect.
History tells us that eight lower division teams have actually claimed the FA Cup crown, most recently West Ham in 1980, while relative outsiders such as Hull City, Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic all made the finals in the last five years. The favourites still hold a distinctive edge – Manchester United and Arsenal are the last two winners – but upsets of epic proportions happen with stunning regularity in the FA Cup. Obviously, that creates additional tension for the viewers and opens up additional opportunities for keen bettors that manage to correctly guess which small team is about to get hot.
Two major factors are responsible for the uncertainty that marks this competition. The first is the format of, with teams facing each other in a single-match showdown. This favours the underdogs, who can hope to advance if they catch a bigger team on a slow day or score a lucky goal early and then pull all eleven men back to defend vigorously until the very end. That’s a stark difference to the league format, where team accumulate points throughout the year and a single surprise win won’t affect the standings too much. When you account for the fact that there is no seeding in the FA Cup and top teams can eliminate each other, it becomes clear why lesser squads sneak into the later round almost every year.
Another reason for success of unheralded teams is that they take FA Cup more seriously than the Premier League powerhouses. Since top sides typically play on the international level weekly, they tend to rationalise how much they use their most important players. It is relatively standard practice to stock the squad with younger talent for FA Cup matches, saving the legs of the key veterans for more challenging opponents. Of course, this strategy can backfire if the match proves to be more difficult than anticipated, but it’s too late to reverse course if several elite players didn’t even dress.
Also, some of the teams that reside in the lower divisions could be better than they are given credit for. They tend to attract little attention during the year, so they can fly under the radar even if they consistently display high-level ability to outscore opponents. When they come out swinging against the big-name rivals, everyone is surprised except for their own fans, who are well aware how good their side can be. The reality is that highly regarded teams don’t spend a ton of time scouting the weaker opposition, and they consequently pay the price when they get ambushed by the highly motivated squad that just spend a full week thoroughly preparing its strategy.
Knowing all this, it is clear that FA Cup matches can be very attractive to bettors looking for great odds. Fortunately, it isn’t very hard to find a good place to do it, since almost all major sites include this competition on its offer. You can bet on the English FA Cup on William Hill Online and take advantage of all the benefits associated with a top online gaming provider. Not only you can win big in this way, but you can also have great personal satisfaction from betting on a small team to knock out a heavy favourite. That’s a combination of entertainment and profit that appeals to many football fans and you should definitely try it to see whether it suits your mentality.