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FA Cup betting preview: Picking the right upsets can be profitable

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  • Cardiff City
    Cardiff City
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Welcome to the third round of the FA Cup.

The world’s oldest soccer tournament welcomes Premier League teams into the fold this weekend. The EPL teams jump into the tournament along with teams from the championship after the first two rounds were limited to teams below the top two tiers of English soccer.

The FA Cup is pretty simple. Win and advance. If you tie, then there’s a replay at the other team’s stadium and penalty kicks if that game is tied. It’s the chance for lower-league teams to get a huge win over a Championship or Premier League team and create a fairytale story that will be told for years among supporters.

A Premier League team is going to win the tournament, however. West Ham in 1980 is the last non-top level team to win the FA Cup. And Cardiff City in 2008 is the last non-Premier League team to even play in the FA Cup final. It’s a near-guarantee that the final will feature two Premier League teams. It’s just a matter of seeing who those teams will be.

But hey, we can dream about some upsets. Especially this weekend. But be wary of those upsets when you’re betting these games. Teams across the country will be resting key players for these games — you’re going to see players on EPL teams that normally don’t get a lot of playing time. If you have the chance, wait until you see the team sheets before making your bets.

Don’t put all your eggs into the upset basket either. Use some common sense. Chelsea is a -3000 favorite over Chesterfield for a reason in a game that has an over/under of 4.5 goals. It could easily be a 6-1 Chelsea win even if the Blues play a bunch of backups.

All of the FA Cup games are on ESPN+, so enjoy your Saturday and Sunday mornings and flip around to some competitive contests. It’s a great chance to watch teams you may not normally pay attention to.

There are a total of 32 matches from Friday to Monday, though only 30 are listed below. Manchester City is a huge favorite over Swindon Town on Friday, but City is dealing with some COVID-19 cases. That game is off the board. So is Liverpool’s game vs. Shrewsbury Town. COVID-19 cases postponed the Reds’ Thursday Carabao Cup semifinal vs. Arsenal.

All odds are via BetMGM. Find a few games that look intriguing and place your bets. Leicester City is the defending FA Cup champion.

Saturday

Mansfield Town vs. Middlesbrough (over/under 2.5)

  • Mansfield Town (+400)

  • Middlesbrough (-175)

  • Tie (+260)

Burnley vs. Huddersfield Town (2.5)

  • Burnley (-160)

  • Huddersfield Town (+340)

  • Tie (+270)

Coventry City vs. Derby County (2.5)

  • Coventry City (-130)

  • Derby County (+275)

  • Tie (+250)

Bristol City vs. Fulham (2.5)

  • Bristol City (+333)

  • Fulham (-145)

  • Tie (+260)

Hartlepool United vs. Blackpool (2.5)

  • Hartlepool (+375)

  • Blackpool (-165)

  • Tie (+260)

Millwall vs. Crystal Palace (2.5)

  • Millwall (+230)

  • Crystal Palace (+100)

  • Tie (+230)

Queens Park Rangers vs. Rotherham United (2.5)

  • QPR (-115)

  • Rotherham (+270)

  • Tie (+225)

Leicester City vs. Watford (2.5)

  • Leicester (-185)

  • Watford (+375)

  • Tie (+300)

Wigan Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers (2.5)

  • Wigan (+160)

  • Blackburn (+140)

  • Tie (+220)

West Bromwich Albion vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (2.5)

  • West Brom (+190)

  • Brighton & Hove (+110)

  • Tie (+230)

Newcastle vs. Cambridge United (2.5)

  • Newcastle (-375)

  • Cambridge United (+775)

  • Tie (+400)

Barnsley vs. Barrow (2.5)

  • Barnsley (-250)

  • Barrow (+525)

  • Tie (+310)

Boreham Wood FC vs. AFC Wimbledon (2.5)

  • Boreham Wood (+270)

  • AFC Wimbledon (-120)

  • Tie (+240)

Peterborough United vs. Bristol Rovers (2.5)

  • Peterborough (-275)

  • Bristol (+575)

  • Tie (+350)

Port Vale vs. Brentford (2.5)

  • Port Vale (+725)

  • Brentford (-300)

  • Tie (+350)

Kidderminster Harriers vs. Reading (2.5)

  • Kidderminster (+375)

  • Reading (-160)

  • Tie (+240)

Hull City vs. Everton (2.5)

  • Hull City (+260)

  • Everton (-115)

  • Tie (+230)

Swansea City vs. Southampton (2.5)

  • Swansea (+220)

  • Southampton (-105)

  • Tie (+240)

Birmingham City vs. Plymouth Argyle (2.5)

  • Birmingham (-110)

  • Plymouth (+250)

  • Tie (+220)

Chelsea vs. Chesterfield (4.5)

  • Chelsea (-3000)

  • Chesterfield (+3500)

  • Tie (+1250)

Yeovil Town vs. Bournemouth (2.5)

  • Yeovil Town (+625)

  • Bournemouth (-300)

  • Tie (+350)

Sunday

Luton Town vs. Harrogate Town (2.5)

  • Luton Town (-275)

  • Harrogate Town (+575)

  • Tie (+333)

Cardiff City vs. Preston North End (2.5)

  • Cardiff (+125)

  • Preston (+175)

  • Tie (+220)

Wolves vs. Sheffield United (2.5)

  • Wolves (-160)

  • Sheffield United (+360)

  • Tie (+250)

Charlton Athletic vs. Norwich City (2.5)

  • Charlton (+250)

  • Norwich (-120)

  • Tie (+250)

Stoke City vs. Leyton Orient (2.5)

  • Stoke City (-300)

  • Leyton Orient (+625)

  • Tie (+375)

Tottenham vs. Morecambe (3.5)

  • Tottenham (-1400)

  • Morecambe (+2200)

  • Tie (+900)

West Ham vs. Leeds (2.5)

  • West Ham (-130)

  • Leeds (+260)

  • Tie (+260)

Nottingham Forest vs. Arsenal (2.5)

  • Nottingham Forest (+425)

  • Arsenal (-185)

  • Tie (+275)

Monday

Manchester United vs. Aston Villa (2.5)

  • Man United (-165)

  • Aston Villa (+360)

  • Tie (+275)