FA Cup third round weekend is one of the most magical moments in the English football calendar, and we’re hopeful of jumping on the drama with this Saturday afternoon treble.
We’re backing the following trio of teams to book their places in the last 32 without the need for a replay. At odds of just under 4/1, it has to be worth a punt.
Hartlepool United V Derby County
In round two, Hartlepool needed 270 minutes to edge through against non-league Salford. Sadly for Ronnie Moore’s men, their likely to receive a mauling against Championship side Derby.
The perennial League Two strugglers have lost four league games on the spin, and have had real trouble finding the target of late. They cannot afford to be wasteful in a game where chances will be few and far between. Even the magic of the cup is unlikely to save them here.
Paul Clement’s Rams will have been disappointed by last week’s late collapse at Middlesbrough, but they are still firm favourites to gain promotion. Regardless of whether they field a weakened team, their extra quality and confidence should shine through here.
Victoria Park will hope for an upset, but the chances of seeing one are slim. Away win.
Derby County Win @ 8/15 with SkyBet
Watford V Newcastle United
At Vicarage Road, it’s an all-Premier League showdown as Watford take on Newcastle. We’re backing the in-form hosts to sting the visitors again by sealing their place in round four.
Watford have been exceptional this season. Despite being overshadowed by Leicester, their own achievements should not be underestimated. The front pairing of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have been sensational but, in truth, manager Quique Flores must be thrilled with the entire squad.
Conversely, Steve McClaren’s Magpies are back in the Premier League relegation zone after three straight defeats. Meanwhile, the fact the club has exited this competition at this stage in four of the last five campaigns adds further ammunition to the argument that they won’t take this one seriously.
Home win for the Hornets.
Watford Win @ 5/6 with SkyBet
West Ham United V Wolverhampton Wanderers
West Ham United have provided us with some great cup moments over the years and the Hammers would love a great cup run in their final season at the Boleyn. They should start their cup campaign in style as they take on Wolves.
Premier League survival is virtually secured for the hosts, so Slaven Bilic’s men are free to have a real go at this competition. Confidence will be high after starting 2016 with a great win over Liverpool. Meanwhile, the return of key stars such as Andy Carroll and Dimitri Payet is a real bonus for the Hammers.
Wolves have restored some confidence after winning their last three Championship fixtures, and generally boast a pretty solid away form with six wins and two draws from their 13 away games. However, this is a real step up in quality, and they may also be a little pre-occupied with thoughts of chasing the play-off places in their division.
Back Bilic’s men to shine.
West Ham Win @ ¾ with SkyBet
A £10 treble returns £49.00 with SkyBet