FA Cup betting preview: Birmingham to give Chelsea the blues


Andre Villas-Boas this week went public with the news that some of the Chelsea players aren't behind him and while it's hardly something we didn't already know, the decision to air his dirty washing in public could backfire spectacularly against Birmingham in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The potential for a shock at Stamford Bridge probably rests heavily on AVB's team selection and how many of his disciples get a starting berth but without the benefit of that information in advance, we think there's some value to be found in the 11/1 quote about Chris Hughton's men.

Birmingham are in great shape right now, performing like a team that belongs in the Premier League, and we're not convinced the price would be so big if their city rivals Aston Villa were the visitors on the Saturday lunchtime. Maybe in the league, but not in the cup.

Villa, of course, were 3-1 winners on this ground over the festive period with a couple of late sucker punches and while we wouldn't go as far as to say that Blues are the equal of their neighbours, at least not in terms of the quality of their personnel, we are willing to assert they are capable of something similar.

The occasional stinker has become habitual for Chelsea over the past 15 months and while Birmingham have a fanbase that can't always be trusted to do the club justice in terms of the numbers in which they follow the team, there's been a bit of magic about their cup run so far with a couple of reaffirming away days at Wolves and Sheffield United where plenty of fun was had.

As such, we're happy to take a leap of faith on a big price and trust that Hughton will instil them with the belief that they can get a result.

Meanwhile, Blackpool are charting a similar path on the back of relegation having recently surged up the Championship table into the promotion reckoning and they also deserve our support at 7/1 against Everton.

The Seasiders aren't the most consistent side over the course of 90 minutes but they are capable of producing flashes of brilliance, the sort of moments that can win you knockout matches without playing particularly well.

Ian Holloway has an abundance of attacking options. They're not necessarily players of the highest calibre but they all bring something different to the table, allowing the manager to mix things up and pose his opponents new problems when necessary. And what they lack in class and pedigree, Holloway makes up for in spirit, which he passes over to them in spades.

We realise Everton are in decent nick at present but their league form counts for little in the cup because the way they grind results out isn't always conducive to knockout football. When you seldom find yourselves more than a goal ahead in any game, the more likely you are to invite a knockout punch in this competition.

We don't doubt that the Toffees will control the game and we're not even sure Holloway will select his strongest XI ahead of a crucial home game against West Ham three days later. But we do think the plan for the Tangerines will probably be to stay within touching distance throughout the course of the afternoon and go for it late on, which is when they tend to have most joy in front of goal.

With that in mind, we'll also supplement our interest with a bet on the Everton/Blackpool double result at 100/1.

Finally, seeing as both of those best prices are available with the same firm, we see no harm in cobbling them together as a double at 95/1.

Now let's find out if there's still such a thing as the magic of the FA Cup!

Recommended bets:

1pt Birmingham to beat Chelsea at 11/1 (Victor Chandler)

1pt Blackpool to beat Everton at 7/1 (Stan James)

0.5pt Everton/Blackpool double result at 100/1 (Bwin)

0.5pt Birmingham & Blackpool double at 95/1 (Stan James)

For more betting news and views, please visit Bestofthebets.com. You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific