FA Cup betting preview: Vicarage Road knees-up for Harry Redknapp


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The Independent Football

We've all had one of them weeks when everything that could go wrong will go wrong and nobody in the world has a good word to say about you. All you can do is wish away the hours until Friday night when escapism takes over. So one can only begin to imagine how much Harry Redknapp is looking forward to his FA Cup knees-up at Vicarage Road this Friday and we should back his Tottenham side to put a smile back on his face with a thumping victory over Watford.

Redknapp had good reason to feel a little hard done by last Sunday when Spurs came within a whisker of victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, only to end up with nothing as Mario Balotelli netted a stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot moments after his stamp on Scott Parker.

And things have only gone from bad to worse for the Spurs boss over the past few days with his name shifting from the back pages to front as the prosecution put forward their case against him on charges of 'cheating the public revenue' at Southwark Crown Court.

Now you suspect the Spurs players understand that Redknapp will be eager to finish the week on a high and simply beating Watford might not be enough to take his mind off things, they will want to win well and without any fuss. Therefore, we see some value in the 13/10 quote on Tottenham (-1) on the handicap with Bet365 and Paddy Power.

That Tottenham are capable of a landslide victory over the Hornets shouldn't really be up for debate. The Lilywhites have routinely beaten lower league opposition by comfortable margins in recent seasons. Burnley, Doncaster, Preston, Charlton, Cheltenham have all been dispatched by three clear goals since Redknapp walked through the door in October 2008. And you might even wish to throw Hearts and Shamrock Rovers into the same bracket.

When Premier League clubs cut loose against Championship opposition, they tend to run off into distance and that also explains why we're keen to back Tottenham to score four or more goals at 9/2. In the seven ties involving Premier League clubs against Championship opposition in the last round, four of them finished up with the Premier League club netting four times. It just so happens that this is an above-average top flight club against a below-average second tier outfit.

By Championship standards, Watford aren't much to be fearful of. The Hornets finished 14th last season under Malky Mackay and you only have to see what Mackay has achieved since at Cardiff to understand how difficult it must be for successor Sean Dyche just to keep heads above water at that level.

The Hornets have been pretty solid at home against their peers over the past few months and they were eight unbeaten on their own patch before going down somehwat undeservedly to Reading in front of the television cameras a fortnight ago.

However, to focus too squarely on those bare statistics only serves to distract us from the gulf in class. Tottenham have had five days to stew on the result against City and they will be keen to restore the feel-good factor in what amounts to a home game for a sizeable portion of their support.

Recommended bets:

2pts Tottenham (-1) to beat Watford on the handicap at 13/10 (Paddy Power)

1pt Tottenham to score four or more goals at 9/2 (general)

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