The Editors' Premier League Betting Battle 2013/14: Round 40, FA Cup Final

All eyes on Wembley for the final Betting Battle of the season
All eyes on Wembley for the final Betting Battle of the season
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It's the final Betting Battle of the season, with all four editors in with a chance of winning as they choose bets for the FA Cup final. Can Mike Norman hold his lead or will Joe Dyer, Dan Thomas or Luke Moore land a final-day victory?

"Five of the last seven Cup Finals have paid out on Under 2.5 Goals and going back even further to when the old Wembley was in use then 11 of the last 13 Wembley finals have resulted in two or fewer goals being scored."

Mike Norman says Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.981/1

Arsenal v Hull
FA Cup Final
Saturday, 17:00
Live on ITV1 & BT Sport 1

Mike Norman

Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.981/1

So it all boils down to this, the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Hull. A winning bet here will go very close to landing me the inaugural Betting Battle, though I genuinely don't know what the wily old Dyer is selecting at the time of writing.

And my bet of choice is the Under 2.5 Goals option at what I believe to be a very generous price at around the even money mark.

We have a few things going for us here; firstly the number of clean sheets each side has managed this season - Arsenal 17 in the Premier League and Hull 10, which for a team fancied to be relegated is a very pleasing return.

But perhaps mostly in our favour is the trend of cagey Wembley finals in recent years. Five of the last seven have paid out on Under 2.5 Goals (in fact all five of those games finished 1-0), and going back even further to when the old Wembley was in use then 11 of the last 13 Wembley finals have resulted in two or fewer goals being scored.

Not one of those 11 games finished with both sides getting on the scoresheet and the same is true about the two Premier League meetings between the Gunners and the Tigers this season. Perhaps the layers fancy a huge Arsenal win, but given the recent trends and defensive capabilities of both sides I'm amazed at the price for Unders.

Good luck gentleman, it's been a pleasure.

Mike Norman 2013-14 P/L: + £17.40

Joe Dyer

Back Arsenal to win both halves @ 3.259/4

Picking this week's bet has been a tricky process. Just £7.40 behind Mikey, a winner would take me above his current total but Mr Norman's chess-move of a bet - unders at 1.981/1 - leaves me in a position. This eminently sensible punt has every chance of coming in, which would need me to find a bet at 2.747/4 or better to finish ahead of Betting.Betfair's fourth Muskateer.

Another option is just to oppose Mike with the overs of course, but run the risk of Dan nicking it at the death. 

It's a conundrum.

On first thoughts I expected a close game with Arsenal dominating possession but finding Steve Bruce's team tricky to break down. But just how hard will it be really? Hull's Premier League survival was built on a decent defence, especially at home, but they've been conceding plenty in recent weeks - 13 in their last five league games, and 16 if we chuck in the Cup semi against Sheffield United. Will they be able to recover their best form on Saturday?

Arsenal are coming into the fixtures on some very decent form, with clean sheets in their last four, a run that includes a 3-0 defeat of Saturday's opponents. That made it a double over Bruce's boys, the previous game finishing 2-0. Either scoreline sounds plausible once the 90 minutes are up at Wembley but as I can't back both I'll take a chance on Arsenal to win both halves @ 3.259/4 - it would have been a winning bet in both previous fixtures between the two this season.

Good luck to all - may the best man win! 

Joe Dyer 2013-14 P/L: + £10.00

Dan Thomas

Back Draw/Arsenal in the HT/FT market at 4.77/2

When I was clear leader in the early weeks of the season after winning four bets on the bounce, I didn't think I'd be languishing in third on the final weekend and needing a decent priced winner for victory but, as Luke constantly reminds us, 'it's a marathon, not a sprint' so here we are.

To guarantee victory, I need a winner at better than 3/1 so it's with some reluctance I head back to the half-time/full-time market which hasn't served me well during the season, but is the best bet I can find at the prices.

To have any chance of victory, Hull are going to have to keep things tight early on and look to nick one on the break - an open game will play into Arsenal's hands, so a goalless first half is certainly not out of the equation. Hull managed this in games against Man City, Spurs and Chelsea this season, before eventually succumbing in the second period.

The Gunners will no doubt be on the front foot from the off, but there will be a degree of nervousness in the ranks as they look to break their eight-year trophy duck - this was certainly evident in the semi-final with Wigan - so I'm banking on it taking time for Arsene Wenger's men to break Hull down.

Whatever happens, it's been a great ride - we'll be back with a World Cup Betting Battle in June.

Dan Thomas 2013-14 P/L: - £4.31

Luke Moore

Back 1-1 in the Correct Score market at 10.519/2

So this is it, the final bet of the season! It's been emotional, and overall a pretty poor effort from me, but I still have a chance of doing something here if I can nail a correct score bet (something I successfully managed just a couple of weeks ago).

I previewed this game elsewhere on the site, and think it'll be a cagey affair as FA Cup finals recently have tended to be. Arsenal are the better team, as they proved in the league against Hull this season on more than one occasion, but I still have doubts about them when the pressure's on. They're looking to win their first trophy in nine years and despite Arsene Wenger's insistence that they don't have a mental block, I think they do.

Despite all that, I have a feeling Arsenal may well lift the trophy but it'll take them longer than 90 minutes to do so, and for those reasons I'm going for a 1-1 draw. Here's hoping it comes in and I end up right back in the group and avoid painful defeat.

Luke Moore 2013-14 P/L: - £70.30

A £10 bet is placed on each selection on Betfair's Exchange. Profits are calculated before commission.

Season P/L

1. Mike Norman: + £17.40
2. Joe Dyer: + £10.00
3. Dan Thomas: - £4.31
4. Luke Moore: - £70.30

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