Premier League Brighton start the FA Cup quarter-final against Championship opponents Millwall as favourites, but James Buttler thinks the betting value is with the underdogs...
"There is something about Millwall at home in the FA Cup and Brighton will not find this easy. The fact few goals have been scored in the past means the price on over 2.5 on Sunday is appealing at 13/10. Let's mesh Millwall to win and over 2.5 match goals at a devilish 6.66"
Millwall v Brighton
Sunday 17 March, 14:00
Live on BBC One
Lions can roar again against Premier League opposition
Millwall host Premier League side Brighton in the FA Cup Quarter-Finals and it is the first time these two teams meet since the 2014/15 Championship season when Millwall won 1-0 in Brighton and the match at The Den was a goalless draw. The Lions' recent form has seen them deep in relegation trouble in the Championship. A four game losing streak was ended with an away win against Birmingham in midweek. But Millwall haven't recorded a win since late January, against Everton in the FA Cup. They seem to raise their game for this tournament.
A 3-1 win over Hull was followed by that dramatic last gasp win against Everton and a 1-0 away victory over AFC Wimbledon to see them into the quarter-finals of this season's FA Cup. This is Millwall's 11th last-eight appearance and all have been as a non-top-tier side. Only Southampton (13) have reached more FA Cup quarter-finals while outside the top-flight.
Millwall are unbeaten in their last nine home FA Cup games (W8, D1), and have won their last five home FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents - Aston Villa (Jan 2013), Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester in their run last season, and Everton in January this year. Is [3.75] big enough for a side with that track record?
Conor McLaughlin appears to be manager Neil Harris's only injury problem. Harris, who enjoyed FA Cup success with Millwall as a player, is in the difficult position of relishing the prospect of a Wembley semi-final whilst desperately wishing to stave off relegation. On Sunday his priorities will be centred on the former.
Seagulls not flying away from their nest
Brighton have won back-to-back league matches and are 15th in the Premier League and five points above the drop zone. There relegation fears have eased, but they have a reasonably tough run-in and nothing can be taken for granted by Chris Hughton's side.
The 2-1 away win against Crystal Palace last weekend was Brighton's second on the bounce as Glenn Murray scored his 11th goal of the season. It was their first away win since they downed Huddersfield in December and only their third victory on the road this season.
The Seagulls will be playing their fourth FA Cup quarter-final. They have only progressed further once before, when they reached the 1982/83 final. If they win on Saturday it will be the first time they have strung three consecutive FA Cup away wins together since 1932.
Pascal Groß and Florin Andone are both expected to miss out for Brighton on Sunday. Other than that Hughton has a full squad at his disposal.
For Brighton, Glenn Murray is predictably short at 6/5 as the spearhead and is likely to attract a lot of attention from the Millwall defence. With Andone likely to miss the game, the value bet would be with Anthony Knockaert who has been involved in four goals in his last five FA Cup games, scoring twice this season. He was also on the scoresheet in his last match against Millwall in 2014 for Leicester City in the Championship. Knockaert is a tempting 4/1 anytime.
Lee Gregory, with eight league goals, is Millwall's leading scorer this season and is 13/8 anytime.
Who gets a Wembley semi?
Millwall and Brighton haven't met in the FA Cup since the 1956-57 season in the first round, with the Lions winning a replay to progress. Brighton have not lost in their last six visits to the Den (W3, D3) and there have been few goals scored in their recent games BUT I am going against all of that stat claptrap.
There is something about Millwall at home in the FA Cup and Brighton will not find this easy. The fact few goals have been scored in the past means the price on over 2.5 on Sunday is appealing at 13/10. Let's mesh Millwall to win and over 2.5 match goals at a devilishly good 6.66.
*You can follow James on Twitter - @football_badger
James Buttler on 2018/19 Championship
Staked: 161 pts
Returned: 206.34 pts
P/L: +45.34 pts
*based on 1pt each bet, 2pts best bet
Back Millwall to beat Brighton @ [3.75]
Back Over 2.5 Match Goals in Millwall vs Brighton at 13/10 (best bet)
Back Millwall to win and Over 2.5 Match Goals at 6.66