FA Cup Betting: Back Mad Dog's Bees to buzz against Tangerines

Martin Allen will be wanting to do this after facing Blackpool on Saturday
Martin Allen will be wanting to do this after facing Blackpool on Saturday

The odds might not suggest it would be an upset, but Barnet could beat League One strugglers Blackpool in the FA Cup says Ian Lamont, who also looks at four all-League Two ties. Carlisle, he says, could spring a surprise on another long away trip...

"The Bees are reasonably short at 2.68/5 considering they are playing a team from a division above, so the layers know they have every chance of a "shock" win."

*All selected matches Saturday 3pm kick-offs

Barnet 2.68/5 v Blackpool 3.052/1; the draw 3.55/2

When you are looking for FA Cup upsets, you are looking for teams with problems behind the scenes who might fall.

Well, Blackpool's problems might be a bit more high profile than "behind the scenes"! Tangerines chairman Owen Oyston has not had a great relationships with his club's fans for a while. Recently, two fans have been charged with harassment after sending him text messages. There is a background of protests and he has rejected the notion that the fans' trust can buy the club from him. The team sit on the precipice of relegation to League Two.

Neil McDonald's side have eight points from six games, but two of their recent three victories have come against fellow strugglers Crewe and Swindon. Plus, they have just one win away this season.

Five-goal Mark Cullen, who League Two fans will recognise from Luton, might see this as a chance to open up one of his old division's weaker defences.

However, even if he does, that is unlikely to be enough. The Bees are putting together a decent run and are also flying reasonably high in their division's form table.

In fact they have lost just twice at The Hive, once in August to Wycombe and more recently to Accrington, after which, overall, they have taken 10 points and scored nine times in four games.

Josh Clarke, on loan from Brentford until January, has had a big say in that with three goals in four games and, as long as the deal allows him to play, gives 'Mad Dog' Martin Allen's men a good shout of landing a victory. The Bees are reasonably short considering they are playing a team from a division above, so the layers know they have every chance of a "shock" win.

Recommended Bet
Back Barnet @ 2.68/5

Crawley 3.185/40 v Luton Town 2.47/5; the draw 3.55/2

In many senses, Crawley's odds to win this game might look long, which is the prime reason for going against the layers' logic and tipping them to win. The FA Cup seems to love those who live with a sense of being unloved. Look who won in 1987? Unfashionable Coventry. 1988? Crazy Gang Wimbledon.

Crawley are another club people love to hate: they have had unsavoury owners in the past - the ones that gave another of football's maligned hated squad Steve Evans (now manager at Leeds United) a chance to manage them. You know the tales: Crawley bought their way up to League One with a mystery rich backer (who, only weeks ago, revealed himself as Paul Hayward from Northampton).

Jealousy accounts for some of the anti-Crawley brigade, but they should feel a sense of injustice, on form, at at least not being level odds to win this game, rather than clear outsiders.

One fan did note that their 1-0 win over York looked like being a draw, after the Reds were dragged down from previous performance levels. Victory at possibly the poorest Hartlepool side in many years may not set the heart racing and Mark Yates was left frustrated after a 3-1 defeat at Morecambe which he felt was a "nothing in it" game that could have gone either way.

But add in a win over Leyton Orient at home, plus a home victory over the Hatters just three weeks ago and you'd have to give the hosts more respect.

They have experience in Darryl Flahavan, 36, between the sticks now (even if teenager Freddie Woodman was doing well before being recalled by Newcastle) and results have improved after a poor start. They have three straight wins at the Broadfield and a goal difference of 6-3 in that time, plus Rhys Murphy scoring three goals in four games.

John Still's men have also improved after a slow start to the season and do have a strong 18-12 away goals ratio, even if that has only reaped three wins and a draw from seven away. Overall their recent form does not look pretty, with two wins, two draws, two defeats in six.

If Jack Marriott can find his shooting boots or Craig Mackail-Smith discovers his best form, Luton could roar. But as they have lofty ambitions in League Two they could just take their eye off the ball as Crawley aim for another cracking cup run to match the one that led to Old Trafford in 2011.

Recommended Bet
Back Crawley @ 3.185/40

Plymouth 1.845/6 v Carlisle 4.67/2; the draw 3.711/4

Carlisle lost 4-1 at Plymouth on a Tuesday night in August and Keith Curle wasn't too pleased about a long midweek trip. But clearly his aversion to long midweek trips were motivation for his troops, who went on to win at QPR and draw at Liverpool (in the League Cup), win at Leyton Orient and at least scores twice in defeat at Northampton the other week.

The manager believes his side could go for promotion this season on the back of some fine results. They also can use the carrot of revenge, of setting the record straight, here. The Cumbrians don't seem to be missing Jabo Ibehre and showed their mettle by coming back from 2-0 down against Yeovil to win 3-2, centre-back Michael Raynes scoring the first and last.

Plymouth are looking like genuine title contenders - a five point lead at the top in November has not always been such an indication - with a strong forward line in Jake Jervis and Reuben Reid and, to quote his manager Derek Adams, the division's best player in Graham Carey. Each of the three have six goals.

I've just got a feeling that Carlisle will have great pleasure in ensuring the hosts have an off day and either winning or dragging back the Pilgrims to Brunton Park for a replay. It would be ironic payback for all their own long midweek trips.

Recommended Bet
Lay Plymouth @ 1.845/6

Dagenham 2.89/5 v Morecambe 2.77/4; the draw 3.55/2

Morecambe's away form has been excellent, with only an opening day defeat to Hartlepool and loss at Plymouth last weekend to blot their copybook.

The fact that they also lost at home, a week before Plymouth, to Leyton Orient - something of a surprise given the visitors' indifferent form of one win in nine going into the game - will not bother Jim Bentley. He knows that Plymouth are a side that his cannot match. He also knows that his strikers were in cracking form at AFC Wimbledon, where they converted five of seven shots on target.

Tom Barkhuizen showed no fear against the Pilgrims, where the Shrimps were far from disgraced. A trip to Dagenham will hold no fear for evergreen winger Kevin Ellison and one man finishing off his chances, young Paul Mullin. The away side might well allow themselves a brief thought that promotion might not be their route to glory this season (by a strange twist, these teams face each other at the Globe Arena next week in the league), so why not throw everything at the cup? What have you got to lose in the first round? The Lancastrians seem to play with freedom on their travels, being the division's second highest scorers away.

They will certainly be more confident at Victoria Road than their hosts, who have yet to win there and need to start showing manager Wayne Burnett that they can pull away from the relegation zone. The cup, to that extent, is either a distraction or a chance to win and build confidence. Perhaps Kane Ferdinand, Matt McClure or Jamie Cureton can conjure something, but their opponents have the confidence to force the win.

Recommended Bet
Back Morecambe @ 2.77/4

Accrington 1.824/5 v York 5.04/1; the draw 3.86

New boss Jackie McNamara says his "first priority" as York manager is to win on Saturday. Fighting talk, especially when you are playing Accrington.

If it surprises you to find 'Accrington' at the end of that sentence, then you've clearly missed Stanley's march to fourth place with a +7 goal difference.

Yes, the team whom everybody likes to think of as underdogs, the worst supported in the league, are therefore over-achieving massively in their division under canny boss John Coleman - and good luck to them.

They have scored an average two goals per game at home (16) and conceded 13, so the team who have always liked to draw these past three seasons should be given a squeak. Vadaine Oliver, Michael Coulson and co need to impress their new boss, who helped Dundee United to fourth and fifth in the Scottish Premiership in the last two seasons.

He might not be able to perform miracles against the combined threats of Billy Kee, Josh Windass and Sean McConville in his first game, with a draw a decent outcome and the home lay recommended just in case.

Recommended Bet:
Lay Accrington @ 1.824/5

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