Who doesn’t love a cup upset (cupset?)? Normally, we’d have visions of one of English football’s big fish being toppled by a minnow, as has happened on countless occasions in the past. The FA Cup first round offers some similar opportunities for the small fry to have their day in the sun, with both League 1 and 2 sides entering at this point in the draw.
It has led to some intriguing ties, and punters are advised that a few outstanding giant-killing possibilities at long prices exist:
Boreham Wood vs Blackpool (Saturday 4th November, 3pm)
The hosts are going along quite nicely at the moment, and they sit just one point off the play-off places after embarking on a run of six unbeaten.
There are some really nice converging numbers here for Boreham Wood: they have scored at least once in 15/18 league matches this term, and they have only conceded two or more in one of their last seven outings. Fans of cup giant-killings: prepare yourselves.
Blackpool have won just 1/8 on the road this term, and have only won one of their last seven either at home or away.
The Tangerines are a club that tends to ricochet from disaster to disaster, and at 5/2 there is certainly plenty of yardage in backing Boreham Wood to clinch the upset.
Carlisle United vs Oldham Athletic (Saturday 4th November, 3pm)
Would Oldham beating Carlisle be considered a giant-killing? Of course not; the Latics can be found in a division higher than the Cumbrians. But nobody seems to have told the bookmakers!
Oldham are available at odds of nearly 2/1 here, and that’s surprising given that they averaging two points per game under new boss Richie Wellens – a ratio that would put them third in the table at the 16-game mark.
The Latics have beaten the likes of Peterborough, Portsmouth and Blackburn of late, and consequently they should be too good for a Carlisle side that has won just once at Brunton Park in eight attempts this term.
Luton Town vs Portsmouth (Saturday 4th November, 3pm)
Luton reside a division below Portsmouth in the Football League, and yet if the Hatters were to beat Pompey here you suspect not many pundits would raise an eyebrow.
That’s because Luton have been in extraordinary form at Kenilworth Road this season, winning six of their eight matches and bludgeoning a sizeable 24 goals.
By contrast, these are not the best of times for Portsmouth, who have lost three games on the spin and scored just one goal in the process.
They’ve also lost four of their last five on the road, conceding ten, and so at odds of 6/4 Luton will appeal to plenty.
Dartford vs Swindon Town (Sunday 5th November, 2pm)
Now here is the archetypal giant-killing, with sixth-tier Dartford welcoming Swindon Town on Sunday.
The Darts top the National League South and possess real goal power: they average more than two per game this term and have netted 12 times in their last four home outings.
That makes them a particularly dangerous opponent for Swindon, who are going well in League 2 but who must be focusing their efforts on an immediate return to League 1, rather than a lengthy cup run.
The Robins are a handy side, but at odds of 5/2 we have to think that Dartford will give us a good run for our money at their home fortress.
Woking vs Bury (Sunday 5th November, 2pm)
Bury are in a really tough place at the moment. After last season’s off-the-field shenanigans that saw players regularly go unpaid, the Shakers have struggled on the pitch this term having lost five of their last six league outings.
Ryan Lowe has been placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Lee Clark, and the inexperienced manager must galvanise his troops – and fast – or face a rather miserable winter.
They certainly won’t relish a trip to Woking, who may have lost their last three outings but still possess a fine record of six wins in nine on home soil. They have two or more goals in each of those, and that propensity for putting the ball in the net appeals against a shaky Shakers backline – as does their lofty odds to win of 10/3.