Football Tips: Paddy’s top traders pick their punts in our bumper weekend Cheat Sheet

Our top trio have been crunching the stats to find the best value bets around.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Paddy’s top number crunchers have put their heads together once again to bring you the best bets around this weekend.

There may be no Premier League action for our team of Emmet O’Keeffe, Jason Murphy and Brian McDonnell to sink their teeth into, but that’s not held them up in their persuit of the top tips across Europe.


We’re getting stuck into the FA Cup fourth-round with Man City v Fulham, Stoke v Wigan and Huddersfield v Barnsley all on the agenda in Saturday’s 3pm kick-offs – plus a crafty selection from Jason for an outright winner for the whole thing.

Next, it’s to the Milan derby on Saturday as Inter host AC at the San Siro (5pm) before attention turns to this weekend’s Trader Bet Builder which comes from Sunday’s TV game where Nottingham Forest host Leicester in a 4.30pm start.

Let’s get down to business!

Emmet O'Keeffe

Jason Murphy

Brian McDonnell

Emmet O'Keeffe

Inter Milan v AC Milan: Inter to win

Inter look an appealing price to take a another step towards Serie A glory by defeating their city rivals. Based on the season statistics, Inter are a level above Stefano Pioli’s side with the gap in xG far more significant than the four point gap in the league standings might suggest.

Added to that, AC will surely miss former Chelsea youth product Fikayo Tomori who will be absent through injury given their rivals’ potent strike partnership of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez.

Inter’s defence has a far more solid look to it with a settled back three of Stefan De Vrij, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni and should help the Nerazzurri edge one of the more significant Milan derbies of recent years.

Jason Murphy

Stoke v Wigan: Wigan Double Chance (Win or Draw)

I looked at all FA Cup 3rd, 4th and 5th round matches since 2016 to gauge the difference ratings between the leagues. An average Premier League team goes off 1.1 goal supremacy better (8/13) vs an average Championship side.

An average Championship side only goes off 0.32 goals supremacy better (5/4) vs a League One side. The gap between League One and Championship is much smaller than between Championship and the Premier League.

It is a small sample size of only 360 games or so but based on this, given Stoke (Championship) have home advantage their supremacy would be 0.50 this weekend against Wigan (League One). That means Stoke should be 11/10 to win whereas Wigan draw double chance would be 10/11.

However, Wigan are better than an average League One side and therefore the gap to between them and Stoke is smaller, and the 10/11 double chance should be smaller too. It is a one of the better value bets in the FA Cup this weekend that I would be happy to put in my ACCAs.

Brian McDonnell

Huddersfield v Barnsley: Huddersfield to Win

Huddersfield have been very impressive this season and an unbeaten run stretching back to November has them in the play-off places in the Championship.

The Terriers were full value for their third round win away at a full-strength Burnley and will be confident of progressing to the fifth round for the first time in five years against a Barnsley team rooted to the foot of the Championship and beset by injuries.

Emmet O'Keeffe

Man City v Fulham: Over 5.5 Goals

While Fulham didn’t provide us with the high scoring game predicted for this column last week, I am happy to go back to the well in a match that could deliver a scoreline more commonly seen at Roland Garros or Wimbledon.

Fulham are by far the highest scoring team in the Championship, and I would expect Marco Silva’s men to go on the attack in what is effectively a free hit away to the Premier League champions.

This should lead to a more open game than City typically see in the Premier League and could lead to a 5-1 or 6-1 shellacking for Fulham, but most importantly will see us cash in a winning bet.

Jason Murphy

Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup (each-way)

Since the Premier League began, the “traditional big six” teams have won 24 of the 28 FA Cup finals between them (although Tottenham contributed zero to the total). It is rare to see a team outside the ‘Top Six’ triumph in the Wembley final. To be honest, given the quality and squad size of the top three this season, Man City (5/2), Chelsea (5/1) and Liverpool (5/1) are value at the current prices.

However, we all love a dark horse and something at a bigger price, so I’d be saddling with Crystal Palace each-way. They tick a lot of boxes: unlikely to be involved in fight in the league to stay up or in European places so can prioritise the cup, and are 95% certain to come through this round (sorry Hartlepool). Therefore, you would be on a long-odds shot in the Last 16.

You would obviously hope for a nice draw but if they did get one of the big three before the Wembley final, then they will at least put up a fight and give you a run for your money (Liverpool’s recent visit to Selhurst Park a case in point).

Brian McDonnell

Southampton v Coventry: Coventry to Qualify

One tie that has the potential for an upset is Coventry to beat Southampton.

The Saints needed extra time in the previous round to get past Swansea and have been very hard to judge this season. They’ve only won fivr league games and with 11 draws it could be worth having a go on Coventry to qualify at greater than 3/1.

Emmet O'Keeffe

Nottingham Forest to have 4+ Shots on Target

We’ll keep this one simple! Only Burnley conceding more shots per game than Leicester in the Premier League this season, while Forest have made steady progress under former Swansea manager Steve Cooper this season and sit on the fringes of Playoff contention in the Championship and have enough quality to keep it competitive against flaky opposition.

Jason Murphy

Over 2.5 Goals

Arsenal went off about 1/2 at the City Ground in the last round. Although they lost, the current price of Leicester at odds-against at the same venue sounds big in comparison. Accounting for differences in ratings between Premier League and Championship sides, I reckon Leicester would be an 8/11 price if – and this is the BIG IF – if they were full strength. They will not be.

So, it comes down to team news. Short and long-term absences include Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne, Jamie Vardy, Ricardo Pereira, Wesley Fofana and players coming back from AFCON. Looking at the starting XIs Leicester had recently against Brighton and Spurs, I think the odds-against on Leicester is a fair bet, but I’d rather be on the over 2.5 goals, especially given the known absences at the back for Leicester.

Similar to Emmet’s thinking, Leicester matches have averaged 3.6 goals per game in the league this season with over 2.5 goals clicking in 14 of their 20 games. For a fun Bet Builder, I rather be cheering on the attackers at both ends for this game.

Brian McDonnell

Patson Daka to score anytime

Daka has been in fine form for Leicester since being brought in to start in the absence of Jamie Vardy. The Zambian forward has begun to show the sort of form that saw him score 51 goals in 59 games for Salzburg over the past two seasons. He’s scored four times and assisted twice in his last four starts for the Foxes.

Despite only being a bit-part player at the start of his Leicester career, he’s notched up 10 goals in all competitions, and I think can go on and double that tally before May. That starts at The City Ground this Sunday.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.


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