FA Cup fourth round betting: The favorites parlay that is too good to miss

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February 2nd, 2022

The beauty of the FA Cup is that because there is a draw after each round and no seeds, we are often treated to some absolutely thrilling clashes. It gives us underdog stories, all-Premier League heavyweight matchups, and occasionally, like this weekend, we get the perfect betting slate.

The Premier League’s top five teams have all been drawn against lower league opposition, and to make it even better, four of them have home advantage. They make up a parlay that comes to +125, which looks rock solid, given the gulf in class between the teams.

Manchester United (-315) vs. Middlesbrough

Manchester United might have their own problems to deal with, but despite the turmoil they are still in the hunt for a top-four spot and 22 places ahead of Middlesbrough in the pyramid of English soccer.

Boro themselves are chasing a playoff spot in the Championship, but they shouldn’t trouble the Red Devils. Their record on the road this season reads 4-5-4 and they’ve scored an average of just 0.85 goals per game away from home in the Championship.

These sides have met 13 times in the past 16 years, and United’s record is 8-0-5. It’s been 12 years since Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by a team in a lower division, so despite the issues at the club, this should be another safe passage through.

Chelsea (-2000) vs. Plymouth Argyle

Chelsea may have lost ground on Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title, but Thomas Tuchel’s side remain one of the top flight’s best teams. Plymouth Argyle are in the battle for a playoff place in League One, a mighty 49 places below the Blues.

The Pilgrims may have the fourth-best away record in League One, but they’ve only won two of their last seven games on the road in all competitions — throwing away a 3-1 lead with three minutes to go and drawing 3-3 away to Fleetwood Town is a considerably different challenge to traveling to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have only lost once at home in the Premier League this season, and that was a narrow 1-0 defeat to Champions elect Manchester City. Once in the last 13 years have Chelsea been knocked out by a lower league side — throwing away a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to Bradford in 2015 — but you can be sure they won’t let that happen again.

Kidderminster Harriers vs. West Ham (-375)

Kidderminster are only four points off the top of their league, which makes it sound like they’re a team in flying form. They are, of course, but that form is coming in the National League North, which is the sixth tier of English soccer.

The Harriers are a huge 114 places below West Ham, but fans will point to the fact they’ve already knocked out Championship side Reading and are unbeaten in 10 games at home.

David Moyes’ side should be far too strong for Kidderminster and boast an array of international attacking talent. The Hammers have also had the luxury of a two-week winter break, while the Harriers have had to play three games in that time.

If Kidderminster hadn’t made it through the last round, they would’ve spent this weekend traveling to play Spennymoor in front of 1,200 people. In their last game, West Ham were unlucky not to take a point off Manchester United at Old Trafford. That sums up the difference in quality.

Manchester City (-835) vs. Fulham

Two title contenders meet at the Etihad Stadium in this game, with Fulham five points clear at the top of the Championship and on course for a return to the Premier League. Manchester City meanwhile are on a 13-game unbeaten streak and have opened a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Two teams in flying form, but this is likely to be men against boys on Saturday.

City’s record at home this season in all competitions is 13-1-1, and their record against Fulham since the start of the 2009-10 season is 13-0-3. In fact, in the last seven games between these two teams, Manchester City have won all seven, scoring 21 goals and not conceding any.

Since Pep Guardiola took charge of City, he has led them to the FA Cup semi-final in four of his five attempts, winning the entire competition in 2018-19. Fulham, however, have only made it past this stage of the competition once in the last decade.

Liverpool (-715) vs. Cardiff City

Liverpool are the only team left in the Premier League with a realistic chance of stopping Manchester City winning the title, and Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just once in their last 11 games. At Anfield this year, their record reads 11-0-5, which should strike plenty of fear into Championship side Cardiff, who visit Merseyside on Sunday.

The Bluebirds are 38 places below Liverpool in soccer’s pyramid and are in danger of becoming involved in a relegation battle at the bottom of the Championship. They’ve won just four league games on the road this season and have conceded an average of 2.0 goals per game in their away games this season. Music to the ears of Klopp’s side, who have scored an average of 2.5 goals per game at home in the league this year.

This could be another tough afternoon for Cardiff, who have made it past this round of the FA Cup just once in the last 11 years.