The first round of the 143rd season of the FA Cup begins this week as 124 teams attempt to be crowned champions of England across all flights of soccer. Manchester City are the defending champions and are picked to win it all again by sportsbooks. However, there are some dark horse candidates who are primed to make a big run. Continue reading to access expert FA Cup predictions and explore the full FA Cup betting odds for 2023-24.
- The Football Association Challenge Cup
- November 4, 2023 to May 25, 2024
- 732 teams across the Football League System and National League System
FA Cup Betting Odds: Who do Sportsbooks Favor?
Manchester City hoisting the FA Cup trophy for a second consecutive time is considered a likely outcome by sportsbooks at a line of (+330). This indicates an implied probability of 23.3%, but this number is sure to rise as the rounds increase, so long as Manchester City remains alive. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool represent the next tier of teams pegged as possible trophy candidates. Bettors can dig as deep as the fourth level of the English Football League system to back clubs like Notts County and Wrexham AFC.
FA Cup Fixtures and Schedule
The six-round qualifying competition began on August 4 to determine which 32 teams, out of the 640 in the National Football System, would earn a ticket to the first round of the FA Cup. These clubs were then drawn randomly with clubs in the EFL League One and Two flights, who were granted immediate entrance to the first round. All the way until the fifth round proper, games are played at the home team’s venue with replays at the other team’s venue if necessary.
Upon the completion of the initial two rounds, the 20 remaining clubs join the 44 clubs in the top two flights of English soccer, the Premier League and the EFL Championship. From that point, the 64 teams compete from January to April, round by round, until only 4 teams remain. These elite clubs then play the remaining ties at Wembley Stadium, considered the home of English soccer.
Replays, now limited to only the first through fourth rounds proper, have become a famous part of the FA Cup, with many memorable moments occurring in the second game of a tie. If a replay is still undecided after 30 minutes of extra time, the clubs are then instructed to take penalty kick shootout to determine who will advance in the tournament. Winners of the FA Cup Final are given automatic qualification for the Europa League as well as a place in next season’s Community Shield.
FA Cup Predictions
Man City is the biggest favorite to win the FA Cup, so causes for concern regarding potential lack of value are warranted. While the club is expected to compete well into the latter stages of the season, the FA Cup is a very volatile stage and one bad night could boot you out for good. However, the Citizens do have 7 titles to their name and are coming off a victory last year over Manchester United.
Arsenal is the most successful FA Cup club in history, winning a record 14 titles, including a win in 2020. The Gunners have looked great this season, currently sitting in second in the Premier League. They have shown their teeth in the European stage as well, currently sitting atop their Champions League group.
Can Chelsea and Tottenham End Their FA Cup Waits?
The Chelsea name has been synonymous with FA Cup Finals recently, as the club managed to make it to the final stage in three straight years from 2020 to 2022. Unfortunately, the Blues lost all 3, and have lost as many finals as they have won (8) in their history. It appears their possession-heavy game suits itself well to the tournament format. However, their failure to get the job done, as well as a poor stretch to begin this Premier League campaign, are reasons to steer away from wagering on them outright.
Tottenham have also won 8 FA Cup titles, but their last win was over 30 years ago. The club has seen a resurgence under new manager Ange Postecoglou, as they are unbeaten to start the year.
A potential obstacle to FA Cup success is actually their run of good form in the top flight. If this team is to seriously compete for a Premier League title, they may rest key players in midweek FA Cup affairs to keep them fresh for more important EPL matches. This makes the Spurs more liable to an early exit despite their strong performances.
Which Underdogs Should You Bet On?
For these clubs, there is perceived value to win it all. However, since the odds are low and there are still so many variables yet to reveal themselves, it is best to play these conservatively. A very small portion of your typical betting stake will still return a great payout in the event of a successful proposition.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton, the young starlets of the Premier League, have made it to Wembley twice in the last five seasons of the FA Cup. Now boasting a talent-rich squad led by the newly-acquired Ansu Fati, Brighton can make a serious case for an FA Cup title. Additionally, success in the FA Cup will be more appreciated by the Seagulls than other top clubs with bigger aspirations.
From a soccer standpoint, it is hard to see a club currently in the relegation zone to make a deep run in the FA Cup. But when looking at Burnley from a betting perspective, there are some things to like.
Burnley are priced at (+7500) at XBet, a number considerably better than the (+4000) offered by Bovada. Perhaps Bovada sees something in Burnley other sportsbooks have not, and bettors can pounce on a great line. Additionally, Burnley is still a top-flight club with a lot to prove. Who knows where a favorable schedule could take them?
Odds are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.
Top Sportsbooks for FA Cup Betting Odds
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