Weekend Review: Bookies revel in FA Cup giant killings

Unlikely victories for Crawley Town, Blackpool and Chorley restored the magic of the cup at the cost of accumulator bets

The FA Cup third round played host as Premier League sides were dismantled by lower-league opposition – much to the delight of the layers.

The biggest shock of the round came as League Two side Crawley Town recorded a 3-0 victory over Leeds United, who currently find themselves in 12th place in the Premier League.

Second-half goals from Nick Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnifcliffe sent the Red Devils into the hat for the fourth round for only the third time in the club’s 125-year history.

The West Sussex side even had the luxury of bringing on former The Only Way is Essex star Mark Wright for his professional debut at the age of 33 in stoppage time.

The former radio DJ, who spent time in Tottenham, West Ham and Arsenal’s academies as a youngster, signed a contract with Crawley in December, and his arrival on the pitch rubbed salt into the wounds of Leeds United.

Ladbroke’s Alex Apati told EGR how Crawley’s 3-0 win over Marcelo Bielsa’s men was the definition of a long-shot.

Apati said: “The only way is Cup for Crawley it seems. They were 300/1 pre-kick-off to win 3-0, although traders have confirmed the biggest price anyone caught them at was 45/1 in-play. [Crawley were] 12/1 to win in 90 mins as well, which was well-backed.”

Elsewhere, League One side Blackpool ousted relegation-threatened top-flight team West Brom on penalties, while non-league Chorley eased past a coronavirus-stricken Derby County 2-0.

Betway’s Chad Yeomans said: “There is often a surprise or two in the early rounds of the FA Cup and they often tend to be very good results for us. Chorley beating Derby on Saturday was the biggest shock of the day and then on Sunday, it was undoubtedly Crawley’s dismantling of Leeds.”

Kindred Group’s Ali Gill said: “The early rounds of the FA Cup are usually slightly more layer-friendly than Premier League football, and the weekend was no different.

“With a number of coupon-busting shocks throughout the third round, and often prohibitive odds on top-tier teams putting players off singles anyway, all told things looked pretty good for us come the end of the weekend,” he added.

One storyline that failed to materialise was a potential shock win for Marine, who play in the eighth tier of English football, over Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham.

There were 160 places between the sides in the football pyramid, as the North London side avoided a potential banana skin by easing past the Merseyside outfit 5-0 thanks to a 13-minute hat-trick from Carlos Vinicius.

Apati added: “The majority of handicap bets in the Marine Spurs game were around the -5/-6 mark, so we’re thankful for Vinicius missing that sitter at the end of the game.”

In horseracing, Secret Reprieve, sent off the warm 5/2 favourite for the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow, duly obliged on Saturday to give favourite-backers a much-needed victory, although they were probably a tad concerned to see one of the horse’s girth straps hanging loose after he cleared the last fence.

Gill said: “At Chepstow, in the rearranged Welsh Grand National, the well-backed 5/2 favourite Secret Reprieve ran out a fairly comfortable winner, in one that definitely went the way of the punters.”

It wasn’t a good weekend for Betfred’s Alan Firkins, who told EGR how the bettors took advantage of some “fantastic multiples” to outwit the bookie.

Firkins said: “A 10,419/1 seven-timer courtesy of [trainer] Paul Nicholls is never good news for bookmakers – and for it to occur on the busiest betting day of the week just made matters worse.

“Throw in Daryl Jacob riding five winners at Wincanton at odds of 3,275/1, and plenty of Betfred customers filled their boots with some fantastic multiples,” he added.

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