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Preston North End v Arsenal: your best bets

07:15 05 January 2017

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

EMPICS Sport

It may have lost some of its sheen, partly as a result of being spread over three days instead of taking place on one gloriously unpredictable Saturday, but the FA Cup third round has still retained a sizeable quota of its magic.

This weekend Stourbridge, Barrow, Sutton, Eastleigh and Lincoln each have an opportunity to create sporting history by knocking out teams that lie several divisions above them in football’s pyramid. Team talks reminding the underdogs that it’s ‘11 versus 11’ will echo throughout the nation’s dressing rooms.

From a punter’s perspective, however, it has become increasingly easy to predict who will win the competition: four teams have won 21 of the 25 finals contested since 1992 – a success ratio of 84 per cent between them.

Backing Chelsea (11/2, bet365) or Arsenal (8/1, Unibet) over this period would have provided punters with a better-than-evens chance of success. Add Manchester United (8/1, BetVictor.com) and Liverpool (13/2, Skybet) into the mix and almost all bases are covered.

According to the match stats team at bettingexpert.com, Arsenal’s odds could shorten significantly following Saturday’s tie against Preston at Deepdale, so it might be worth backing them at the outset.

The Gunners are 2/5 (Betway) to ease through to the fourth round at the first time of asking, whereas the home side are quoted at 8/1 (Winner.com) to cause what bookies feel is an unlikely upset.

According to Paddy Power, Arsenal are 7/5 to win without conceding, while Ladbrokes chalk 7/4 against Alexis Sanchez scoring the game’s final goal.

Elsewhere, the draw (17/4, William Hill) has found favour among those not expecting to see full-strength line-ups – a view which adds appeal to bet365’s 11/1 posted against it finishing one apiece.

However, 888sport’s 6/1 odds for it to finish 2-0 to Arsenal is the correct score market’s most-backed outcome.

Odds courtesy of customisable odds comparison site SmartBets.com. Make sure you’re getting the best free tips online at www.bettingexpert.com.

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