The so-called “gulf” between teams from Premiership and those striving to join the elite from the Championship is often noted, especially when teams from their respective divisions clash in Cup competitions.
However, this “gulf” may be nothing more than a fallacy. When the third round of the FA Cup comes around, Championship teams rewarded with a home tie against Premiership opposition often make a mockery of their respective league positions.
Clashes of this nature have not occurred very often during the third round in recent years, although last season, eight matches fell into this category, with the “superior” Premiership teams winning just twice.
Preston @ 2.47 vs West Brom @ 2.56. Result: 0-2
Sunderland @ 2.20 vs Crystal Palace @ 2.86. Result: 2-1
Watford @ 3.11 vs Fulham @ 2.08. Result: 1-1
West Ham @ 2.32 vs Norwich @ 2.72. Result: 1-0
Sheff Utd @ 3.07 vs Aston Villa @ 2.12 Result: 3-1
Cardiff @ 3.45 vs Blackburn @ 1.95. Result: 1-1
Ipswich @ 2.48 vs Bolton @ 2.56. Result: 1-3
Burnley @ 5.69 vs Liverpool @ 1.53. Result: 1-0
If you had backed the home teams at level stakes of £10 you would have made a profit of £52.80. If you had used a betting exchange and laid the Premiership sides with a liability of £10 on each bet, you would have made a profit of £68.76 before commission costs as the draw results would have also resulted in winning bets.
The 2003/04 season produced only two eligible matches in the third round, both of which saw the Premiership sides fail to beat their lower division opposition at the first time of asking.
Watford @ 7.02 vs Chelsea @ 1.40. Result: 2-2
Gillingham @ 3.69 vs Charlton @ 1.86. Result: 3-2
If you had backed the home teams at level stakes of £10 you would have made a profit of £16.90. However, if you had laid the Premiership sides with a liability of £10 on each bet you would have made a profit of £36.63 before commission.
There was only one eligible match in the 2002/03 season which pitted a Championship side at home to Premiership opposition. Wolves beat even money shots Newcastle 3-2 at odds of 3.44.
Unusually, there are no all-Premiership ties in this season’s third round of the FA Cup, but eight Championship sides are hosting Premiership opposition:
Leicester @ 5.50 vs Tottenham @ 1.57
Hull @ 3.60 vs Aston Villa @ 1.90
Ipswich @ 3.20 vs Portsmouth @ 2.10
Luton @ 7.00 vs Liverpool @ 1.40
Millwall @ 4.00 vs Everton @ 1.80
Norwich @ 2.75 vs West Ham @ 2.30
Sheffield Wednesday @ 4.00 vs Charlton @ 1.80
Watford @ 3.40 vs Bolton @ 2.00
All bar one of the Championship sides are available at odds greater than 2/1, although it may prove a better option to lay the Premiership teams in case of drawn matches.