The F A Cup quarter final draw has been made, and there is some interesting value in the market

Recommendation Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup 8-1 each way William Hill

Back in January before the 3rd round  I wrote a preview of the 2016 F A Cup which highlighted Watford at 70-1 as one of two selections. Last weekend the fifth round ties were played (they conclude tonight with Shrewsbury against Manchester United) and after beating Leeds United, Watford have reached the last eight.

The draw is as follows:

Reading v Crystal Palace
Everton v Chelsea
Arsenal/Hull v Watford
Shrewsbury/Man Utd v West Ham

The ties take place over the weekend of 12th-13th March.

The immediate point to note is that for our Watford bet the draw has not been kind, likely away to double champions Arsenal if they win their replay against Hull City.

What may work in the favour of sides like Watford and Crystal Palace is that they are not fighting on other fronts which has enabled them so far to pick strong teams in a tournament where major teams are heavily rotating players such as Manchester City last weekend. The Arsenal/Hull game saw 18 team changes from the two teams combined compared to their least league games.

Once again this is threatening the FA Cup’s status as a major competition, marginalised in an era where the Premier League and Champions league offer such financial rewards that the importance of the FA Cup is minimal in comparison. Much of this is down to the FA itself who have tinkered incessantly with schedules, draws and venues.

The sides that stand the best chance are those unlikely to make the top six and unlikely to be relegated. It’s no surprise that several of the sides in the last 8 fall into that category. Everton, Watford, Crystal Palace are the most clear examples. Three of the Premier League’s top 4 sides out of the competition, and all rotated heavily in the Cup with weakened sides.

By the time the quarter finals come around, the potential Arsenal v Watford tie will fall three days before the hosts trip to the Nou Camp and three days after PSG visit Chelsea, both games likely to take priority in team selection and rotation.

So when we look at the current odds for the tournament, written before the Manchester United tie and replays we see:

(prices from William Hill)

Chelsea 3/1

Arsenal 7/2

Manchester United 9/2

Crystal Palace 8/1

Everton 8/1

West Ham 10/1

Watford 20/1

66/1 Bar

The value has to be outside the first three names in the market. Everton have to play Chelsea. West Ham most likely Manchester United, which leaves Crystal Palace and Watford

We have a position on Watford, but the kindest draw for the quarters, and the fewest other priorities in the remainder lies with Crystal Palace, who I think should be backed at 8-1 each way

Each way terms are one-third the odds for reaching the final

Recommendation Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup 8-1 each way William Hill