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Peterborough v Manchester City
For the third time already in this competition, Man City get drawn against lower league opposition, with each of the previous two round seeing them run out 4-1 winners over Swindon and Fulham. It’s near impossible to envisage anything other than an away win here, though we’re sur ethe Peterborough home support will be in full voice as their side take on one of the best sides in Europe.
City have now won 11 FA Cup meetings on the bounce against lower league sides, with their shock 1-0 defeat to Wigan four years ago the only such defeat in the Guardiola reign so far. While nine of those 11 victories came by at least two goals, a weakened line up has also meant that they’re slightly more vulnerable at the back as they’ve conceded in each of their last four such outings.
Home wins over Bristol Rovers and QPR have got Peterborough to this stage, though those are their only wins across all competitions since mid-December, losing nine of 11 winless Championship matches around those clashes. They’ve managed just one goal in their last seven league outings now, so even if City do have a susceptibility at the back in the cup, we’d be surprised if their hosts found the net and the handicap looks the way to go.
MAN CITY -2 HANDICAP
Crystal Palace v Stoke
It’s been a positive season so far for Patrick Viera and Crystal Palace, with good foundations on which to build in the coming years, though progression here would give them hope of a rare piece of Silverware. That’ll be easier said than done against a tricky Stoke side, especially when considering that the London side’s only home win in 2022 has come against League Two Hartlepool.
Stoke have now lost back-to-back matches as their already slim hopes of a play-off spot are slipping away, leaving them destined for mid-table mediocrity this term. What can be said of Michael O’Neill’s side is that they rarely get taken to the cleaners, with their only defeat by more than a single strike coming against Fulham back in August.
This is certainly a game where an upset is on the cards, and the visitors look worth siding with on the handicap at least. They’ve also netted in 12 of their last 13 outings across all competitions, and we’ll back both sides to find the net here.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
STOKE +1.5 HANDICAP
Middlesbrough v Tottenham
A convincing win over Leeds at the weekend has lifted spirits around the Spurs camp for the time being, although their opponents that day have been leaking goals consistently for a while now and anything other than a win would have dampened the mood even more. This is very much a potential banana skin for Antonio Conte’s side and exiting the cup here will bring up a lot of questions over the Italian’s future.
Boro’s priority this season is undoubtedly reaching the playoff spots that they sit just two places outside at the moment. They’ve been on a really good run of form since the turn of the year, though two defeats in three now has just rocked them slightly.
Defeat here will be the first time they’ve lost successive outings since the beginning of November, which was also the last time they lost by more than a single goal, showing they’re certainly not going to roll over here. Spurs haven’t been exceptional on the road under Conte, winning just four of their 10 matches, though all four did come in the most recent seven of those, including wins over Man City and Leicester.
Their 4-0 dismantling of Leeds was expected, though was their first win on the road by more than a strike this season, and Boro will be determined to keep this one tight against what will likely be a much changed visiting side.
MIDDLESBROUGH +1.5 HANDICAP
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