FA Cup Betting: Stats point to Chelsea champions
Contrary to popular wisdom, the value option in the FA Cup Final is to go for the 90-minute result.
After pouring through a plethora of data ahead of the FA Cup final, Magic Matthew Walton fancies a Chelsea win in a low-scoring encounter.
Although FA Cup finals between two big clubs are sadly short in romance they are, thankfully for us punters, long on form.
And so as much as we might like a footballing David to be present at Wembley this coming Saturday, we should be happy to make do with this battle between two Goliaths instead.
Chelsea and Liverpool bring with them a huge amount of data, spread over a number of years, and in a variety of competitions, which allows us to study the Cup Final, and its multiple markets, in great detail.
And that should enable us to strike some good bets at good value prices.
Liverpool have played in 13 FA Cup Finals (W7 L6) whilst Chelsea have made the season's traditional end game 10 times (W6 L4).
Those statistics date back to the dawn of footballing civilisation so a more accurate guide should be taken from Chelsea's five appearances since 2000 (W4 L1) and Liverpool's two recent finals (W2 L0).
As we can see, these are two sides who tend to make the most of the big occasion!
Rather annoyingly, however, for teams who have regularly competed at the business end of the competition, they have never before met in the final.
And even meetings in earlier rounds are sporadic, at best.
The last time they faced off was in the 2006 semi-final at Old Trafford (Liverpool winning 2-1), prior to that it's a fourth round tie at Stamford Bridge in 1997 (Chelsea prevailing 4-2) and going even further back another R4 clash at the Bridge in 1986 (Liverpool coming through 2-1).
Clichéd commentators will tell you that each time the winner of this match went on to lift the trophy (and, guess what, this will happen again this year!) but other than that, what significance we can place on these previous meetings is highly debatable.
Better to work on the more pertinent facts that Chelsea have better recent cup form and better recent league form. They also shade the verdict, but only just, on meetings in all competitions since 2003 (i.e. the Abramovich years) by virtue of winning 14 times to Liverpool's 13 victories, along with 7 draws.
Of course, you will note these prices are for the 90-minute market.
Why not, you might think, adopt a more inclusive (albeit more cautious) strategy and play in the outright winner market. Cover off the possibility of a win in extra-time or by way of a penalty shoot-out.
No, the reason to choose the 90-minute market is clear.
In the last ten Cup Finals the result ratio is 90 minute (7), extra-time (1), penalties (2).
And of more interest, in the last 20 finals played since 1991/92 the trophy winner has been determined no fewer than 16 times in normal play (including a run of 11 straight years 1994-2004).
Contrary to popular wisdom, the value option in the FA Cup Final is to go for the 90-minute result. Back the outcome to be settled in regulation time.
However, slightly more in tune with common football knowledge is that finals do tend to be close-run affairs.
The last 20 deciders have generally been settled by a single goal (11 times) or two goals (five times) and in 16 of those finals at least one side has failed to score. A good illustration of which is that four of the last five renewals have been settled by a 1-0 scoreline.
It's also little surprise then to find Under 2.5 Goals (15) hugely outnumbering Over 2.5 Goals (5) during the last two decades.
Statistical evidence, it seems, which doesn't promise to make the Wembley showpiece much of an event. That said, such a lack of spectacle could be offset by a strong body of evidence which can at least turn it into a money-making exercise.
An ample compromise, I'm sure you'd agree.
During the last 20 years, the 90-minute correct score market shows 1-0 (7) and 2-0 (5) as the most frequent results. Only twice (1994 & 2004) has the cup been won by three goals or more.