Below is Gerry's FA Cup betting preview for the weekend Sat 13th May 2006.
The views expressed are solely those of the author.
In the majority of cases, there is no truth in a supposed national stereotype. The Germans are not all methodical robots; the French are not all obnoxious and the Americans are certainly not all overweight, self important, unintelligent, tambourine banging losers who youd rather cross the street from rather than risk the possibility of any form of social interaction. However, theres a certain amount of truth in the stereotype surrounding the typical Brit, its believed that the Englishman will always support the underdog, and true to form, Im tipping the Hammers to nail the Reds in the FA Cup final.
Its not an inherited irrational dislike of the favourite that points me towards West Ham, in fact I have no real empathy with the outsider; I once found myself in the position of an underdog, nine months later, I had to marry her, so its a particularly painful memory. Its simply value for money that makes the Hammers such an excellent investment at Betfairs 3/1 to lift the trophy. West Ham are trading at 11/2 with the same exchange to win the match in 90 minutes, and thats so close to irresistible its almost whispering seductively.
Theres no doubting the fact that the Pool are worthy favourites, Steven Gerrard is a genuine world class operator plucked directly out of the top drawer, but if you put Gerrard to one side, the difference between the two teams is minimal. In fact, there is an argument that would suggest that West Hams forward line is stronger than Liverpools; and being an argumentative so and so, I subscribe to that point of view. Stan James have priced Marlon Harewood up at 9/1 to bag the opener and thats worth a little play.
Anton Ferdinand has been a revelation this season, some might say hes outperformed his older, more forgetful sibling. Another cracker from the Ferd should be enough to quell the mediocre Liverpool attack (Fowlers Cup-tied); a Hammers clean sheet is available at 7/2 with Betfred; while a win coupled with a clean sheet appeals at the 17/2 on offer from Boylesports.
Marriage is the fastest route to the poor house, but correct score betting in competitive matches runs it pretty close. As its a special occasion, Paddy Powers offer of 12/1 about a 1-0 win for the Hammers is a tentative pick. Ive made no secret of my admiration for Yossi Benayoun; the Israeli playmaker has been one of the players of the season. Ive miraculously managed to hide a couple of quid from the evil one; Ill be backing Yossi to be the man of the match at 20/1 with Bet Direct.
Super Soccer have knocked up a few big match specials:
Red red whine - Liverpool to have a player sent off 9/1
A Hammer blow - West Ham to have a player sent off 9/1
A Re-Pete - Crouch to score two or more goals 7/1
The Hare's running - Harewood to score two or more goals 9/1
Stevie wonder - Gerrard to score from outside the area 11/2
Fletcher scores in strange ways - Carl Fletcher to score from outside the area 25/1
Never trust a Hyypi - Sami Hyypia to be booked 11/4
Anton deck - Ferdinand to be booked 7/4
A slippery Pool side - Liverpool to win in extra time 6/1
Hammer bothered - West Ham to win in extra time 14/1
They've nicked it - Liverpool to win on penalties 14/1
Carroll smiley - West Ham to win on penalties 14/1
To win the Cup
Liverpool 1/3 Super Soccer
West Ham 3/1 Betfair
90 minutes betting
Liverpool 4/6 Super Soccer
Draw 3/1 Premier Bet
West Ham 11/2 Betfair
Theres also a Cup final in Scotland, back Hearts at 4/9 with Ladbrokes.