Sports Betting Weekly

Arsenal v Middlesbrough

When: Sunday, 15 February 2015 @ 22:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Emirates Stadium
Having recorded a coupon-busting win over Manchester City in the previous round of games, Middlesbrough’s reward for their famous giant-killing is being given the chance to do it all over again as they travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal in Sunday’s late kick-off.

While many teams from a lower division would bemoan their luck in having to face two of the Premier League’s heavyweights in consecutive rounds, there can be no doubt that Aitor Karanka’s men will instead be relishing the chance to test themselves against top flight opposition once more.

Indeed, although the Championship leaders are currently priced as 13/2 outsiders for the game, as we saw in the fourth round it would be foolish to write off Middlesbrough; and 1/2 favourites Arsenal will need to approach the tie with caution if they don’t want to fall victim to another upset.

At odds that short, there really is no value to be had in backing the home side to beat a team who have won their last six games in all competitions and are currently unbeaten in 10 in total, so you will need to find other betting avenues to explore in order to get the most from your money.

Right off the bat, combining an Arsenal win with both teams to score can instantly improve your odds to 2/1 – or 12/1 if you back the visitors in the same market – while with 10 strikes in their last three home games, backing an Arsenal win and over 2.5 goals comes in at 11/10, with victory for the Gunners and over 3.5 goals available at a much longer 12/5.

Also offering some value for Sunday’s game are the first and anytime goalscorer markets, where if you look beyond the usual suspects, there are some very generously priced alternatives. Leading the way in that field is Arsenal’s German midfielder, Mesut Ozil, who has scored three times in his last four appearances and is 9/1 to open the scoring against Middlesbrough or 11/4 to score at any time.

Beyond him, Theo Walcott is 5/1 to find the net first and has shown the type of clinical finishing in his last few games that suggests he’s rapidly returning to his best form, while you can also get the same price on Danny Welbeck, who may well be playing in the centre-forward position if he again gets the nod over Olivier Giroud – who despite being in good form, looks a little short at 3/1.

For the visitors, meanwhile, Enrique Garcia Martinez (widely known as “Kike”) and Patrick Bamford are the joint favourites at 12/1, but with 12 league goals to his credit and penalty duties in his locker, Grant Leadbitter looks to offer the outstanding value at 20/1 to score first or 6/1 to score anytime.