William Hill Scottish Cup - 3rd Round Preview
The Third Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup takes place this Saturday. This is the final round before the Premier Division sides are thrown in.
The First and Second Division sides have been entered into this round and for non-league Irvine Meadow this means a visit from First Division side Livingston. However Spartans were thrown out of the Cup after fielding an ineligible player, they have been replaced by Cutler who host Partick Thistle. As the race to Hampden hots up, so do the range of markets we are now offering.
Cutler v Partick Thistle
The home side were not only handed a reprieve, but a chance to take a big scalp as First Divison side Partick Thistle travel to Crombie Park. Culter were beaten 2-0 by Spartans in the previous round, but after their opponents were dumped out they were re-instated and they are 9/1 to cause a shock and win. Thistle come into this game on the back of a 0-0 draw away to Queen of the South and they may be struggling in the First Division, but this will offer them a chance to throw off the pressure of League Football. The visitors are understandably short at 1/6, but at 4/5, backing Partick to win both halves might be the bet.
Boness Utd v Cowdenbeath
Junior side Boness have been paired against Cowdenbeath at home in what will be a massive chance for them to claim a scalp. The East Junior Champions are a big price at 4/1 to beat Division Two leaders Cowdenbeath who look quite tempting at 1/2. Cowdenbeath's away form in the league is the reason they haven't really pulled away, they have been beaten twice on the road with two draws. They have won six out of six at home. I think this will be a tight game, but the visitors should take it and at 11/4 I'd bet they only win by one goal.
Irvine Meadow v Livingston
West Junior Champions Irvine Meadow will welcome Livingston to Meadow Park as they look to cause what would be the upset of the day. Irvine Meadow scraped into the Third Round after a narrow 1-0 win away to Edinburgh City, but Livingston will be a tougher test. The home side are a massive 7/1 to cause a shock and win but at 2/7 it's hard to see past the visitors. Livingston are currently third in the First Division, but nine points off the top. I can see Irvine looking for pride here more than anything and will be tight at the start, the Double Result of Draw/Livingston at 10/3 is worth a punt.
Auchinleck Talbot v Vale of Leithen
This tie guarantees that there will be a non-league side in the next round. Auchinleck Talbot recorded a resounding 8-1 win in the last round of the cup and they are one round away from a possible pay day with Rangers or Celtic. Vale secured a narrow 3-2 win at home to set this up and the visitors are the underdogs at 8/1. The 1/5 about Auchinleck seems a tad short so it might be worth looking through our range of markets for some value. I would opt for Auchinleck to be leading after 15 minutes at 9/4. They are a high scoring side and could easily start well here.
Inverurie Loco v Peterhead
Loco had to overcome a replay against Clachnacuddin to set up this game against Third Division Peterhead. The Division Three strugglers managed to gain their first win in some time with a 2-0 home victory over Nairin. They may struggle against Loco who are treading mid-table mediocrity in the Highland league. The 4/1 on the home side does look tempting while Peterhead are 1/2 odds on to win this tie and make it through to the fourth round. Based on the fact that Loco have come through two rounds already and are performing as expected in the Highland league they may well be worth the bet here.
Stranraer v Forfar
Third Division side Stranraer are viable promotion candidates this season and they host Division Two strugglers Forfar. The visitors are currently just about managing to stay outside the relegation/promotion playoff spot by sheer goal difference. They managed to take a point in an eight goal thriller in their last league game, drawing 4-4 away to Airdrie. Stranraer cruised through to the Third Round with a 9-0 win away to Wigtown. The home side are 13/8 to win and progress while Forfar are 6/5 favs. This will be a tight game but both sides have shown that they can score and over 3.5 goals at 5/4 is a good shout.
Elgin v Queen's Park
Elgin City came through a tough tie against Fraserburgh after a 0-0 draw away to the Junior side in what was a bit of a shock. But having progressed they now face fellow Third Division side Queen's Park. The visitors came through easy enough with a 3-0 win away to Huntly. Despite the gap in positions in the league, there is only really three points between the two sides. The sides have already met this season with Elgin City coming out 2-0 winners at home. They are 23/20 to repeat this win while Queens Park are 17/10. But this one has draw written all over it and at 5/2 it's a decent price.
East Fife v East Stirling
East Stirling are cast adrift at the bottom of the Third Division and their only win in recent weeks coming in the cup. However, travelling to Division Two side East Fife might see that cup run coming to an end. East Fife are 2/9 to go through with a win while unexpectedly the Stirling are 7/1. Stirling were held by Buckie Thistle before progressing after a replay win. East Fife -1 at 4/6 is a good bet, but for some value you can back the home side minus two goals at 17/10.
Airdrie v Gala Fairydean
Airdrie are in a battle to survive in Division Two while Gala Fairydean are living the dream of a good cup run. The 1/7 about the home side seems apt as despite their poor position a league win could easily see them up into mid-table such is the tightness of the division. Fairydean won 5-2 to progress to this and are 10/1 to win and go through to the Fourth Round. Aidrie were involved in an eight goal thriller, as mentioned earlier, with Forfar in the league. At 21/20 for the second half to be the highest scoring half, this seems like a punt.
Ross County v Albion
First Division leaders Ross County host an Albion side who are pushing for a play-off place in the Second Division. County have won in their last three games only conceding a single goal. Albion are also on a bit of a run having won their last three games, with some high scoring encounters. A 4-1 win away at Brechin came on the back of a 7-2 home win against Airdrie. Ross County are 2/9 to win this tie while Albion are massive underdogs at 9/1. Both teams to score at 11/10 seems quite viable but I'm expecting County to kick on from their league form and backing them at 17/10 minus two goals could be a shrewd investment.
Stirling v Dundee
Stirling are sat at the bottom of Division Two in the Scottish League, having gone down 1-0 at home to Arbroath at the weekend. Dundee are coming into this game on the back of a win away to Morton, but having lost their Chairman midweek they might be in somewhat of a lull. Dundee have put together back-to-back wins in the league and sit comfortably in mid-table of the second tier. They are 8/15 to come away from Doubletree Dunblane Stadium with a win. The hosts are 4/1 and I can't see past a win for Dundee, despite their boardroom troubles.
Brechin v Dumbarton
This is another all Division Two clash as mid-table Brechin host play-off chasing Dumbarton. Despite the gap in positions there is only three points separating the sides. Brechin have only won once in their last six home games and haven't won in their last two games. The most recent meeting of the sides was a 3-3 draw when Dumbarton went down to ten men but managed to hold on for the point at home. Despite their poor recent home form Brechin are 11/10 and the visitors are 9/5 with a fairly good away record. They have only lost twice in their last six games on the road, so I would be looking at Dumbarton at 5/4 for draw no bet.
Keith v Arbroath
Keith came through the Second Round with a narrow 1-0 win away to Wick Academy. They will host Second Division promotion chasing side Arbroath in what will be a big day for the club. The 8/15 about the visitors seems quite generous considering their recent form, which saw them lose only twice in their last six away games. They have won their last three games on the bounce, which included a 4-3 battle against Dumbarton. They should book their place in the Fourth Round, but for some added value I would back them to win to nil at 9/5.
Ayr v Montrose
Both these sides are struggling in their respective divisions, Ayr in the second tier while Montrose in the Third Division. Montrose dumped Clyde out in the previous round, but will face a tougher challenge in this round of games. Ayr have lost their last two games at home while Montrose's most recent game was a 4-4 draw with Stranraer. Ayr are 1/3 to win and go through while Montrose are a generous 6/1. It's hard to see past the home side getting the win here, but this has the potential to be a high scoring encounter so I would opt for over 3.5 goals at 13/10.
Morton v Deveronvale
Highland League side Deveronvale were rewarded for their 4-0 upset of Berwick with a lucrative trip to First Division Morton. The home side are 2/9 to beat their non-league opponents and move through to the Fourth Round. They will be looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at home to Dundee, but the sheer class between divisions should see them through. Deveronvale have nothing to lose and will be going out there with no pressure. This game is a home banker.
Stenhousemuir v Annan
Annan needed a replay to get past fellow Division Three promotion chasers Alloa, but their reward is a trip to face Division Two side Stenhousemuir. The high flying Annan are 16/5 to make /the fourth round, this could represent some value as their form has been on the money lately. Muir are 8/13 but are coming into this game on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Cowdenbeath. They have also won only once in their last three games. For some safety you can back the visitors at 9/4 draw no bet which is what I would recommend.