It's kind of echoey in here this week.

And that could be for one of two reasons: either Mrs Tenner Bet has buried me in a casket underground or, and I suspect it is the latter, I'm about to repeat myself. The finite options available to a sports bettor make the repetition of previously-dabbled-in markets inevitable.

This tends to make the reader believe he or she is suffering from acute deja vu but it is nothing of the sort. Get this, I am actually writing the same column but just changing some of the words.

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And, so, when The Masters comes around, I give thanks to the great betting god in the sky; on Grand National day, I weep tears of joy and, when it's the FA Cup third- round weekend, I snigger and shout at the moon.

I masticate over the permutations that dictate I must mention that there is no romance in cup football; that giantkillings are the exception rather than the norm; that the big boys tend to win; and that the FA Cup, somewhat inevitably, but not as inevitably as me mentioning it in a column, will be won by one of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United or Chelsea, as it has been, save for the odd exception, without fail for the past two decades.


In light of the above, it will come as little surprise that the Tenner Bet will not waste time seeking out big-priced outsiders on this weekend's third-round coupon, in the vain hope of an upset. Instead, I've identified a treble that pays out at reasonable odds and, while cognisant of the fact that teams might be tempted to rest a few players, I am also aware that it is not something top-flight managers indulge in with the same kind of blanket approach they employ when selecting their line-ups for League Cup games.

The FA Cup may have lost a good deal of its cachet, but it's still a damn sight more attractive than its downtrodden cousin. The debate about what could be done to improve the lustre of the competition (I favour the opening-up of a Champions League place to the winners) is for another column, but, suffice to say, I believe the bigger boys still value it enough to not sully the tournament by fielding entirely shadow sides.


Reading may well have been struggling badly in the Premier League of late but they visit a Crawley Town team that hasn't exactly ripped up League One.

Much will depend on the team Brian McDermott puts out, but one would imagine he has it in the back of his mind that his players are unlikely to escape the drop.

The 6/4 about Reading is good value, notwithstanding the fact they have not won on their travels all season. Elsewhere, another struggling team, Fulham at 8/11, will fancy their chances at home to Blackpool while Wigan, just short of even money to see off Bournemouth, represent a solid investment. Meanwhile, it wouldn't be a Tenner Bet if it wasn't riddled with contradictions, so the 41/19 on offer that Ipswich Town might create an upset at Aston Villa might be the best punt of the lot.


Another loser last week following a Premier League programme that didn't exactly want for goals. Indeed, West Brom should have scored at least once, and in fact did, even if it was into their own net. Nevertheless, a loss it is and for the first time in a while profits are back in the red at -£6.86.