STAR PREVIEW Sun: Marine v Tottenham Hotspur

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Magic of the FA Cup could go missing in this of all seasons, but for a reminder of the unity that football can bring, look no further than Marine against Tottenham today.

In a normal season the hosts, named after the ‘Marine Hotel’ pub in which they were founded in 1894, would be looking forward to a record attendance and vital matchday income. However, with COVID-19 having taken that opportunity away, Tottenham fans have established several fundraising pages to raise income for the side, whilst Jamie Carragher has stepped into sponsor the dugouts and pre-match warm-up tops via his JC23 Foundation. On top of that, 15,000 tickets have been sold virtually, beating a pre match expectation of 600 – football can really be the beautiful game at times.

Arguably Marine are the real winners of today no matter what happens, but on the pitch the result should be a formality. The clubs are separated by seven divisions and 161 league positions and that’s reflected in a pre-match price of 1/50 for a victory in 90 minutes with Star Sports – you won’t even get a price on them going through.

FA Cup Third Round
17:00 BBC One / BBC iPlayer

(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
First ever meeting

Any Spurs side should be good enough and with changes surely in the offing, we can expect a motivated XI looking to try and break into Mourinho’s plans. We can expect Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Carlos Vinicius all to get starts, and they should be the subject of any goal scorer bets too.

Spurs have scored five or more goals in three games this season and speculative wagers on 5 and 6-0 correct scores could give us a decent run for our money this afternoon. Also on the goalscoring front, the 4/1 about a Carlos Vinicius hat-trick could be a bit of value; Vinicius has scored two in his last three games and had ten shots in that time, so we can expect him to get involved here.

Those looking for a giant-killing will probably be best advised to tune in early to Crawley v Leeds (BBC One, 1.15) given that Leeds have suffered FA Cup third-round exits in each of the last three seasons, although last year they were very unlucky not to knock out Arsenal. Goals may be the best bet here – only Exeter have scored more than Crawley (34 goals in 22 games) in League Two and six of Leeds’s last seven games have featured at least three goals.

Later on Newport will fancy upsetting Brighton (BT Sport 1, 7.45pm). The hosts have plenty of pedigree – they’ve knocked out Leeds, Middlesbrough and Leicester whilst holding Spurs to a draw, and Brighton will make changes given their packed Premier League schedule (and relegation battle) but they are unlucky to be languishing at the bottom of the table and if they can find their shooting boots then they could have too much for the hosts.

In the other games where Premier League opposition take on teams from different divisions, Manchester City have put out a strong side to take on Birmingham (starting XI of Steffen, Cancelo, Dias, Walker, Mendy, Rodrigo, Mahrez, De Bruyne (C), Foden, Bernardo, Jesus) and ought to make short work of their visitors.

Chelsea (Starting XI of Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Emerson; Mount, Gilmour, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Werner, Ziyech) have done the same and should have too much for Morecambe.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Marine 0-5 Tottenham 1 pt at 6/1 with
BACK Marine 0-6 Tottenham 1 pt at 9/1 with
BACK Carlos Vinicius to score a hat-trick in Marine v Tottenham 1 pt at 4/1 with

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 84.14 points
(Excluding Cheltenham 2021 antepost, Premier League 2020/21 Ante Post, Champions League Ante-post, 2021 Grand National recommended bets 14 Nov 2020 & 6 Dec 2020, Cheltenham Festival ante-post bets recommended 26 Dec and 2 Jan, FA Cup antepost recommended 8 Jan)