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Debate rages about value of Luton’s Cup upset – Football betting news

Article, Editorial, English Football, Featured, Free Bets, News, Trading | Article posted on February 2nd, 2013

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Debate rages about value of Luton’s Cup upset



Hat’s off to the Hatters

Every week, bookmaker and former Racing Post chief sports betting writer Mark Worwood tackles one of football’s hottest topics from a punting perspective.

Luton’s 1-0 defeat of Norwich in the English FA Cup fourth round was the first time that a fifth-tier team had beaten one from the top flight in the English Premier League era and sparked new and interesting debate about the greatest upsets ever in the world’s oldest football competition.


The Hatters were 10-1 to knock the Canaries off their perch, with Scott Rendell’s late goal enabling them to become the first non-league side to beat one of the elite since Sutton shocked Coventry in 1989 and the first to achieve the feat away from home since Altrincham’s 1986 win at Birmingham.


Within minutes of the final whistle at Carrow Road, Norwich shareholder Delia Smith was comfort eating to take away the pain of her team’s loss and some pundits were labelling Luton’s victory as the biggest English FA Cup boilover.

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As a supporter of Walsall, the Black Country side that pretty much invented English FA Cup giant killing when it shocked Arsenal 2-0 in 1933, I have always had an interest in the pecking order of upsets in the tournament. So I was delighted to stumble across a website devoted to them, the pride and joy of English FA Cup fan Steve Porter.


Porter thinks like a professional sports betting punter when he ranks English FA Cup shocks, using a mathematical formula that removes sentiment from his calculations. Porter awards points for the number of places between the teams on the English league pyramid, the number of internationals and/or championship-winning players in the giant’s side and so on. Porter’s system spits out cold, hard numbers and he uses them – and them alone – to rank the various upsets.


If one surveyed 1,000 English football supporters, each of whom had a good knowledge of English FA Cup shocks down the years, two games would make the top 10s of most respondents – Walsall’s aforementioned win over Arsenal and Hereford’s win over Newcastle in 1972. However, neither of them makes Porter’s top 10, with the Saddlers in 13th place and the Bulls positioned two more spots back in 15th position.


According to Porter, Luton’s weekend triumph was the seventh greatest English FA Cup upset of all time, putting it one place above the famous 1984 tie in which Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth knocked out Manchester United on the south coast. The Red Devils were the defending champions.


Porter’s number crunching has come to the conclusion that the biggest English FA Cup shock ever was Oxford’s defeat of Blackburn in 1964. The Us were in only their second season of English league football and hosting a Rovers team that was second in the top flight and full of internationals.


The draw for the fifth round of this season’s English FA Cup means that Porter need not worry about updating his rankings soon. Luton has been handed a home tie against Millwall and the Hatters are trading at odds of around 3-1 to win at Kenilworth Road. Luton is the seventh non-league sides to reach the last 16 since the end of the Second World War. All of the previous six minnows did not make the quarter-finals.

How highly do you rate Luton’s win? What do you think is the greatest English FA Cup upset ever? Send me your comments.





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