Watford v Wolves Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 07/04/19

Watford v Wolves Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers and provides us with his best bets for this FA Cup semi-final clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • 2019 Profit & Loss: +2.3pts

Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 07/04/19
  • Time: 16:00
  • Venue: Wembley
  • Channel: BT Sport 2

Two of the surprise packages of the Premier League this season go head-to-head in this Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final in what has the makings of a cracking game.

Newly promoted Wolves currently sit as the ‘best of the rest’ in the Premier League but are just a point above Sunday’s opponents Watford, who currently occupy 8th position.

These sides are very similar in the way they get results, with a great emphasis on efficient counter-attacks. Both managers generally don’t change their system as well, with minimal rotation in their starting eleven’s. Nuno Espirito Santo favours the 5-3-2 with the deadly duo of Jimenez and Jota up top whilst Javi Gracia has favoured the narrow 4-2-2-2 recently, with the attributes of his two front men, Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, complementing each other very well.

This game has a number of intriguing matchups to look out for on Sunday, the first being the midfield battle. Watford’s general set-up includes 4 narrow midfielders, two more defensive and two more advanced, with Gracia encouraging a ball-focussed press and winning the ball back by simply outnumbering opponents in central areas. His two advanced midfielders, most likely Hughes and Pereyra, will have to help out against the technical duo in the form of Neves and Moutinho, creating a 4v3 overload in their favour and preventing Wolves’ midfield from starting their deadly counters.

Another matchup that I’ll be looking out for is the Wolves strike pairing against Mariappa and Cathcart. This is because the way Watford like to press means that their backline is often left high up the pitch, looking to close the gap between themselves and their high-pressing midfield. This means they leave vast amounts of space in behind them, something that Wolves will look to exploit, especially when they have two superb passers in midfield.

With the game looking so tight on paper, it could be the magic of the £30m man who makes the difference. Raul Jimenez has been on fire since signing on-loan from Benfica in the summer, with Wolves smashing their transfer record in order to make the deal permanent this week. Jimenez has scored 12 times in the PL as well as three in this competition, including a tidy finish in the last round against United. His performances this season have shown he has that ‘big game player’ trait, scoring 4 times against the top 6 in the PL as well as goals against United and Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Team News        

Roberto Pereyra (hip) and Isaac Success (knee) will have late fitness tests to determine whether they are fit to dress up on Sunday. Midfielder Tom Cleverley has been ruled out.

There are no notable injuries for Wolves with the only news being that John Ruddy, who has started all FA Cup games this season, will retain his place in goal, ahead of first choice keeper Rui Patricio.

Potential Watford Starting XI: Foster, Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Doucoure, Hughes, Pereyra, Deeney, Deulofeu.

Potential Wolves Starting XI: Ruddy, Doherty, Coady, Bennett, Boly, Jonny, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jota, Jimenez.

Head To Head

  • All-time: Watford-14, Draw-18, Wolves-13.
  • These sides have met 7 times in this competition, Watford winning just one of these games back in 1980.

Key Stats & Facts

  • Troy Deeney has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 13 FA Cup appearances, scoring five and assisting four.
  • Watford have lost their last four games at Wembley and have only won once in six visits to the ground.
  • In the quarter-finals, Wolves beat Manchester United 2-1 at Molineux whilst Watford beat Crystal Palace by the same scoreline at Vicarage Road.
  • Watford’s front two, Deeney and Deloufeu, have combined for 16 goals and 10 assists this season whilst Wolves’ strike pairing, Jimenez and Jota, have combined for 19 goals and 11 assists in the PL so far.
  • Raul Jimenez has scored in three rounds of the FA Cup this season, a record bettered only by the five of Newport County's Padraig Amond.
  • Wolves have only lost two of their past 14 matches in all competitions, winning eight and drawing four and are unbeaten in their last 6 games at Wembley stadium.

Betting Odds

  • Watford 21/10
  • Draw 23/10
  • Wolves 17/11

The Verdict

The bookies have Wolves as slight favourites, which I understand looking at the form of Nuno’s men, losing just twice in their last 10 Premier League games.

However, looking at the matchups for this one, I think it has ‘draw’ all over it. These sides are separated by just a point in the league and are very similar in the way they want to play. The form of both strike pairings will be key to who comes out on top and I reckon both teams will get on the scoresheet as well. The Deeney, Deulofeu duo works so well and they make it hard for any backline they come up against, the strength and hold up play of Deeney complements the pace of Deulofeu so well and I reckon they’ll cause some confusion for what is normally such an organized Wolves back three. At the other end of the pitch, if Gracia urges his midfield to hunt in packs, then it could leave his defence vulnerable to the ball in behind, something we saw against United, a game which Watford dominated but were picked off by clips in behind. I hope he goes into this one with a little more caution, applying a deeper block and essentially make Wolves break them down, something that they do struggle at. Either way, I’m not going to bet against the efficient J combination.

The other bet I like in this one is Abdoulaye Doucoure being carded at 7/2. Wolves are currently second in the PL when it comes to cards against, with teams averaging 2.25 cards a game when they come up against Wolves. With this in mind, I think some of Watford’s players are big candidates for bookings on Sunday and I think the best value comes in the form of the Frenchman. Doucoure has been booked just four times in the league so far but makes over 2 tackles per game. With the way that Watford press in midfield, it makes the likes of Doucoure vulnerable to leaving in a late one against the technical midfielders on the opposition that will look to play around Watford’s press. Moreover, the counter-attacking style of this Wolves side means we could quite easily see Doucoure ‘taking one for the team’ in order to stop a counter.

Recommended Bets

  • 1pt – Draw and BTTS – 18/5 (Bet Victor)
  • 1pt – Doucoure to be carded – 7/2 (Unibet)