English FA Cup Betting Guide

Shaun Wright-Phillips Gabriel Heinze FA Cup Final Manchester United vs ChelseaThe Football Association Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the FA Cup, is the oldest and most prestigious domestic knock-out tournament in world football. The tournament format has changed little since it was first contested in 1872.

Every year, hundreds of teams from various leagues across Wales and England compete for the FA Cup. Virtually the only prerequisites for participation are that clubs are registered with the Football Association, play in a recognised league and have access to a stadium for their home games.

Teams are paired randomly for each round, with drawn games replayed. Replay match results are ensured with extra-time and penalty shootouts. Preliminary rounds for teams in the lower leagues begin in August. Teams in the higher flights of English football qualify automatically for the latter stages of the tournament, and particularly in the third round tend to be drawn against lower league clubs. These encounters tend to make FA Cup odds some of the best available to punters.

The rounds of official competition culminate in two semi-finals held at neutral grounds, followed by the famous FA Cup Final held at Wembley in late May. Along with the coveted trophy and £1,000,000 in prize money, the victors earn automatic entry into the next UEFA cup.

Growth of the FA Cup

Few who watch today's stars competing in the FA Cup are aware of the Cup's humble beginnings. In 1872, only 2000 spectators watched Wanderers defeat Royal Engineers 1-0 at the Oval. By the turn of the century, the FA Cup had caught the public's imagination. Tens of thousands of football fans flocked to watch their football heroes do battle at Crystal Palace, Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

By the 1950s, crowds of over 100,000 routinely attended the FA Cup Final at the Wembley Empire Stadium. At present, FA Cup fixtures are some of the most eagerly anticipated on the football calendar. The finals were moved to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff between 2000 and 2006, but made a triumphant return to Wembley Stadium in 2007. Didier Drogba scored in extra time to give Chelsea the cup in front of almost 89,000 spectators.

FA Cup Betting

With the top flight of English football becoming more competitive with each passing year, teams like Manchester City and Everton offer great FA Cup odds for punters. Check our For more information on form teams and on FA Cup betting guide for more information on form teams and on FA Cup odds.