Soccer Selections: Picks for FA Cup 3rd Round Games

The FA Cup third round gives us one of the best weekends of soccer we have all year.

It is also one of the hardest things to handicap in the soccer world because there are so many variables at play.

Motivation comes into question for some of the English Premier League teams that may view matchups with lesser opponents as a chance to rest higher-profile players.

The addition of the COVID-19 effects on rosters and schedules makes Saturday and Sunday's matches across England so difficult to break down.

Some teams will be without key contributors and others have not been on the field much over the last few weeks.

Below is a look at my favorite bets for the FA Cup third-round slate.

Burnley vs. Huddersfield Town (+400) (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+)

Let's start the picks off with an upset.

Huddersfield Town comes to Turf Moor to face Burnley in the midst of a promotion race in the Championship. Burnley has struggled to get out of the Premier League relegation zone all season.

Burnley has not won a match since October 30, while Huddersfield enters on a six-game unbeaten streak in the English second tier.

Burnley will be without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope because of COVID-19 and leading scorer Maxwell Cornet is off on international duty with the Ivory Coast preparing for the African Cup of Nations.

The Clarets are in a vulnerable spot at home and Huddersfield is in the right form to pick off the Premier League club,

Leicester City vs. Watford (Under 2.5) (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN+)

Leicester City and Watford are dealing with key injuries to their squads.

Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and Cagyar Soyuncu are among the Leicester City players on a long injury list. The Foxes will do their best to defend the FA Cup title, but it will be hard for them to get out of the third round.

Watford will likely be without leading scorer Emmanuel Dennis because of an injury. The Hornets could also punt on Saturday's game because they have two key relegation battles against Newcastle United and Norwich City ahead in the next two weeks.

The situations surrounding both clubs make me think that one goal could win the contest at the King Power Stadium.

Queens Park Rangers (+110) vs. Rotherham United (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN+)

The Queens Park Rangers-Rotherham United matchup is one of the better ones on paper that does not involve a Premier League team.

QPR is chasing promotion in the Championship. QPR is fifth in the second division and it has five wins in its last seven games.

Rotherham United is on top of League One, the English third division, and it has a single loss in all competitions dating back to September 18.

QPR has the edge with the match being played at home and it has the deeper squad depth than the League One leader.

Andre Gray, Charlie Austin and Co. should create enough chances to power the Hoops into the fourth round.

Wigan Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers (+155) (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN+)

Wigan Athletic-Blackburn Rovers is a throwback to the late 2000s-early 2010s Premier League.

Both former top-flight clubs come into Saturday's matchup in good form. Blackburn is on a nine-game unbeaten streak and it moved up to second place in the Championship in the process. Wigan is third in League One and it enters on a 10-game unbeaten run.

Like the QPR prediction above, I'm going with Blackburn because it has a bit more overall quality than its League One foe.

Blackburn scored multiple goals in four of its last seven games and it conceded a single goal in the last six matches.

Swansea City vs. Southampton (+105) (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Southampton comes into Swansea off two impressive results in the Premier League.

The Saints defeated West Ham United and then pulled out a draw against Tottenham Hotspur during the festive fixture period.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's team takes on a Swansea squad that has not been on the field in close to a month due to COVID-19-related postponements.

Southampton's overall form and just being on the pitch for competitive games recently should be the edges that push it into the fourth round.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content