Success is the Wizard's New Year resolution

NigelSeeley125WEB.jpgNigel Seeley - the Wizard of Odds - gives some top tips on where to place your bets this week, with the FA Cup taking centre stage.


I hope everybody had a fantastic Christmas and now we must start the New Year running with some winners.

Last year was a very good one for Wharf readers and followers of this column, finishing 2008 with a nice healthy profit of £280 and for 2009 we are going to start the balance at zero.

We ended the campaign with a winner when Big Sam Allardyce landed the Blackburn job at a nice tasty 7/2.

Unfortunately Leona Lewis only managed third in the Christmas chart and Rachel Stevens was robbed of the Strictly Come Dancing crown which would have meant more money to spend on our yuletide celebrations.

This year we are going to start with the FA Cup third round. The road to Wembley begins this weekend and if you are looking for an upset look no further than Hillsborough where Sheffield Wednesday entertain Roy Hodgson's Fulham.

Wednesday are struggling in the Championship, mainly due to their terrible away form but at home they boast one of the best records in the division with just the two defeats.

Their more illustrious opponents may be in a lofty 9th place in the Premier League, their highest for four years, but that position is due entirely to their home form. Away from Craven Cottage they are yet to win in 10 matches, so it's very hard to make a case for them at odds-on at Hillsborough.

Last season's FA Cup threw up a number of shocks with Portsmouth and Cardiff playing out the final and if last year was anything to go by the Premier League clubs didn't take the cup seriously, with second string teams lined-up at the third round stage.

Fulham still need vital points for Premier League survival or European qualification so expect a few unfamiliar faces in their white shirts.

With just 22 goals scored in 11 games at Hillsborough and only eight in Fulham's away games, with the Cottagers netting just two, the 4/5 about the game producing under three goals makes massive appeal.

Another team which look over-priced is Peterborough, who travel to the Hawthorns to take on Premier League basement boys West Bromwich Albion.

Tony Mowbray's men would take Premier League survival ahead of FA Cup success and with some important games coming up for the Baggies their opponents may want this a little bit more so odds of 6/1 are too big.

A number of Premier League managers lost their jobs in 2008 and bookies are offering odds on which manager will lose his job first in 2009.

Mark Hughes is the market leader at 3/1 alongside Tony Adams, but the man I like is another ex-England centre-half, Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate.

Boro look set to offload Stuart Downing in the January sales and going into a relegation battle without your best player and no recognized striker means Southgate could find the pressure too much at odds of 6/1 and he could be a goner.

LAST YEARS FINAL FIGURE +£280

SUGGESTED BETS

£25 Sheff Wed to beat Fulham @ 11/4

£60 Under three goals in Sheff Wed v Fulham @ 4/5

£10 Peterborough to beat West Brom @ 6/1

£20 Gareth Southgate to be first manager to lose job in 2009 @ 6/1