The FA Cup resumes with third round action this weekend and Brighton take on Newcastle in the first live game on Saturday lunchtime. The presence of the television cameras normally indicates that an upset could be on the cards and the latest betting for this match at the Amex suggests the Championship side are right in contention.
There is barely anything to choose between the two teams ahead of the match as Newcastle endure a woeful slump in the Premier League, while Brighton are battling for promotion in the Championship. It is Newcastle who start marginal favourites at 7/5 with Ladbrokes, while Brighton are priced 9/5, although the draw could be the way to go at 12/5.
It might seem surprising that there aren't bigger odds on offer for a Brighton win but a look at Newcastle's recent form tells you all you need to know. The Magpies' 2-1 defeat at home to Everton on Wednesday night was their third defeat in a row and sixth in seven matches as they continue to slide down the table.
Alan Pardew's side are now 15th in the league, just two points above relegation, as they struggle to cope with the loss of key players. Yohan Cabaye remains out injured, while star striker Demba Ba looks set to join Chelsea and that leaves Newcastle with huge problems. Papiss Cisse did at least rediscover his scoring tough against Everton and he is 9/2 to be first goalscorer again this weekend.
Cisse struck after just two minutes to give Newcastle the lead against Everton but they again failed to capitalise. Newcastle have now taken the lead at some point in each of their last three outings but they have gone on to lose all three, with Ladbrokes bookmakers going 4/1 for Brighton to come from behind and win or draw on Saturday.
That could be worth a look as Gus Poyet's side look to cause something of an upset again against Newcastle. Brighton actually beat the Magpies 1-0 in the fourth round of this competition last January and they will be confident of earning a positive result this weekend. Craig Mackail-Smith will be a big player for them after scoring 11 goals this season and he is 5/1 to score first.
Mackail-Smith was on target in Brighton's 3-0 win at Ipswich on New Year's Day as they recorded their first win in six to rise to ninth in the Championship table. Their league position could be so much better but they have developed a real tendency of drawing games, with 10 of their league games ending in stalemates, including six of their 13 at home.
The 2-2 correct score is available at 11/1 on Saturday and it is tough to back either side on current form. Newcastle will be desperate to rediscover that winning feeling but two wins in 15 and their dismal away record suggests that they might have to wait. They have failed to win away from home in 15 matches in all competitions, while they have lost their last six in a row on their travels.
Brighton v Newcastle Form
Check the season's statistics for both Brighton and Newcastle, plus the odds ahead of Saturday's match.
Brighton v Newcastle Tips
Tip #1: Draw @ 12/5 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Craig Mackail-Smith to score first @ 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Brighton to come from behind and win or draw @ 4/1 with Ladbrokes.
Correct Score Odds
9/1 Brighton 1-0
10/1 Brighton 2-0
9/1 Brighton 2-1
9/1 Draw 0-0
11/2 Draw 1-1
11/1 Draw 2-2
15/2 Newcastle 1-0
10/1 Newcastle 2-0
15/2 Newcastle 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
9/2 Papiss Cisse
5/1 Craig Mackail-Smith
11/2 Shola Ameobi
7/1 Ashley Barnes
7/1 Stephen Dobbie
7/1 Adam Campbell
8/1 Nile Ranger
8/1 Will Buckley
8/1 Sammy Ameobi
8/1 Will Hoskins
9/1 No Goalscorer
9/1 Sylvain Marveaux
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com, who provide live betting in-running for all FA Cup matches.
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