Sheffield United vs. Wrexham AFC FA Cup Odds, Picks, Predictions (2/7/23)

America’s favorite fifth-division Welsh side is back in action, as Wrexham AFC’s improbable FA Cup run continues on the road against Sheffield United. This is only happening after the 10-man Blades found a stunning equalizer in the 95th minute in one of the craziest matches in any competition this season, and thus forced a replay. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks as both of these sides look to keep progressing in one of the biggest and oldest competitions in all of sports.

Sheffield United vs. Wrexham AFC Odds

Sheffield are major favorites at home with -230 odds, while the draw is set at +330 and Wrexham an even +500. For a goalscoring line of 2.5, the 3-3 thriller in the last match has the over significantly favored at -155, while the under is +115.

Sheffield United vs. Wrexham AFC Prediction & Pick

I think we all understood the pain we saw on Ryan Reynolds’s face when he watched a berth in the fifth round proper just barely slip away from his club, after giving up a heartbreaking, tie-extending goal. Still, Wrexham are in the midst of an enchanted run overall- they’ve won their last 7 games in the league, in which they have a positive goal differential of nearly 2 per game, putting them in outstanding position to earn promotion without going through a play-off, and of course, there’s their Cup campaign, in which they’ve scored 3+ goals in their past 5 matches, two of which have been against second-tier competition.

Sheffield are also in excellent form, having won 7 of their past 8 matches in the EFL Championship, as they too look like they’ll be promoted, in their case, back into the Premier League, after an absence of just a couple of seasons. They’re 10 points ahead of the third place side, who have played 30 games compared to Sheffield’s 29, and the Blades are the second-highest scoring side in the league, while sporting the best defense as well. They could be in line for more Cup success as well- it’s incredible that Wrexham have hung around this long, and the winner of this match would face Tottenham Hotspur, who were eliminated by a second-division side in this competition a year ago.

While the odds are steep, I can’t help but believe in Wrexham. I doubted them in my best bets for the third round, and scoffed at the prospect of them competing with Sheffield the first time out, yet here they are. They have a keeper and striker who are absolutely on fire, a true winning combination in a knockout format. I could see a match that is not too different from last time out, and can’t really get behind betting odds as long as -230, so my best bets are Wrexham double chance at +160 and over 2.5 goals at -155, although I would also put serious consideration towards o3.5 in plus-odds, where you can find that.

Key Matchups

Wrexham Attack vs. Sheffield Defense

When you take a look at Wrexham’s incredibly prolific attack, there’s one player who immediately draws your attention- “Super” Paul Mullin. As the song says, he really has been dynamite- he leads all players in the competition with 7 FA Cup goals- the next-highest goalscorer stands alone with just 4. It’s just one more in a string of excellent seasons for Mullin- he has 27 total goals already, compared to 26 and 32 in the previous two years. His primary support comes in the form of a second striker, Ollie Palmer, who hasn’t scored in the Cup yet but is right behind Mullin with 14 goals in league play.

Sheffield have employed quite a few defenders in their lineup, which centers around a back three, so we’ll focus on the best, starting with the man in the middle, Irishman John Egan, second amongst all Sheffield players in minutes played. His fellow central defenders in the first-choice defense have been Chris Basham and Anel Ahmedhodzic, who has been a contributor on both ends as he has accumulated 4 goals and a pair of assists this year. George Baldock has been the best wingback, but he has been missing time with an injury. He’s expected to return soon, so keep an eye out for that as we get closer to matchday.

Sheffield Attack vs. Wrexham Defense

Like Wrexham, Sheffield also run a 3-5-2 formation, with a pair of strikers who have been solid, but not as productive as Wrexham’s, albeit of course generally against much stronger competition. The leading man is Senegalese striker Iliman Ndiaye, who leads the team in both goals (10) and assists (8) across all competitions, and he’s joined by Scotsman Oliver McBurnie, whose 10 goals have him level with Ndiaye. That being said, the two have combined for just a single goal through two high-scoring FA Cup matches, so we’ll see if they can get more involved in this replay. Supporting the effort is midfield duo Oliver Norwood and Sander Berge, who have supplied 8 and 7 goal contributions, respectively, and have perhaps been the team’s best two players this season

With Rob Lainton, who fans might remember from the “Welcome to Wrexham” docu-series, injured since last march, newcomer Mark Howard has taken up the starting goalkeeper role, and he’s had a pretty solid campaign thus far. Speaking of injuries, starting centre-backs Aaron Hayden and Jordan Tunnicliffe picked up a pair very early against Sheffield and had to exit; they may be out for some time. That being said, substitutes Max Cleworth and James Jones put in excellent performances, with Jones even contributing an equalizer, Wrexham’s first goal of the day. The remaining centre-back is Englishman Ben Tozer, and the back three are flanked by wingbacks Anthony Forde and Callum McFadzean, both of whom are as valuable coming forward as they are in defense. Wrexham’s defense has not been the team’s greatest strength this season, but if they want to keep moving on in this competition, it’s going to have to keep up with the high-powered attack.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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