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Aston Villa vs. Stevenage Betting Tips: Two picks for Sunday's Third Round tie

Villa Vs Stevenage

Premier League outfit Aston Villa welcome high-flying League Two side Stevenage Town to Villa Park as part of the BBC's red button and iPlayer alternate offering to Manchester City vs Chelsea on Sunday.

As always we've discussed the tie and offered you our betting thoughts to hopefully result in some profitable punting.

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Aston Villa vs Stevenage Odds

Villa fans have grown accustomed to wild inconsistency from their team over the years, and that trend has followed a similar trajectory since Unai Emery stepped into the dugout at B6.

The West Midlanders dispatched Manchester United 3-1 in the gaffer's debut outing, before losing 4-2 at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup just four days later. Since then, his side beat Brighton ahead of the World Cup break, and have subsequently lost, won and drawn to Liverpool, Tottenham and Wolves respectively.

In Stevenage's case it's been quite the turnaround since last term's misfortunes. Keeping themselves in the Football League again would understandably have been the remit this season following their 21st-placed finish in 21/22. But instead, the Boro are eyeing up the League Two title, with only Leyton Orient currently standing in their way from sitting in the division's top spot.

In this first ever encounter between the two, Steve Evans' men are being given less than a 5% chance of walking away from Villa Park with a place in the competition's Fourth Round at 20/1. The hosts are understandably viewed as overwhelming favourites at 2/11, while the draw can be backed at 15/2.

Aston Villa vs Stevenage Tips

FA Cup Odds
Both teams to score and Aston Villa to win
9/4
Odds correct as of 2023-01-06 14:30 Odds subject to change.

No matter how in control this group of Villa players appear to be in any given match, there's still an air of uncertainty surrounding them defensively. It's an issue that plagued both Dean Smith and Steven Gerrard during their tenures, and it's a problem that Unai Emery is now grappling with.

For them to nip it in the bud they have to almost entirely eradicate the individual errors. Not only is that going to take time, it could require a dramatic change in personnel in the longer run to mould this team in Emery's image.

Pulling up the numbers shows that five of the Spaniard's six games in charge of AVFC have resulted in both teams scoring. Considering that four of these have been against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham, it's not a particularly alarming stat in and of itself. But inspecting the games more closely is evidence of a more systemic problem.

Plainly put Villa are cut open far too easily and allow their opposition to get shots off. This will be music to the ears of Steve Evans and co who will have to soak up long bouts of pressure before springing an attack of their own.

Stevenage are League Two's joint-third highest goal scorers and have the second lowest tally for goals conceded, meaning this win may not be as routine as the gulf between the two initially suggests.

Home advantage and the fact that Unai Emery went on record with his views on the importance of cup competitions for Villa should give them more than enough to grab the victory here, but they may be made to work for it.

FA Cup Winner Odds
Draw/Aston Villa HT/FT
10/3
Odds correct as of 2023-01-06 14:30 Odds subject to change.

Given the uncertainty regarding team news, we will completely avoid player prop bets to ensure that both selections are active come kick-off time.

Instead, we're opting for a Half-Time/Full-Time bet of Draw/Aston Villa. Eight of Villa's 11 goals during the Emery era so far have been scored in the second half of games, showing that his side can take some time to find their feet.

An FA Cup Third Round tie, whether playing against lower league opposition with a home advantage or not, can often be largely cagey affairs. The home side may have to be patient for their opening, or could even find themselves a goal down against the run of play if they aren't careful.

Either way, the second half is usually the period where lower quality sides reach their capacity and can no longer maintain the high levels of energy and concentration shown previously. This should result in at least a goal or two from the home team who we're expecting to eventually sweep aside their L2 counterparts on Sunday.

Did you know that bet365 pay your team out as a winner if they go 2 goals ahead at any time in the match (available on over 80 leagues and competitions, T&C's apply). Find out more on our bet365 offers page.

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