FA Cup hero Mark Hughes looks to banish the Blues again

Best Bets: QPR v Chelsea

A tenth-minute Heidar Helguson penalty accounted for a 1-0 Rangers victory over Chelsea when the sides met at Loftus Road in the Premier League as recently as October, yet QPR still go into Saturday lunchtime’s FA Cup encounter as Skybet’s massive 4/1 underdogs.

It promises to be a fascinating tie, especially if Chelsea, priced as Ladbrokes’ 8/13 match favourites, can keep more than nine players on the pitch this time. They make the short journey up the Fulham Palace Road after being installed as BetVictor’s 9/2 favourites to win the FA Cup – something they’ve achieved three times since 2007.

Yet Rangers’ new manager Mark Hughes knows more than most about winning the FA Cup – he boasts four winners’ medals – and following QPR’s rousing 3-1 victory over Wigan last Saturday, Betfred report a steady flow of each-way business backing Rangers at 80/1 to win the trophy this year.

Betfred, like every other major bookie, offers 50per cent of those odds should Rangers reach the final – assuming punters back them each-way.

It’s more cut-and-dried when it comes to goalscoring – Paddy Power consider the chances of the tie producing a penalty at 2/1, while Heider Helguson is 8/1 with Boylesports to notch the opener as he did in the autumn.

In other markets, Partybets chalk even money about both teams scoring, while William Hill post an attractive 23/10 against the first goal arriving inside the first 15 minutes.

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The visitors know the FA Cup offers their only realistic chance of acquiring silverware this season, which suggests they will not be inclined to field a weakened side, but punters anticipating an upset stand to profit.

For example, bet365 chalk 10/3 against Rangers keeping a clean sheet while Blue Square make them 5/2 to qualify for the fifth round.

Elsewhere, Stan James posts 11/2 about Mark Hughes’s charges enjoying a one-goal margin of victory, though more precise backers can get 14/1 (William Hill) against them repeating October’s success and winning 1-0.

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