With the rest of the Premier League in FA Cup action the pressure is on United to clamber above Chelsea and Arsenal with a win over Hull this weekend.
A victory would make the Reds the first top flight team to reach 50 points this season and take them two clear of those London rivals. Three points is imperative.
And if Betfair layers are to be believed it will be achieved with little fuss as United go in to the game as overwhelming 1.17 (1-6) favourites.
Those odds aren’t particularly surprising given the champions’ dominance over the Tigers in the Premier League (three wins from three) and Hull’s position in the relegation scrap, but there are better bets to be had. Let’s find them.
With such weak opposition in town, Sir Alex may have one eye more focused on Wednesday’s second leg Carling Cup semi-final and that should be factored into our betting.
It’s highly unusual to see over 3.5 goals trading so close to odds on at 2.22 (6-5) and it’s simply too low a price to ignore. Lay that. United are capable of running up big scores, but they do so less frequently than people suspect. Since the 5-0 win over Wigan on December 30, five goals have been scored in four games with three coming against Burnley last weekend.
The chance of a low score is increased by Hull’s defensive mindset. The Tigers are highly likely to approach the game with the same ‘backs-to-the-wall’ formation that worked so well at White Hart Lane. Nevertheless, a Reds win has to be the fancy so let’s take a gamble on the 2-0 and 3-0 wins at 7 (6-1) and 8 (7-1) respectively.
Those score predictions suggest we fancy a home clean sheet and at 1.8 (4-5) it’s short but tempting nevertheless.
Away from Old Trafford the FA Cup will bring its usual array of mismatches, upsets and close-run-things.
We will undoubtedly lose a few Premier League clubs this weekend but three look worth following – a multiple on Aston Villa (at home to Brighton), Tottenham (at home to Leeds) and Everton (at home to Birmingham) pays at odds of 2.9 (19-10). The Toffees have the toughest task but the tails are up at Goodison and Birmingham’s run must end soon. Spurs and Villa just have to play to their ability and they should progress.
You can also win two tickets in the North Stand for the second leg of the Carling Cup semifinal on Wednesday. Watch Manchester United beat Manchester City live at Old Trafford by placing a risk-free bet with Betfair.