EFL Cup: Round of 32 Preview

Our football analyst previews all 16 EFL Cup round of 32 matches, which get underway on Tuesday the 19th of September 2017.

The EFL Cup may have started in August but for most fans around the world, this is the round where things begin to get interesting, with all of the Premier League teams involved in the bust up for what is admittedly the least glamorous piece of silverware up for grabs.

The giants of England will most likely field second string players in the opening stages of the tournament so it’s always good to take caution before striking a bet. There are 16 ties to get through between Tuesday and Wednesday, let’s cut out the small talk and get straight into the thick of things.

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Tuesday 19 September

Aston Villa 13/10 | Draw 43/20 | Middlesbrough 43/20 (20:45) 
Starting with an eye-catching clash between Championship promotion hopefuls Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. Both sides have shown great form in recent weeks, making this tie all the more enticing on the betting front.

Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six matches with three wins and three draws, while Middlesbrough have claimed five victories from their last eight games. An end-to-end game of football is expected and Both Teams To Score – Yes – looking a good bet at 19/20. 

Bournemouth 9/10 | Draw 49/20 | Brighton 29/10 (20:45) 
Both Bournemouth and Brighton have struggled to find their feet in the opening rounds of Premier League this season. The Cherries are currently second from bottom of the log with four losses from five matches and their opponents haven’t been much better. Brighton have lost three of their five games and will be hoping to find a bit of form here.

These teams actually crossed paths last weekend with Bournemouth utilizing home advantage, edging a 2-1 victory. Another tight encounter is on the cards and the sides are tipped to share the spoils this time around. 

Bristol City 5/2 | Draw 49/20 | Stoke 1/1 (20:45) 
Bristol City will welcome Stoke to the Ashton Gate Stadium on Tuesday evening. The Robins are unbeaten in their last seven matches, including an impressive 3-2 victory away at Watford in the last round.

Stoke have been lackluster but have enough quality at their disposal to see off Bristol City. The Potters were ruthless in the last round, hammering Rochdale 4-0. However, Bristol will prove a much sterner test and should at least find the back of the net. Both Teams To Score is tipped at 13/20. 

Crystal Palace 9/10 | Draw 47/20 | Huddersfield 31/10 (20:45) 
Crystal Palace and Huddersfield are next up to square off. The home side suffered their first defeat under new manager Roy Hodgson. The Eagles are bottom of the EPL table, losing all five matches without scoring a goal and conceding eight times. The team's spirit has almost diminished and this could be an opportunity for Palace to get their season back on track.

Huddersfield have taken the Premier League by storm and currently find themselves sixth on the standings. The Terriers are looking better prepared - at least mentally - for this clash and are likely to attack this vulnerable Crystal Palace side from the get go. Back Huddersfield on the win/draw Double Chance at 15/20. 

Burnley 17/20 | Draw 49/20 | Leeds 32/10 (20:45) 
Burnley are unbeaten in their last three Premier League games including hard-earned 1-1 draw away to Tottenham and Liverpool. Their greatest quality is their organised defending but they might use this tie to show off their attacking side of the game.

Leeds are top of the championship with five wins from eight games, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three times. However, with their loaded fixture list, they might just rest a few of their star players, given the long season ahead. Burnley are tipped to claim the all-important win. 

Brentford 29/20 | Draw 51/20 | Norwich 33/20 (20:45) 
Brentford have struggled in the Championship and remain winless after eight matches, scoring seven goals and conceding 12 times in the process. Norwich seemed to have turned a corner in recent weeks and are now undefeated in three matches without conceding a goal.

The Canaries might be looking the better team at present but neither team in looking outstanding going forward. I’d suggest getting on the Under 2.5 Goals market at a kind 29/20! 

Leicester 21/10 | Draw 5/2 | Liverpool 23/20 (20:45) 
The blockbuster of the round pits Leicester City up against Liverpool. The Premier League sides will again clash on the weekend before the Reds travel to Russia to take on Spartak Moscow in a UEFA Champions tie so you can expect manager Jurgen Klopp to bring in his fringe players.

Leicester City will have most of his first team line-up available for selection and I’m expecting the foxes to come out on top. Liverpool will most likely dominate possession but their lack of experience on the field should be exposed. The home win is tipped. 

West Ham 1/4 | Draw 9/2 | Bolton 19/2 (20:45) 
West Ham and Bolton have both been dismal – one in the Premier League, the other in the Championship. The Hammers, however, have improved of late and will be looking to maintain that form with a moral boosting win for their die-hard supporters.

Bolton are at the foot of the table in the Championship without a win after eight matches, scoring just four times and conceding 16 goals. I can only see one winner here and that’s West Ham, but for more value, back them on the (-1) Handicap at 7/10. 

Wolves 5/10 | Draw 32/10 | Bristol Rovers 5/1 (20:45) 
Wolves have been in top form in the Championship with five wins from eight games. Their opponents, Bristol Rovers, ply their trade in League One and have suffered five losses after eight games, including back-to-back defeats.

This should be a pretty straight forward and routine victory for the home side. At 5/10, Wolves are a top bet and should be added to all multiples. 

Tottenham 1/11 | Draw 17/2 | Barnsley 20/1 (21:00) 
Tottenham are out and out favourites to claim the win at 1/11 against minnows Barnsley. While I’m sure Spurs are almost guaranteed a win, it would be best to go in search of more value. Tottenham have been average at best in the league, while Barnsley have been poor in the second tier with just two wins from seven games.

I’m not particularly happy with the price of Tottenham for the win knowing that manager Mauricio Pochettino is set to play a second-string team. With that being said, Spurs to win and both teams to score offers enough value at 23/20. 

Reading 26/10 | Draw 24/10 | Swansea 1/1 (21:00) 
Reading and Swansea will clash in Tuesday’s final match. The hosts have struggled in the Championship with two wins from seven matches, scoring only six goals. Swansea are coming off an impressive goalless draw at Tottenham and will be determined to build on that with a win.

This one should go down to the wire and I’m expecting both sides to attack the game. Goals are expected so get on the Over 2.5 Goals market at 17/20. 

Wednesday 20 September

Chelsea 1/10 | Draw 15/2 | Nottingham Forest 22/1 (20:45) 
Let’s try keep this one short and sweet. Chelsea are likely to play a fringe team but even so, they have more than enough depth and quality to oust Nottingham Forest. The Reds have lost three of their last four matches in the Championship and that terrible form looks set to continue here.

Chelsea are a low 1/10 for the win and should easily do just that. However, I’m a man who always looks for value and the market Home To Win Both Halves – Yes – is well worth a punt at 17/20. 

Everton 3/10 | Draw 9/2 | Sunderland 17/2 (20:45) 
Everton were expected to be challenging for a place in the top four this season but instead have found themselves in the relegation zone after five games with three losses, scoring just twice and conceding 10 times.

Sunderland, like Everton, would have been expected to be near the top of the league but them too are battling it out for scraps at the bottom – the only difference being the Championship. Nonetheless, Everton should come out on top and are tipped to win on the (-1) Handicap at 15/20. 

Arsenal 3/10 | Draw 17/2 | Doncaster 21/1 (20:45) 
A team like Doncaster barely get the opportunity to play quality teams such as Arsenal so they are likely to give it their all. The Gunners are expected to field a weaker team but one capable of ousting their opponents in style.

Doncaster come into this clash with three consecutive losses in League One, while the Arsene Wenger’s men earned a moral boosting 0-0 stalemate at Chelsea last time out. A goal fest is on the cards and I’m backing Both Halves to produce Over 1.5 goals at 15/10. 

West Brom 13/2 | Draw 4/1 | Man City 7/20 (21:00) 
West Brom and Manchester City and go toe-to-toe in another all Premier League clash. The Baggies will be hoping to keep free scoring City at bay but that seems highly unlikely after the Citizens ran riot last time out, thrashing Watford 6-0 in front of their own fans.

West Brom might be solid defensively but their attacking prowess have been almost naked to the eye. Man City are scoring goals at will – 11 without conceding in their last two matches – and are tipped on halftime/fulltime at 9/10. 

Man United 1/14 | Draw 9/1 | Burton Albion 25/1 (21:00) 
Last but not least, Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils will look to keep their solid winning form up as we bring the curtain down on the round of 32. Man United are unbeaten in the league with four wins from five matches, scoring 16 times and conceding just twice.

Championship side, Burton Albion, have managed just two wins from eight games, scoring six goals and conceding 15 times. Man United to Win To Nil is the bet at 11/10. 

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough – BTTS (Yes) 19/20
Wolves Win 5/10
Chelsea To Win Both Halves 17/20 
Arsenal v Doncaster Rovers –  Over 1.5 Goals in Both Halves 15/10

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