This year’s English League Cup, or the EFL Cup, will see Manchester City attempt to win the competition for the fourth time in five years.
They are of course favourites for the competition and it is no wonder. They are the league champions and the best team in England. They have a huge squad which allows them to fight on all four fronts across the season and Pep Guardiola simply has a desire to win every competition that he enters. But who do we think will win it this year?
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English League Cup Betting Preview
It is a competition, much like the FA Cup that is absolutely dominated by the ‘Top 6’. Whilst the English League Cup and the FA Cup are always remembered for big shocks, the fact of the matter is the teams that win it are almost always one of the teams that are expected to. One of the Top 6 have won the last 6 League Cups as well as 13 of the last 15.
This is a reflection of the gap between the Top 6 and the rest. They do not even prioritise this competition but the sheer size of the squads of these teams allow a second-string eleven navigate them to the latter stages of the competition before they will strengthen their team and take it more seriously.
As is the case with knockout competitions, it is a kind draw that is required for an alleged smaller team to win the competition. Swansea back in 2013 for an example. It seems a monumental task to knock a Top 6 side out of the competition. In fact, it was only Manchester United from the Top 6 that were not knocked out by one of their leading counterparts last season. They lost to Derby on penalties.
Outside of the Top 6 the main threats must be considered to be Wolves, Everton and Leicester. Wolves were a good cup side last season and have already taken a point off Manchester United in the league. However, it remains to be seen how much the Europa League will take out of a squad which is far smaller than the riches of the Top 6.
Leicester and Everton do not have the issue of European football. However, what never ceases to amaze in this competition is when team’s such as Leicester still rest players when they are deep in the competition and in relative safety when it comes to the Premier League. This happened last year against Manchester City in the Quarter Final where they obscurely rested Jamie Vardy. He came on to score a late equaliser but they eventually lost on penalties.
This is what makes the competition so hard to predict and you have to try and second guess what a manager may do.
Lower tier teams struggle in the competition. Cardiff were the last lower tier team to reach the final back in 2012 whilst there have only been two Championship semi-finalists since then. There have also been two from League 1. The evident gap between the Top 6 and the lower tiers was evident when Manchester City beat League 1 semi-finalist Burton Albion 10-0 over two legs last year.
The fact is, when you have to take into consideration how seriously a team will take the competition you have to side with Manchester City. Even if they rest players they can still beat most teams in the Premier League and that even includes teams in the Top 6. Back Pep Guardiola to win it again is our tip.
Betting On The League Cup Markets
Cup Winner Outright – You can get your bets on before the competition starts in August regarding the winner of the whole competition. Just be aware that you won’t be able to pick up any winnings before the competition is won in February.
Match Winner – With each match being a one-off tie with no replay you may fancy betting on the match winner. Please ensure to use the ‘To Qualify’ market if you want the bet to include penalties.
Correct Score – If the odds do not look particularly enticing when it comes to match betting you can look to receive larger odds and bigger returns to try and predict the correct score. This bet is only over 90 minutes.
Handicap Betting – Considering you have the first tier potentially playing against the fourth tier of English football there are regularly examples of mismatches. This is why handicap betting is popular in this competition. You may place bets on teams winning –1 goal or even greater. If you think the time will win by at least 5 back the –4 market.
First Goal Scorer – Think you can spot a player that has an eye for a goal? Why not place a bet on the first goal scorer You can also regularly place bets on the last goal scorer and anytime goal scorer which are normally limited to 90 minutes.