BRETT CURTIS (@Brett_Curtis92) analyses the odds as Brighton and Portsmouth lock horns in the second round of the League Cup on Thursday night.
Brighton vs Portsmouth | Thursday 17th September 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Brighton host Portsmouth in the EFL Cup on Thursday night – the two south-coast sides, separated by just 50 miles, will face -ff in their first competitive match since 2012.
Brighton began their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 home loss to Chelsea on Monday night. Leandro Trossard levelled the match in the second-half, but Reece James' wonder-strike two minutes later sunk the Seagulls.
Portsmouth, meanwhile, disappointingly drew 0-0 with Shrewsbury at home in their first match of the new League One season on Saturday. Kenny Jackett's side are expected to push for automatic promotion to the Championship this season after being defeated by Oxford in the play-off semi-finals in July.
The Premier League side are 4/7 to win this tie in 90 minutes, with the draw 29/10 and a Pompey upset 5/1. Both sides will likely rotate their starting line-ups with league matches on Sunday to prioritise.
Adam Lallana, who was signed on a free transfer from Liverpool in the summer, came off injured in the first-half against Chelsea and will miss out here. Defender Joel Veltman should make his debut having joined from Ajax, with the likes of Pascal Gross, Dale Stephens and Aaron Connolly expected to start.
Connolly is yet to truly stamp his mark at Premier League level but he can be a real live-wire on his day and certainly possesses the pace and quality of movement to punish Portsmouth's back-line.
As such, an outside bet I do like is the Ireland international to score two or more goals at 14/1 (Betfair). We've seen the likes of Moise Kean, Kienan Davis and Sebastien Haller come into their respective sides and score against lower-league opposition already this week and Connolly may be another to benefit from the drop in opposition class.
It's not a match I expect too many goals in to be honest, though, with under half of both sides' league matches last campaign seeing Over 2.5 Goals land.
I do think Brighton have enough squad depth these days to see off Portsmouth. As such, Brighton to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 5/4 (Sky Bet) looks a solid price.