EFL Cup: Focussed Foxes fancied to progress


THE 3rd Round of the EFL Cup gets underway on Tuesday night.  James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) analyses the odds on offer and shares his best bets.

Luton v Leicester | Tuesday 24th September 2019, 19:45

The next round of the EFL Cup is upon us and Tuesday night presents us with some opportunities to bulk our bank balance. Having said that, these rounds are often hard to predict, with even teams in the Championship now prepared to tinker with their line-ups with half an eye on upcoming league action.

For Luton, you do just wonder if they will make a change or two. They’ve lost their last two league fixtures, conceding three goals each time. Graeme Jones will be under no illusions that remaining a Championship club is the priority, but I really dislike talk like that ahead of cup fixtures! What Luton will be prepared to do is have a go, even if they make some alterations.

Leicester are obviously the Premier League side in this equation and Brendan Rodgers is someone else who is seemingly wanting to give themselves every chance of lifting this trophy. I think their starting line-up in the last round at Newcastle says everything you need to know. It was practically a full strength side, with the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Jamie Vardy and the like all starting.

With that in mind, I don’t see them making wholesale switches for this one just because an out of form Championship side are next up. Rodgers will have done his homework and he’ll know Luton are dangerous considering how they play. Perhaps above all though, there is some weaknesses where the Premier League side will look to make their class count.

Nine of Luton’s 10 matches this season ended Over 2.5 Goals. All but three witnessed both teams scoring as well. Jones is implementing his own style at Kenilworth Road and clearly they are still coming to terms with that, at a higher level. Leicester are obviously the next level above, and Luton will need to be at their very, very best to get anything here.

The Foxes are in great form, with only a narrow loss at Old Trafford their one loss in the current campaign. Confidence couldn’t be higher after coming from behind to defeat Tottenham on Saturday. They’ve already been to Sheffield United and won, and I can see some similarities between them and Luton. I think tactically this game will suit Leicester well and they should get some chances.

Three of Leicester’s last four top flight games contained Over 2.5 Goals, and I think you know which way we’re going to go here. Leicester to win and Over 2.5 Goals will be our play. It is a 5/4 (Betfred) shot, which won’t get you rich, but I’d be amazed if this didn’t contain a few goals, and if it did it really should be suiting Leicester.

Watford v Swansea | Tuesday 24th September 2019, 19:45

Some Premier League clubs probably view the EFL Cup as a bit of a distraction but I think Watford will just be glad to get back onto the pitch on Tuesday night. They had an afternoon to forget up in Manchester on Saturday when losing 8-0.

The Hornets will fancy their chances of improving upon that, unless they start feeling sorry for themselves. Watford reached the FA Cup final last season, so they’re got good cup pedigree at least.

Swansea have started life under Steve Cooper better than many anticipated, but the Manager of the Month curse has probably struck him after failing to score in their last two. They did enough in the home defeat to Nottingham Forest and away draw to Bristol City to at least score however, so they won’t worry too much about that. They’ll see this as a chance to prove themselves against a Premier League side; a vulnerable Premier League side.

Team line-ups are always especially key in this cup competition so do consider that before making your selections. In this case, I do wonder if Quique Sánchez Flores will possibly go stronger than he’d have initially felt following the Man City horror-show. There’s also the aspect of giving those fringe players a chance to stake a claim after the regulars let themselves down. Still, it was Man City, a game they were not expected to get anything out of.

I do think Watford will look to put on a bit of a show here. Team selection again will depend on my strength of confidence behind that. Swansea themselves I expect to make a few switches having done so in the previous rounds. There is a midweek league programme next week too, so Cooper will look to save some of his regulars I feel.

In normal circumstances, Watford look decent value as they’re been priced up more after losing 8-0, but these cup games in these rounds especially are so hard to predict. It isn’t quite close enough to the latter stages to start fielding the big boys more regularly.

Watford ultimately aren’t used to winning this season, having only defeated League One Coventry in the last round of the EFL Cup. Swansea have already been away to form sides like Leeds and QPR and gained victories.

Team news will have such a big call on this sort of game, so I’ll look towards the goals line as my bet. I do like the look of Both Teams To Score at 3/4 (Bet365).

Swansea generally play the same both home and away, and games are more prone to be open on the road. Watford aren’t really free-flowing themselves so may be second best in possession at times, but they’ll have their moments. Watford have at least scored in four of their last five, only keeping a clean sheet against Coventry.

Best Bets

Luton v Leicester – Leicester to win and Over 2.5 Goals (5/4 Betfred)

Watford v Swansea – Both Teams To Score (3/4 Bet365)

About Author

Since leaving university I've worked as a Research/Football Performance/Betting Analyst. I live and breath all things football. This has gradually helped me with my betting when looking for value and ultimately, winning selections. I've experienced both the bad, and more recently, the good supporting Lincoln City, with whom my weekends aren't the same without.

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