EFL Cup: Get with the goals on Wednesday night

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THE 2nd Round of the EFL Cup continues on Wednesday night.  James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) analyses the odds on offer and shares his best bets.

Rotherham v Sheffield Wednesday | Wednesday 28th August 2019, 19:45

We have a South Yorkshire derby on Wednesday evening, and a big crowd will be in attendance at the New York Stadium to witness Rotherham entertaining Sheffield Wednesday, in a game where both will view this as a winnable opportunity.

It has been a funny old start to life back in League One for Paul Warne and his Millers. They have two away wins to their name, and a solitary home loss to Lincoln. They also lost their only other home match versus Man Utd U21s in the EFL Trophy, so they’re still searching for their maiden home victory of the campaign.

That will come as a surprise considering 29 of Rotherham's 40 points in the Championship last season came on home soil. Therefore, one thing is for certain, they’re be even more motivated to get one over their local rivals this Wednesday, versus Wednesday.

Lee Bullen remains in caretaker charge at Hillsborough and still remains hopeful of getting the gig full-time. He has enjoyed a pretty productive start to the season, although they have suffered back-to-back away losses recently, including at Preston this weekend.

However, these were close matches and another day they could have got something, so Bullen deserves credit for stepping into Steve Bruce’s shoes when he did, which can’t have been easy. He is likely make a change or two for this match considering their squad depth and the schedule, which does open the door to a potential upset. Saying that, he really wants the job, and knows a win in a local derby will further strengthen his case.

Team news is also key in the cup games, especially in the early rounds. We can safely expect the Owls to make a couple of alterations, but not to the point where they will be depleted and severely weakened in all departments. Rotherham will give this a real go, as they always do under Warne. They’ll be excited by this challenge, whilst all the pressure is really on Wednesday.

It is a game both will feel as though they can win, and neither will look to settle for penalties at all. This is more likely to be open than cagey, so you’d like to think both goalkeepers will be worked. Both encounters last season in the Championship finished 2-2, with both matches full of action, goals and talking points. I see no reason for that not to continue.

Both Teams To Score is a nice little 4/5 (Bet365) shot. That is despite 4/5 of Rotherham’s and 3/5 of Sheff Wed’s games this season not actually seeing each side net, but the dynamics of this one and the knockout element will make this a good watch.

QPR v Portsmouth | Wednesday 28th August 2019, 19:45

Mark Warburton has certainly made an impression since being given the job at Loftus Road as Queens Park Rangers head coach. The former Brentford, Rangers and Nottingham Forest manager is installed a style of play by which we have become accustomed to his former teams playing. When they are good, boy they are good. We have seen that in patches of the current campaign, and confidence will be high after a good weekend home win over Wigan.

Portsmouth, on the other hand, had no game at the weekend, which will serve as a slight advantage to the lower league club going into this clash in the capital. With QPR more than likely to make a few alterations to their starting XI, Pompey boss Kenny Jackett will possibly be more tempted to field a stronger team than if his side were in action last Saturday.

The League One side haven’t pulled up any trees so far, winning only one of their opening four league fixtures, but they did impress when knocking out Championship outfit Birmingham City in the first round of the EFL Cup.

As you’ll see plenty of betting sites basing selections around the cup games; you’ll be common to hearing us tell you that team news really is the key. This sort of game is especially prevalent to that. QPR will of course want to win, even more so at home. Yet facing a lower league side can sometimes tempt the manager to make plenty of alterations to the point where a team is thrown together.

Portsmouth are by no means guaranteed to field their ‘A-team’, but I feel not playing at the weekend will make this a closer match that what it suggests on paper.

These two met in the FA Cup last season, with Pompey drawing the home match 1-1 and QPR progressing 2-0 in the replay. No replay is possible for this particular game, and I don’t think teams are really in this to play for penalties, not when there is only a division between the two. Portsmouth knocking out QPR here would not be the biggest shock in the world.

A bit like the Rotherham v Sheff Wed game, I can see this one being more of an end-to-end type of contest than a snore-fest. Games at Loftus Road to me always seem to fall into this category, and Warburton has bemoaned the fact his side do need to sharpen up at the back, whilst looking more than lively going forward.

Pompey will feel though they have something to prove to their fans and a strong showing is their main aim. Both Teams To Score at 8/11 (Betfred) is another nice little play in a game which could go either way.

Best Bets

Rotherham v Sheff Wed – Both Teams To Score (4/5 Bet365)

QPR v Portsmouth – Both Teams To Score (8/11 Betfred)

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