THE EFL Cup 1st Round takes centre-stage on Tuesday night. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets.
Barnsley v Carlisle | Tuesday 13th August 2019, 19:45
There’s two leagues difference between Barnsley and Carlisle and I’d expect that gulf in class to tell on Tuesday night.
The Tykes were superb in gaining promotion last season and have stepped up admirably with decent performances in their first two games in the Championship. There’s been outgoings but Barnsley are renowned for their savvy recruitment and they have an exciting young squad this term.
Daniel Stendel may shake up his side a bit with the likes of Conor Chaplin, Mamadou Thiam, Callum Styles and George Miller potentially getting a start here but I’d imagine visitors Carlisle will make a few changes too.
Steven Pressley has had a relatively tough time getting players to Brunton Park. Byron Webster looks a solid pick up on a free but Nat Knight-Percival has a woeful campaign at Bradford last season. Up front they still have Hallam Hope and have brought in Olufela Olomola but barring them too there’s a real lack of proven goalscorers.
Even if Barnsley play an alternative side, they will play with a high-tempo nevertheless and though odds of 3/5 will tempt many in we can boost that to a near even-money shot by adding Over 1 Goal to the home win using Bet365’s BetBuilder feature.
Blackpool v Macclesfield | Tuesday 13th August 2019, 19:45
Blackpool look like a real dark horse this year in League One. There’s a buzz back at Bloomfield Road with various ownership problems being resolved over the summer, bums are back on seats and it’s seemingly given a real boost to the playing squad.
Simon Grayson is back at the helm and it’s a good fit; he did well there last time around and despite poor recent stints with Sunderland and Bradford, he can be somewhat excused with calamities upstairs at both of those clubs whilst there.
I like what they’ve done in the transfer market too – the Tangerines have managed to hold onto talented centre half Curtis Tilt and despite losing the excellent Marc Bola they’ve been able to add greater depth.
Attacking options look plentiful for Grayson. Joe Nuttall comes in from Blackburn and he’s looking to really kick-start his career but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him when he’s come in. Armand Gnaduillet is a massive handful and he’s improved his all-round game since his Chesterfield days, Ryan Hardie comes south of the border with a lot of potential and Nathan Delfouneso has started the season strongly. Harry Pritchard and Marty Virtue-Thick are both tipped for impressive campaigns and Sulley Kaikai looks a superb addition if he can stay fit.
On Tuesday they host a Macclesfield side that have been tipped by many for a return to the National League. Finances are extremely tight at Moss Rose and Sol Campbell may have to repeat lasts year’s heroics again in 2019/20. Sol has done a great job so far though and he was effusive in his praise of the players after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Leyton Orient.
However, they’re sorely lacking strength in numbers and strikers Joe Ironside and Jacob Blyth haven’t proven themselves in the EFL, so survival is surely the key for the Silkmen this season.
Blackpool, who have kicked off the season with two wins, are rated as 8/13 favourites with the bookies here. However, I’m not expecting a real rout, Macclesfield will go away from home this season with a focus on making as difficult as possible for their opponents. They were unlucky at Exeter on opening day before going down 1-0 late on.
Therefore, I’ll boost the 8/13 to 20/21 by throwing in Under 5 Goals with the home win once again using Bet365’s BetBuilder.
Middlesbrough v Crewe | Tuesday 13th August 2019, 19:45
Crewe are a side I’m intrigued by this season. There’s a lot of young talent there but it was veteran striker Chris Porter who did the damage for the Railwaymen away in their victory at Oldham on Saturday.
The Alex did lose on opening day 3-0 at home to Plymouth but the Cheshire side more than matched the Pilgrims on the data and could’ve got a point on another day. They’re a brave team and I think they’ll relish their trip to the Riverside.
We’ve seen Boro have a change in tactics over the summer to a more attacking approach and their attacking potential was on show on opening day vs Luton but it also highlighted their defensive deficiencies. Crewe will take that as a real boost and I can’t see them going to Teesside with a defensive set up.
The main bet that stands out is the 4/5 from Marathon on three or more goals to be scored. It’s also landed in both Crewe games and although they’re good going forward they’ve never really been strong at the back.
One player that really impressed in pre-season was Oliver Finney. David Artell couldn’t speak highly enough of the 21-year-old after his hat-trick at Altrincham and with a lack of strikers at Alex he could be given the nod in the cup games, it’s unlikely 35-yea- old Porter will play Saturday-Tuesday all season so I think Finney has a good chance of starting here.
If he does then the 13/1 (Betfair) on him notching is simply too big. There are defenders shorter than him which doesn’t quite add up and I’ll have a punt on the youngster to get himself on the scoresheet here.