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Carabao Cup Preview and Best Bets

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Morecambe vs Stoke City

Stoke assistant manager Dean Holden was really impressed with the side’s win over Blackpool at the weekend. They created a ton of chances as they had 20 shots at goal with seven of them hitting the target. He was pleased with the end product but mentioned that they should’ve scored a couple more in the 2-0 win.

The concern with these matches is that there’s always the worry that the big clubs will take it easy and have a night off. However, Holden said it’s a “big game” for them with one of the sternest faces you’ll see during his press conference. There will be changes for Stoke tonight which will most likely see D’Margio Wright-Phillips and Tyrese Campbell coming in to lead the attack. There’ll also be a wealth of experience coming into the 11 including Phil Jagielka and Sam Clucas who’ll help embed the youngsters getting minutes.

During Holden’s press conference, he mentioned that Stoke put on 11 vs 11’s in training which means any change in starting XI wouldn’t affect the players’ familiarity with each other. “We want to win every game, it’s as simple as that” was Holden’s answer to being asked about whether he wants to make progress in Cup competitions. He does have to say that of course, but he also stressed that they want to create a winning habit and competition for places, the players coming in will be desperate to impress, more so the talented youngsters.

Dean Holden doesn’t look to be taking the cup lightly.

Morecambe are yet to score a goal this season as they’ve kicked things off with a goalless draw at home to Shrewsbury followed by a damaging 3-0 defeat at Peterborough. The concern for them must be the number of chances they’re giving up. In their opening game, Shrewsbury enjoyed 58% possession and 17 efforts at goal in an away match. During Morecambe’s trip to Peterborough, the hosts had 18 shots with 9 of them hitting the target.

There’ll be over 800 Stoke fans in attendance and having looked into a Morecambe forum, I believe they’re slightly intimidated by facing a big club in their current form. “3-1 loss”, “Stoke to win 2-1”, “I think we’ll lose 2-1 unfortunately”, “Two games into the new season and we’ve had three shots on target! I’ll go for a 3-1 loss in this one” Just a few interesting comments I came across.

Walsall vs Swindon

Walsall host Swindon tonight and there’s some interesting information that I’ll just get straight into.Both clubs are in League Two and they’ve had completely different starts to the new season. Walsall have taken six points from six having beaten Hartlepool 4-0 and then Newport by a goal to nil. The Saddlers are yet to concede a goal this season.

As for Swindon, they’re yet to score a goal… They opened their campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Harrogate before playing out a goalless draw with Salford. So, the interesting information… Swindon are severely depleted for tonight’s game as they have Reece Devine, Ellis Iandolo and Ciaran Brennan all ruled out through injury. As well as that issue, they’re also missing Harry McKirdy who’s suspended for tonight. There’s also the potential that the visitors could be starting their second-choice Keeper so Walsall will be ready to pounce on Swindon’s overall misfortune.

I had a sift through Swindon Town forums and you could sense a negativity and nervousness. Swindon reverted from a back three to a back four and Saturday and apparently, they played it well. However, due to injuries, it’s looking like they may not have the personnel to play the same way tonight which is an issue. The overall feeling was that Walsall are a club on the rise with the signings that Michael Flynn has been able to add to his squad over the summer and most of the commenters believe that they’re due a defeat at the hands of Walsall.

Walsall look a big price to win the game at 2.63 but you could take safer options for an accumulator such as Double Chance or Draw no Bet at 1.44 and 1.85 respectively, but ‘to qualify’ looks like a cracking choice at 1.90. That would cover you in the event of it going to a penalty shootout.

Shrewsbury vs Carlisle

League 1 vs League 2 here in the first of the evenings EFL Cup matches. The hosts are priced at 1.67 for a win with the visitors out at 5.0 to take the victory. The bookies aren’t expecting fireworks either, with over 2.5 goals priced at 2.1, the unders line is priced at 1.73. Despite that, I think over 1.5 goals looks a good bet here at 1.36. After a winless start to the season this is a good chance for Shrewsbury to get some confidence going.

The Shrews dominated their opening game vs Morecambe with an xG of 1.78. 58% of possession and 19 shots. Their 1-0 defeat in the last match was also very unfortunate. They dominated the game and outperformed their opponents again on xG (1.48 vs 1.26). However, a red card for Tom Flanagan put a stall to their attacking threat.

They’ve got the quality to convert chances. Ryan Bowman has hit double figures in the league in each of the last 3 seasons. He’ll relish this one too, as he’s actually from Carlisle and came through the clubs youth system. He’s expected to be partnered by Daniel Udoh, who has recovered form an ankle problem.

As for The Cumbrians. They’ve produced the highest xG from open play of any side in the entire football league after 2 match days. They beat Crawley 1-0 with an xG of 2.33 where they had 9 shots on target. They then drew 1-1 with Colchester, but could’ve easily taken all 3 points as they missed 9 big chances.

Kristian Dennis, who’s scored in both games is expected to get a rest and Ryan Edmondson come in. Edmondson joined from Leeds and impressed in pre-season. The feeling is he’ll become the clubs first choice sooner rather than later. There’s also expected to be a first start of the season for Omari Patrick. He’s the best forward the club have and bas now recovered from a pre-season knock. Paul Simpson is also likely to hand a debit to Derby loanee Jack Stretton and a start to Jamie Devitt, who offers a serious set play threat.

The Carlisle boss, who revitalised the club last season when they were faced with relegation; says the side really fancy a cup run.

Paul Simpson’s side fancy a cup run, can they make it happen?

Carlisle corners could be worth a look. 1.3 for them to get over 2.5 looks safe. They took 6 & 5 in their two matches so far. They also like to make the pitch as big as possible, with two wing backs and two players off their centre forward who also like to drift in to the channels. Shrews conceded 4 & 7 corners in their two League One matches.

I don’t think this game is as one sided as the odds make it look and I’d avoid a home win at 1.67. Could be value in the visitors, if they do get beat I can’t see it being by a large margin. +2 handicap at 1.33 has some potential. Best bet her is definitely goals though.

Oxford vs Swansea

The visitors are marginal favourites for this one. Priced at 2.4 with the home side at 2.8.

Karl Robinson has said to expect ‘surprises’ in the line-up for The O’s this evening. That’s likely to mean heavy rotation from their win against Cambridge. Which’ll include a start for the 93rd minute match winner – 19 year old Tyler Goodrham. No doubt a talent but a very inexperienced player for a game against a Championship side. It’s 1 win, 1 loss for United so far, both by 1-0 score lines. They could’ve been beaten by more than that in the opener vs Derby.

19 year old Goodhram steals the 3 points for Oxford.

The Swans haven’t had a great start to their season; drawing with Rotherham before being comfortably beaten by Blackburn. They dominated the ball against Blackburn, having around 70% of possession which even prompted criticism from the Blackburn bench. Russel Martin wants his side to keep the ball and they’ll continue on that philosophy, which should make life difficult for the league one opposition.

In situations like this, you’d expect them to go strong – this is a fantastic opportunity to get the side back on track. That feeling is echoed through the media with most predictions suggesting a close to full strength Swansea line-up. This means we could see one of, I’d not both Micheal Obafemi and Joel Piroe. Who scored a combined 34 Championship goals last season. The likes of Jay Fulton, Kyle Naughton and Jamie Patterson are all also set to feature.

Goals could be a good option. You can get odds of 1.87 for over 2.5. If both Piroe and Obafemi play from the off, over 1.5 Swansea goals looks generous at odds of 2.2.

Favour has to be with the away side here and the odds of 2.4 for a win open up good opportunities to play a bit safer. The Swans are available at 1.73 for draw no bet or double chance for the most safety is priced at 1.36.

Huddersfield vs Preston

It’s an all-Championship clash here and the bookies can hardly split them as Huddersfield are 1.90 to qualify and Preston can be backed at 1.87. Preston are also slight favourites to win the match inside 90 minutes at 2.63.It’s not looking good for Huddersfield right now. They were 90 minutes from a return to the Premier League in May and now they look like they’re entering troubled times. They’ve played two and lost two in the league, and Carlos Corberan’s replacement Danny Schofield looks way out of his depth in his first full-time gig.

You can get a sense of the toxicity amongst the fans if you take a close look at the Terriers. The players were boo’d off the pitch after their first half showing during the opening game of the season at home to Burnley. They’ve also been despondent towards owner Dean Hoyle after recent decisions which includes the sales of key players to Nottingham Forest and leaving Corberan no choice but to walk out on the club.

Backing Preston to avoid defeat in this one or to qualify looks like a good call to me. Huddersfield have looked toothless going forward and they look short in attack. In their opening game vs Burnley, they had 31% possession and two shots with neither going on target. They improved slightly during the loss to Birmingham, and it was Danny Ward who scored the goal. The issue is, if you keep Danny Ward quiet, you keep Huddersfield quiet.

Huddersfield’s lack of a goal threat looks every more worrying when you consider the fact that Preston have kept clean sheets in each of their first two matches. It’s worth noting that both of those matches were 0-0, and Preston had 20 shots (six on target) in their last match vs Hull and still failed to score. Under 2.5 goals is 1.62 in tonight’s fixture and it’s hard to argue against it being a decent bet.

Going back to the toxicity amongst Huddersfield as a club, their club forum is a brutal place to be. Fans claiming they’re going for the hat-trick (Of defeats) and if you look at Huddersfield’s website for tickets this evening, nearly every single seat is still available.

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