The EFL Cup (known to English fans as The League Cup) takes center stage as the big guns of the Premier League face off against lower-division opposition (or fellow EPL rivals) in the competition’s third round.

The competition has long suffered from an inferiority problem. It doesn’t have the prestige of The FA Cup and it doesn’t offer the same rewards as finishing fourth in the Premier League – a feat some clubs celebrate like winning a trophy. (I’m looking at you, Arsenal.)

Nonetheless, it’s a competition that still has its moments, usually when teams from a lower division step up to take on their more highly-vaunted Premier League counterparts.

So, where are the most likely giant-killings on this week’s matchlist? Here’s our midweek coupon, where I’ve highlighted in green those teams who are best placed to cause a Cup upset (or a ‘Cupset’ if you’re writing cringeworthy tabloid headlines) or who are simply an attractive price given the conditions.

Tuesday September 19

Aston Villa (+150) Draw (+240) Middlesbrough (+200)
Bournemouth (+105) Draw (+250) Brighton & Hove Albion (+300)
Brentford (+162) Draw (+260) Norwich City (+170)
Bristol City (+280) Draw (+260) Stoke City (+105)
Burnley (-118) Draw (+280) Leeds United (+350)
Crystal Palace (-118) Draw (+260) Huddersfield (+375)
Leicester City (+210) Draw (+260) Liverpool (+137)
West Ham United (-275) Draw (+425) Bolton Wanderers (+900)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (-200) Draw (+375) Bristol Rovers (+600)
Reading (+270) Draw (+260) Swansea City (+110)
Tottenham Hotspur (-900) Draw (+1100) Barnsley (+2500)

Wednesday September 20

Arsenal (-800) Draw (+1000) Doncaster Rovers (+2000)
Chelsea (-700) Draw (+900) Nottingham Forest (+2000)
Everton (-350) Draw (+500) Sunderland (+1100)
Manchester United (-800) Draw (+1000) Burton Albion (+2000)
West Bromwich Albion (+1000) Draw (+500) Manchester City (-334)
Odds via Bet365

Key conditions to look for:

  • Struggling Premier League sides and teams who can do without the fixture pile-up
  • In-form lower-division teams at home
  • Solid lower-division sides playing away at Premier League strugglers
  • Teams who traditionally don’t put out strong lineups in the League Cup

Initial thoughts:

  • Bristol City are unbeaten in their last five and face a Stoke side who haven’t won in their last three and who may take a pragmatic approach to the game
  • Leeds United may have lost their last game, but they’re flying at the top of the Championship. They’re an excellent price to beat Burnley, who could do without the distraction of the EFL Cup
  • Middlesbrough and Leicester look well-placed to pick up victories at an attractive price against either inferior (Aston Villa) or potentially less-motivated (Liverpool) opposition

Follow Simon Head on Twitter @simonhead.


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