Carabao Cup Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Can Liverpool, Mohamed Salah Get Best of Chelsea in EFL Cup Final? (Feb. 27)
Peter Powell – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Liverpool stars Sadio Mané, left, and Mohamed Salah.
- Chelsea takes on fellow Premier League giant Liverpool in Sunday's EFL Cup finale at Wembley Stadium.
- Mohamed Salah and the Reds are +135 ML favorites against the Blues, but who strikes first in this heavyweight affair?
- Nick Hennion breaks down the meeting below and delivers his favorite prop bet for the Carabao Cup title match.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+110 / -140)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
The English Football League will award the nation’s first trophy of the 2021-22 campaign Sunday when Liverpool battles Chelsea for the Carabao Cup crown.
The Reds arrive at the final after knocking out Arsenal in the semifinal round, while the Blues eased past Tottenham to claim their place at Wembley Stadium. Chelsea, which last won the Cup in 2015, faces a Liverpool side that last triumphed in 2012.
This marks the third head-to-head meeting between the sides this season. The previous two clashes finished level — 1-1 draw at Anfield and 2-2 tie at Stamford Bridge. However, Liverpool won both meetings on expected goals.
Defense Carrying Chelsea This Season
Unsurprisingly for Chelsea, its run through the Carabao Cup has come largely in part because of its defensive play.
Through five fixtures, the Blues have only conceded two total goals and have dominated the ball, averaging a 65-percent possession share in ties against Aston Villa, Southampton, Brentford and Tottenham.
Perhaps its most impressive performances came in the semifinal against Tottenham. Chelsea never allowed a concession and limited its London rival to only 20 total shots across two legs of play. Further, Chelsea created five big scoring chances in total, while only allowing a single big opportunity to Spurs, per fotmob.com.
That represents an upward tick in Chelsea’s defensive performances lately. Since the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinal, the Blues have conceded only four goals and kept nine consecutive opponents under one xG i the process.
Even just considering Chelsea’s last five outings in the Premier League and Champions League, its defense has played brilliantly. The club has conceded only 2.8 total xG and limited two top-six clubs (Manchester City and Tottenham) to only 1.1 combined xG, per fbref.com.
That said, its offense hasn’t looked great in those same five outings. The Blues are creating only 0.9 xG per 90 minutes and haven’t created more than 1.2 xG during that span.
Liverpool Offense Continues to Deliver Heat
Whereas Chelsea has emphasized defense to reach the final, Liverpool’s path has stressed strong attacking play.
The Reds had an easier path to this point, taking out Norwich City, Preston North End, Leicester City and Arsenal, but scored at least two goals in all but one of their five EFL Cup outings to date.
It also cleaned up against Arsenal, winning not only the tie but the shots, shots on target and big scoring chances battles, per fotmob.com.
Similarly to Chelsea, those offensive metrics are representative of a strong run of form for Liverpool in the past month. Just in its last six EPL fixtures — all six of which were wins — manager Jürgen Klopp’s side has generated 2.86 xG per 90 minutes.
Granted, all six of those matches have come against bottom-half foes, but the Reds have still played outstanding against fellow top-six clubs. Through six such EPL games, Liverpool is averaging 2.1 xG per 90 minutes, per fbref.com.
However, Klopp’s defensive units have simultaneously posted below-average defensive metrics in those fixtures, allowing 1.43 xG per 90 minutes in those same six matches.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I have quite a few leans here, but all are priced higher than I’m willing to lay.
Ask me who I think is lifting the trophy and I’d tell you Liverpool, but -150 is too steep. That same number on Liverpool’s Draw No Bet line gives no value, as I’m definitely wary of a draw here after 90 minutes plus stoppage time.
If Liverpool gets to +145 on the ML, I’d consider buying at that price. However, much like the aforementioned prices, the implied odds I have associated with Liverpool winning in regular time doesn’t give enough value to bet just yet.
That said, there’s one specific prop market that caught my eye: first team to score. In that market, the Reds are only -130, which is a much more palatable price in my opinion. Even though it conceded first at Anfield, my review of both fixtures suggest Liverpool should have scored first in both games.
Given Chelsea’s lackluster offensive play recently, I see it having a hard time opening the scoring. Combine that with manager Thomas Tuchel’s issues at wing back and I don’t know how Chelsea limits Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah in this showdown.
Liverpool has opened the scoring in three of four Carabao Cup ties, as well as in six of its last seven Premier League matches. With that in mind, I would have this price closer to -140, making this a good compromise.
Pick: Liverpool to Score First (-130)
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