The EFL Cup begins in earnest on Tuesday evening, and we have a bumper-packed night of first round action to look forward to.
With that in mind, we have highlighted four crunch games and this four-fold pays out at odds of 30/1 with Unibet.
- Queens Park Rangers to beat Charlton Athletic
- Wigan to beat Fleetwood Town
- Stevenage to beat Reading
- Norwich to beat Birmingham
Queens Park Rangers to beat Charlton Athletic
Charlton and QPR have a storied history, but this will be their first meeting in two years. On that day, Charlton snatched a 1-0 win thanks to an early Darren Pratley strike.
Now, there is a bit of a gulf in class between the two sides with Charlton — who are in League One — trying to get back into the Championship. It will be interesting to see the strength of the teams that are fielded, and perhaps Charlton may be more focussed on promotion rather than a good cup run.
QPR recovered well from an opening-day defeat to Blackburn with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough last weekend, and they may have the wind in their sails. QPR should have enough to overcome the Addicks at the Valley.
Wigan to beat Fleetwood Town
Wigan have had a steady, if not unremarkable start to the Championship campaign with two draws from their first two games. Nevertheless, they have looked solid at the back, conceding just once.
Fleetwood shouldn’t be completely written off as they enjoyed a decent run in the competition last season, reaching the third round before they fell to Everton.
Wigan are more accustomed to getting to the latter stages of the EFL Cup, but they averted disaster when they prevailed in an epic penalty shoot-out in the first round against Hull 12 months ago.
You imagine Wigan will be pumped for a trip to Highbury, and they won’t come up a cropper.
Stevenage to beat Reading
The beauty of the EFL Cup is that you can get some big upsets early on, and if Stevenage were to dump out Reading, it would be a giant-killing.
However, confidence is high in the Stevenage camp after yielding maximum points from their first two League Two games of the campaign.
Stevenage have struck three times in the last 10 minutes of both of their games this season, and so they have a penchant for late drama. Luke Norris and Jamie Reid will be instrumental, and Stevenage will relish a trip to the Madejski Stadium. I fancy this to be one of the headline performances of the first round.
Norwich to beat Birmingham
Norwich have let the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League last season linger, and they haven’t been at the races in the Championship this term, and they are hovering just above the drop zone.
Birmingham, meanwhile, have been more assured and they have picked up four points from their first two games, but as we know, form can go out of the window in cup games.
Norwich in front of their home fans will get their act together in this all-Championship tie and sail through into round two.