If you’re a serious degenerate who absolutely has to bet on soccer during the week but thinks its a bad look to make wagers with parents over your kid’s youth games–then we have great news! The EFL Cup (i.e. Carabao Cup) starts in earnest this week!
Known as the Caribou Coffee Cup within the non-existent office of High Press Soccer, last year’s Carabao Cup was won by an insecure-and-desperate-for-affirmation-at-all-costs Manchester City squad.
They’re obviously favorites again this season. Here’s a look at some of the key title odds. We’ll update the table as the year progresses.
Carabao Cup Title Odds
|Manchester City +300||Liverpool +750|
|Tottenham +1000||Manchester United +1100|
|Chelsea +1200||Arsenal +1400|
|Everton +1800||Leicester City +1800|
|Wolves +2000||West Ham +2800|
|Watford +3300||Aston Villa +4000|
|Bournemouth +4000||Brighton +4000|
|Southampton +4000||Sheffield United +5000|
|Nottingham Forest +10000||Stoke City +10000|
|Luton +12500||Preston +12500|
|Sheffield Wednesday +15000||Reading +15000|
|Portsmouth +25000||Sunderland +25000|
What is the Carabao Cup?
Great question! The Carabao Cup (or the EFL Cup /League Cup if you go by the non-sponsor name) is a
totally meaningless cash grab tournament open to any team in the top 4 English divisions. It started in 1960. A total of 92 teams compete in it.
Liverpool have the most EFL Cup trophies with 8 (their last being in 2011-12). Only Premier League teams like Manchester City go all out really trying to win this now from the get-go. Seriously they’ve won four of the last five. It’s kind of adorable how much the Carabao Cup means to them as an organization. That happens when you keep bottling in the Champions League.
How to bet the Carabao Cup in the US
Oh wait, you’re still here?
In the US, you can legally wager on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Liverpool are five clear of Manchester City. They are 10 (!!!) clear of Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.
The only thing that should change this week is either Man U or Arsenal (or both if they draw) will fall further behind. Here’s a look at Premier League Matchday 7 lines.
2019-20 Premier League Matchday 6 Lines
|Saturday, September 28th|
|Sheffield United +850||Draw +410||Liverpool -305|
|Aston Villa +135||Draw +235||Burnley +200|
|Bournemouth +135||Draw +275||West Ham +180|
|Chelsea -230||Draw +350||Brighton +600|
|Crystal Palace +100||Draw +255||Norwich +275|
|Tottenham -245||Draw +360||Southampton +750|
|Wolves -112||Draw +260||Watford +300|
|Everton +900||Draw +450||Manchester City -335|
|Sunday, September 29th|
|Leicester -195||Draw +300||Newcastle +600|
|Monday, September 30th|
|Manchester United +125||Draw +260||Arsenal +205|
Odds & Ends
- Monday’s match between Manchester United and Arsenal has to be the marquee fixture of the week right? Two major brands in decline, yes. Both suck at 8 points after 6 games and 10 behind Liverpool, yes. Both desperate for a manager-affirming win, yes. However, while we’re on record with xG/xGA/xPTS having some flaws, Man U have been exceedingly unlucky this season. Their underlying stats have them at over 13 points, good for second in the EPL (ahead of Liverpool). So Man U will win this home game, right? Nah. It’ll be a tied. UPDATE: On Friday, reports that Pogba, Rashford and Martial will miss this mean it’s another L for Man U.
- Speaking of the fifth best team of all-time, Liverpool travel to play a frisky Sheffield United team. We’ll preview this later in the week, but expect another dogfight and gritty close game. Manchester City travel to player the EPL’s homeless man’s version of Barcelona: Everton (i.e. a talented squad with a manager not up to snuff).
- The unstoppable losing force vs the immovable losing object face off as Wolverhampton try to get on the board with their first win against a down-beaten Watford. Wolves will prevail…unless they tie…just to extend their fan’s misery.
- And the match we’re most excited about is actually…Bournemouth vs West Ham? You bet your ass it is! One of these two squads will solidify their status as a top 4 contender. Tune in to this one, it’ll be fun.
Where to Bet Premier League in the US
In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Clubs across the big five European leagues in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France are continuing to splash the cash. A study by the CIES Football Observatory found that there was an uptick in transfer fee inflation in 2019 of 31% year on year.
The hike in transfer deal prices was the largest recorded since the 32% increase that was uncovered between 2014 and 2015. The observatory has been analyzing transfer fees since 2011, and has established that prices have spiraled by a staggering 181% since its investigations began.
A record level of spending was found for throughout this year, reaching 6.6 billion euros, with 5.78 billion euros being spent this summer, plus a further 835 million euros in the January transfer window, eclipsing the 6.06 billion euros in 2017 that was paid out for new players.
Premier League clubs lavishly spend
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Premier League were found to be the biggest spenders, with an outlay of 1.9 billion euros, even though figure represented a decline from the 2.2 billion euros that was spent last year.
In contrast, in three of the five leagues there was year on year spending records.
La Liga spending crept just past the 1.5 billion euro mark, an increase of just over 200 million euros, while Serie A also hit 1.5 billion euros with an increase of 333 million disbursed year on year. Inter Milan’s club record 80 million euro purchase of Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United escalating Italian clubs’ expenditure.
In the Bundesliga, transfer fee spending reached 880 million euros, a rise of 184 million euros from 2018, outstripping the 2017 record of 797 million euros being spent on team improvements.
Television rights fuel transfer inflation
The revenue created by broadcasting rights packages is undoubtedly a major reason why so much money is being sanctioned for player transfers.
Sky TV, BT have been joined by online streaming service Amazon in buying coverage packages for Premier League matches during 2019-22 that total around £5 billion. Sky TV secured four of the seven packages available for just under £3.6 billion to show 128 live matches per season.
Yet the current agreed is deal is down from the £5.14 billion paid for televised games between 2015 and 2019.
Overseas companies have parted with an extra £4.2 billion to broadcast Premier League matches, resulting in all coverage packages totaling a stunning £9,2 billion.
La Liga has also been boosted by the deal brokered with Telefonica, who paid 3.4 billion euros to air the bulk of matches in a three season deal beginning this year.
Mark Littlewood, the director general of London based free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, reflected: “A one off large increase in spending does not mean this is a trend, a few big signings can account for that, we will not necessarily see this happening year on year.”
“I don’t believe that football finances across the five leagues is tapped out, and its still a growing industry.”
“Yes at some point the TV and merchandising markets will become saturated, but I still think that the top clubs will become more affluent over the next five to ten years.”
He added: “As for salaries in the Premier League they are now catching up with premium US sport salaries paid to NFL or basketball players. If you look back 25 years ago there was a considerable gap to what a European footballer was being paid in comparison.The Premier League has a wider audience in contrast to the NFL, and has more of a global footprint.”
“Often the amount of money that is spent is translated to how many points that you earn over a season, someone like Wilfried Zaha could be worth five extra points that may result in Champions League qualification, and the tens of millions in revenue that arrive from Champions League football.”
Premier League clubs in the transfer red
The vast amounts of wealth that Premier League clubs have been allowed to accumulate has led to a greater appetite for speculation on players, which is why the report revealed that English top flight clubs since 2011 have a negative transfer fee balance of just under 6.5 billion euros.
The largest deficit was found last year with transfer balance of 1.2 billion euros in the red.
Serie A follows the Premier League with a transfer deficit of a considerably less 1.2 billion euros over eight years, while Ligue One was the only one of the leagues to reach a surplus ,which amounted to 359 million euros.
“Its an eye watering amount of money which is involved, but that does not mean that the market is malfunctioning.” Littlewood continued.
“It was also found that after Manchester City has spent £57 million on Aymeric Laporte, that they spent more on their defence than the defence budget of 52 nations, this was according to research by The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.”
“Although this is wholly sustainable from City’s point of view, due to their capacity to create wealth.”
“Premier League clubs are not cruising to financial crises, if revenue was to fall then even the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool would cut salaries, and sell players such as Virgil Van Dijk.”
Overall during 2011 to 2019 just under 35% of the transfer fees paid were received by other clubs in the top five leagues, with just over 31% remaining in the same league.
More positively, lower division clubs received a portion of the outlays, with 8.1% of transfer expenditure welcomed by lower division clubs in the same country, with a further 1.4% finding its way to smaller clubs in other big five leagues, revealing that there is some trickle down benefit from the huge sums involved.
Clubs are stretching themselves say observatory
The CIES Football Observatory concluded its report by opining that due to clubs increasingly spreading transfer payments out over years, many clubs are now finding the themselves at their financial limits.
In a speculative environment, with the profits made from selling players incorporated into clubs’ financial models, clubs are risking their independence and competitiveness.
This begs the question whether the transfer market needs to be calmed, and how effective the break even Financial Fair Play ruling actually is.
Although Mark Littlewood is not too concerned over the report’s thoughts, he concluded: “I am not sure that you need to do anything, financial stability of clubs is not the same as financial fair play. If I was a multi billionaire, why is it unfair to place a billion in the transfer kitty?”
“The point is that is a club spending sustainably, I would have more worries over clubs in hock to owners who are borrowing and spending more than their means.”
“The transfer deficits are broadly in proportion of health in the leagues, wealthier leagues are running deficits compared to poorer leagues which are running surpluses, this is not abnormal.”
On Saturday, Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez went down with a scary knee injury. We don’t yet know the timetable, but no one in Atlanta seems optimistic, and it’s possible that Martinez will miss weeks or months.
Obviously, Martinez is a significant player whose injury carries significant consequences. He was in the middle of a 15-game goal streak when he went down, and he would have at least come close to beating out Carlos Vela and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Golden Boot. Atlanta’s attack changes completely without their star.
This is the backdrop for a crucial midweek match between Atlanta and NYCFC. A NYC win would all but seal them first place in the Eastern Conference, putting them ahead of Atlanta by seven points. If Atlanta wins, though, they would pull within one, and the Five Stripes’ final two games (against Montreal and New England) are both winnable. NYC face third-place Philly on Decision Day.
NYCFC vs Atlanta United Match Preview
First in the East gets you a first-round bye in the playoffs, which is extremely valuable. Wednesday’s game might be the biggest of the season for both teams. Let’s run through some tactical points:
1. Atlanta will likely play a three-at-the-back. NYCFC might as well, as they used something resembling a 3-4-3 in a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas on Sunday.
2. Dome Torrent’s Light Blues are MLS’s second-best team right now, and it probably isn’t close. They haven’t lost since August 11 (when they played at Atlanta) and they are the only team still in mathematical range of the Supporters’ Shield. Their attack is coordinated and deadly, and their possession is fluid and free-flowing. Maxi Moralez is a dark-horse MVP candidate, the orchestrator and maestro with high-volume possession influence.
While striker Heber is out with a collarbone injury, Valentin Castellanos is filling in capably at forward. Castellanos can score (he has 11 goals on the season), but most importantly he can do all the work of a No. 9. He occupies defenders to free space for Moralez and he makes the right channel runs, assuring that NYCFC’s attack keeps humming.
Atlanta will worry about the secondary scoring NYC can generate, with Moralez, Alexandru Mitrita, Anton Tinnerholm, and possibly Ismael Tajouri-Shradi off the bench able to put the ball in the net. Many teams struggle to find wingers and creators who can carve out chances in front of goal and run at defenders. ATL’s wingbacks (particularly the active Julian Gressel) will have to worry about NYC’s ability to get numbers in attack.
3. What will Atlanta do without Josef? It’s a good bet that Frank de Boer will start Brandon Vazquez up top as a target forward. When Martinez was out for three games in late June and early July, Vazquez started all three games, playing well enough to earn a couple more starts alongside Martinez in later July.
Vazquez is obviously a downgrade from Josef in terms of scoring, but the biggest concern could be the loss of a gravitational force up top. Martinez draws a ton of a attention, and he’s such a smart and savvy runner that defenses are constantly preoccupied with him. Vazquez won’t have that ability, and he’s not an especially fast or agile player to make up for it, nor is he a great passer of the ball.
A more intriguing option is Hector Villalba, who does not seem to be a favorite of de Boer. Villalba is lightning fast and a winger at heart, and he has a very good scoring record in MLS. He may not be a natural striker, and it’s not easy to see de Boer handing Villalba a start, but Tito playing up front ahead of Pity Martinez and Darlington Nagbe would be fun to watch.
I’ll give the edge here to NYCFC, who are playing at home and facing an Atlanta team missing their best player.
Another match, another Christian Pulisic no-show.
The highly-touted American didn’t manage to get on the pitch again on Sunday, sitting out Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
Pulisic has played in four of six Premier League matches this season, starting three. However, it’s been three matches since Pulisic has seen the field. He didn’t play last weekend vs Wolverhampton. He missed making his 2019-20 UEFA Champions League debut for Chelsea in their midweek loss to Valencia.
So why isn’t Christian Pulisic playing more?
Frank Lampard explains why Pulisic isn’t playing
After the Liverpool loss, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard explained why Pulisic isn’t playing. The long and the short of it is: he’s not ready and Lampard has better options.
“[Pulisic] wasn’t a victim of the injuries. I’ve got a squad to pick from. Before that he had played a few games. Willian has come back in and been sharp and looked good. I decided to go with Mason [Mount] today, because we needed to stay strong in midfield and play Mason high up the pitch. That is my choice to make. He will get ample opportunities. He is a young player as well as everyone is talking about Mason and Tammy and Fikayo. He is actually as young, if not younger, than some of them. His chances will come.”
Does Pulisic deserve to be playing more?
This is the more difficult question. On one hand, when you invest the kind of money Chelsea did on him, yeah, he should be playing as much as possible.
On the other, Lampard wasn’t in charge when that acquisition was made. And while Pulisic has been just fine, Lampard does have better options.
The three best statistical performers via WhoScored for Chelsea are all 21 and under. Tammy Abraham has been one of the Premier League’s best goal scorers this season. And Mason Mount has been one of the best players, period.
Ross Barkley is the best statistical and positional comp to Pulisic, and they’ve played the same number of games (Pulisic has played more minutes though).
Keep in mind, something similar happened to Pulisic last season at Borussia Dortmund. While struggling with nagging injuries, Jadon Sancho emerged as one of the Bundesliga’s best players completely outshined the American. He drastically cut in to Pulisic’s minutes. This doesn’t make Pulisic a poor player. But it illustrates he has a ways to go and must earn all of his minutes like anybody else.
And the reality is, Pulisic is getting reasonable amounts of playing time. Lampard has an enviable task of integrating and developing a wealth of young players. If hie manages it right, it’ll pay huge dividends for Chelsea in a couple of years.