We preview three second-round ties in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, including Burton v Aston Villa, with four best bets in total.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Middlesbrough v Barnsley
- 6pm BST kick-off
- Match Odds: Home 6/5 | Draw 9/4 | Away 21/10
These are two sides who really struggle in front of goal, especially Barnsley, but should excel defensively this season.
Both began their Sky Bet Championship campaigns with 1-0 defeats, Boro at Watford and the Tykes to Luton, while their league meetings last term saw two home wins by that scoreline.
Middlesbrough’s 4-3 win over League One Shrewsbury in the opening round was an astonishing anomaly; Barnsley’s 1-0 triumph over fellow Championship club Nottingham Forest was not.
Boro were inconsistent in the eight games Neil Warnock had in charge at the end of 2019/20, with in perhaps a surprise that his team only managed three clean sheets. But as a manager with a reputation for building successful teams based on reliable defence, expect that to change.
All told, both teams have scored in half of Middlesbrough past 12 matches, so that market very much depends on their opponent. When we look at Barnsley, Boro being a coin toss is enough.
Only twice in the Tykes’ last 17 games have both teams scored, and yet BTTS – No is priced at evens.
I actually think under 1.5 goals at 9/4 is a massive price given Barnsley’s consistency for low-scoring matches – it’s happened in five of their past six matches, and seven of their past 11.
The heavily congested fixture list does make a raft of changes on both sides a strong possibility, but a lack of fluidity in attack is just as likely a consequence as defensive errors.
Best bet: Both teams to score - No at evens
West Ham v Charlton
- 7.30pm BST kick-off
- Match Odds: Home 9/2 | Draw 3/1 | Away 8/15
A lack of summer strengthening, disgruntled squad and fanbase and horrendous early-season fixture list had David Moyes leading the Premier League Sack Race well before West Ham's miserable 2-0 home defeat by Newcastle.
Now that pressure has gone up an extra few notches.
Moyes must go strong against local rivals Charlton because although victory won’t buy him any extra time, defeat will most certainly lose him some.
Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Sebastien Haller are all expected to step up from the bench and face an Addicks side relegated from the Sky Bet Championship in July, whose win over Crewe last time out provided a first clean sheet in 10 games.
West Ham must surely make it into round three.
Combine Charlton’s small squad – they're currently under a ‘one in one out’ transfer embargo – with a congested fixture list that includes the Checkatrade Trophy and eight more league games than the Hammers, and Lee Bowyer will have no option but to rest players, which makes a fairly straightforward West Ham victory, with a -1 goal handicap at evens, the smart play.
If you're looking for a bigger price, and some evidence for it then it could be some small stakes on Angelo Ogbonna to score anytime at 8/1. While the Hammers will of course make some changes, it's least likely to happen in central defence.
They were poor against Newcastle, but did hit the crossbar twice through both Pablo Fornals and centre-back Ogbonna. With Moyes' unashamed School of Science reputation, and dedication to set-piece work, the Italian defender could go one better against League One opponents.
Best bet: West Ham -1 goal handicap at evens
Burton v Aston Villa
- 7.45pm BST kick-off on Sky Sports
- Match Odds: Home 1/3 | Draw 18/5 | Away 8/1
I really fear for Burton in this one in front of the TV cameras.
They are a club who have openly said they face a difficult future because of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with one such cost-cutting measure seeing long-serving manager Nigel Clough leave in the summer.
The Brewers ended the curtailed Sky Bet League One campaign in dreadful form: one win, one clean sheet and 21 goals conceded in 10 matches. It’s carried over to this season too, as they’ve let in six goals in three games under rookie boss Ben Turner and failed to win a match outright – they progressed to this stage via a shootout.
While many Premier League teams will view the second round of the Carabao Cup as a hindrance to the upcoming weekend, for Aston Villa that won’t be the case.
Dean Smith’s side are yet to begin their top-flight campaign and will view this as a perfect tune-up for their opener against Sheffield United on Monday.
They won their final pre-season friendly 1-0 against Manchester United, with record £38m signing Ollie Watkins taking only 16 minutes to score his first goal in claret and blue. He was inches away from a second in the second as he shot just over when well placed, and is 13/8 to record at least two shots on target against a team two divisions below.
Despite Villa’s struggles in front of goal at the back end of last season – they managed only seven in 10 Project Restart matches – I really do fancy them to wipe the floor with Burton, so I am tempted by Aston Villa -2 at 10/3 on the goal handicap. But Villa could well get the game in the bag and back off with more important tasks ahead.
Instead, having kept another clean sheet, albeit in a friendly against a Man United team missing lots of first-teamers, to build on the improved defensive displays that ultimately kept them in the top flight, that’s the place to go.
They conceded only twice in their final four games, and kept their opponents to under 1.5 goals in all but three of their 10 post-lockdown fixtures – and those who managed it were Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
I'm backing them to shut Burton out too.
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