Chelsea begin their Champions League title defence at home to Zenit. Tom Carnduff has found two best bets to back.
2pts Mateo Kovacic to have 2+ total shots at 11/10 (Sky Bet)
1pt Daler Kuzyaev to be shown a card at 13/5 (Betfair, Paddy Power)
Chelsea's defence of their Champions League title begins with one of two 'easier' fixtures as they welcome Russian side Zenit to Stamford Bridge. The bookmakers barely give the visitors a chance - a home win is as short as 1/6 in places.
Thomas Tuchel's men are undefeated so far this season with three wins and a draw in the Premier League - that point can be viewed as a positive one with it coming at Anfield and with ten men for the entire second-half.
Zenit are also in good form as they top the Russian Premier League. This is a completely different test though and it's one where they will leave empty-handed - Chelsea know the importance of a comfortable victory here in their quest to top Group H.
Games such as this always present issues in the markets. When one team is so heavily favoured, that impacts everything else and there is no appeal in looking at the upset here. Anything Chelsea is a short price wherever you look.
That doesn't mean there is nothing to go at though and I am surprised to see above even money available on MATEO KOVACIC TO HAVE 2+ SHOTS in this game. He's had two shots in three of his four Premier League games so far with one coming in 45 minutes against Liverpool.
These are shots we are talking about and not ones on target. There is a reason it's better to target his total shots figure though and that's because the ratio of shots to those on target isn't favourable towards the latter. Still, there is value in this area.
It's not as if his current season statistics are a fluke. Kovacic averaged 0.9 shots per game in the Premier League last season and we can factor in the level of opposition here when it comes to the midfielder going above his previous averages. It's a contest where current form can continue.
The return of the Champions League also brings the return in card-based bets and the appointment of Bartosz Frankowski indicates that we can expect a few to be shown in this game.
He's averaged a huge six cards per game across seven outings this season with his 2020/21 average finishing as 4.2 cards per game from 34 appearances. It's clear that he will be a name of interest when it comes to backing bookings across the course of the competition.
There are a number of options available to back here but the one who catches the eye is DALER KUZYAEV. There's a best price of 13/5 available that he is shown a card in this contest.
The midfielder has been shown cards in three separate games already this season - one of which saw him sent off for two bookings - and he leads the way for fouls among this Zenit squad - he is averaging 1.7 per game in the league.
Score prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Zenit (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Odds correct at 1930 BST (13/09/21)
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