Thursday's football tips: Wolves & Brighton to come out on top in 8/1 double
The EFL Cup second round trundles on, with three games across Thursday evening. Sheffield United, Wolves and Brighton are all in action after they were involved in Premier League games on Monday, resulting in their EFL Cup games being pushed back a day.
Manchester City and the other top Premier League sides will join the tournament in the third round and after three consecutive wins, Pep Guardiola’s side are the 3/1 favourites in the outright winner market to lift the trophy for the sixth time in eight seasons.
I’ve just one bet for the evening which comes across the two later kick-offs, involving Wolves v Stoke and Brighton v Portsmouth. I’m having a small dabble on Wolves -1 handicap and Brighton -1 handicap, meaning if both sides win by two or more goals, this bet will land. Paddy Power have given this one a little boost up to the generous price of 8/1 which makes plenty of appeal, compared to the 6/1 on offer from SkyBet.
The first of the two games which feature in this double comes at 7pm where Wolves host Stoke at Molineux. I’ve got high hopes again for Nuno Santo’s side this season; I think without the hindrance of a Europa League campaign his side can fully focus on the league and finish inside the top-six for which they are 7/4 to do so in the Premier League betting.
Wolves started their season with a comfortable 2-0 away win at Sheffield United on Monday evening. It was a professional performance from Nuno’s team, and one that I think will set the tone for the season. There will be changes made by the manager for this game with John Ruddy, Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves and Ruben Vinagre all expected to come into the starting line-up. New signing Fabio Silva could well make his first appearance for the club after Wolves broke their transfer record, bringing in the 18-year-old for the hefty price of £35million.
Stoke on the other hand played out a miserable 0-0 draw against Millwall in their first game of the Championship season. Michael O’Neil is also expected to make wholesale changes for the game on Thursday, with defender Ryan Shawcross facing a race against time as he recovers from injury. Jack Butland could well start the game in goal for the Potters after being left out at the weekend.
The gap in quality here should be evident from the get-go. Wolves are a side full of confidence after reaching a Europa League quarter-final last month - losing out to eventual winners Sevilla. The competition for places at the club should ensure some big performances are put in by those who have not been starting regularly. In Diogo Jota and Fabio Silva, the hosts have enough up top to cause Stoke real problems and there’s still Raul Jimenez to come off bench if called upon. I think Wolves should win this one easily and should be looking at this competition as a way for them to win their first trophy since 1980.
The second part of Thursday night’s 8/1 double comes in the form of Brighton -1 on the match handicap. Again, meaning if the hosts win by two goals or more this selection will land. Brighton have improved under Graham Potter and last season showed glimpses of the free-flowing attacking football that had been promised. I don’t see them being relegated this season but struggle to see them go beyond the 12th-place mark.
I thought Brighton started the game well against Chelsea on Monday evening and arguably looked the better side, before the visitors were awarded a penalty midway through the first half. There are some injury concerns here for the Seagulls after Adam Lallana was taken off against Chelsea with a knock - and as a result the ex-Liverpool man is a major doubt for Thursday’s game. Ben White and Davy Propper’s fitness will be assessed before the game however Florin Andone and Jose Izquierdo will definitely miss out due to injury. New signing Joel Veltman from Ajax could well come in for his first start in the defence.
Portsmouth kicked-off their League One campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Shrewsbury last weekend. Boss Kenny Jackett is waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Alex Bass, however away from that he should have a full squad at his disposal. Pompey are third favourites in the outright winner betting for League 1 this season but they will face a stern test at the Amex Stadium on Thursday.
Again, I do think the gap in quality will be the deciding factor in the match. In Neil Maupay, Aaron Connelly, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Pascal Grob, Brighton have more than enough in the final third to score goals against an opposition who sit two divisions below them. Portsmouth will be up for this one, but I think as we move into the latter stages of the game, the difference in the calibre of player from each side will be evident.
SkyBet have this double of both Wolves and Brighton to win by two goals or more priced at 6/1 so it’s worth having a shop around and taking the 8/1 on offer here from the good folk at Paddy Power. Brighton v Portsmouth is live on Sky Sports at 7:45pm and best of luck to those who are following.
Please, always gamble responsibly.