|By PAUL GOUGH
The big guns enter the English League Cup competition on Tuesday [Wednesday night Australian time], with ten third-round games scheduled.
The pick of the matches appears to be high-flying Everton's visit to fallen giants Leeds United.
Everton have made a magnificent start to the new English Premier League season and sit in third, with ten points from five games.
And the Toffees loom as a team to follow in this year's League Cup given they now have a side good enough to win a major trophy but - unlike the other leading contenders - they do not have the distraction of European football to have to worry about.
With this competition usually the lowest priority for the top clubs [who often field weakened teams particularly in the early stages] betting on the League Cup is often fraught with danger.
But Everton, who amazingly have never won this competition despite winning five FA Cup and nine league titles, are one club that will be able to put all their resources into winning the competition.
And for such a big club, the Toffees are well overdue to lift a major trophy having not done so since the last of their FA Cup successes in 1995, while a win in this competition this season would be a great reward for long-serving manager David Moyes.
Moyes has kept Everton consistently competitive in the past decade despite scant financial resources compared to the other top clubs, yet that major trophy has always eluded him, although they went close in 2009 when runners-up to Chelsea in the more prestigious FA Cup.
But while another Wembley appearance is a long way off at present, the Toffees should progress to the last 16 at the expense of former English Premier League big guns Leeds.
The Whites have won just one of their past four matches in the Championship and are struggling in mid-table with ten points from seven games.
|Back West Ham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton to win their League Cup ties
||Middlesbrough to win v Preston North End at $2.60 at Luxbet|
The other big game on Tuesday see reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at home to fellow to-flight club Aston Villa, who have won this competition on five occasions, second only to Liverpool with eight.
But with Villa struggling in the league - they were thrashed 4-1 by newly promoted Southampton on on Saturday - City are prohibitive favourites at $1.30 at Luxbet, with Villa at $9 and the draw at $4.85.
Chelsea, winners of this competition in 2005 and 2007, are even shorter at $1.26 at Luxbet to win at home against Championship side Wolves, while West Ham are the $1.93 favourites at home against Wigan at $3.65.
The best value teams of the night are Premier League surprise packets Swansea at $2.08 to win away against League One Crawley at $3.35, while Middlesbrough - fresh from a great win over Blackburn in the Championship - are great odds at $2.60 to win away at League One Preston, who are the favourites at $2.55 with the draw at $3.25.
*Note prices subject to change