Betting round-up: Chelsea the Capital One Cup favourites

Not sure which team to back for the 2013-14 Capital One Cup? Let Goal Australia's resident betting expert Paul Gough guide you through the third round draw

Chelsea have been installed as the early favourites to win this season's English League Cup.

Bookmakers are preparing for a repeat of history given it was also the first trophy that the Blues won during Jose Mourinho's first stint in charge of the west London club.

The big guns - the seven teams that qualified for European competition last season - enter the competition in the third round, which will be played across two nights on September 24 and 25.

And there are a number of mouth-watering ties, particularly Manchester United at home to Liverpool while Aston Villa and Tottenham - who between them have won this competition on nine occasions - met in another all-EPL clash at Villa Park.

Arsenal, still searching for their first trophy since 2005, also face a difficult clash away to fellow EPL side West Brom while two other leading contenders in Fulham and Everton meet at Craven Cottage.

In contrast Chelsea were handed a soft away tie against League One outfit Swindon Town.

The third round is often a tricky one to negotiate for the leading teams - as it coincides with the start of the more important Champions League and Europa League competitions ‑ and as a result the top sides often field weakened sides.

That makes them vulnerable to an early upset but with even Chelsea's reserve side still far above the class of Swindon, the Blues are the one leading contender that look sure to progress to the round of 16.

With that in mind bet365 have installed Chelsea as the $6 favourite to win this season's competition ahead of Manchester City at $6.50, United at $9, Arsenal at $10, Spurs $11 and Liverpool at $12.

During Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea from 2004-07, the League Cup - now known as the Capital One Cup - was the first trophy he won in 2005 before following up with another one two years later.

It is a competition that Chelsea and Mourinho have always taken seriously and at this early stage - and particularly in light of the tough third round draw for their chief rivals - Chelsea look by far the best bet to lift this season's trophy.


Back deserved favourites Chelsea to win the League Cup

Liverpool, Aston Villa and Southampton are the three value teams to win this season's Capital One Cup at bet365.

Manchester City - the 2011 FA Cup winners and 2012 EPL champions - are likely contenders and should have no problems getting through the third round against last year's shock FA Cup winners Wigan, who are now playing in the second-tier Championship.

City have not won this competition since 1976 but new manager Manuel Pellegrini is under pressure to deliver silverware in his first season in charge of the big-spending Manchester club after the club finished second in the EPL behind United and lost the FA Cup Final to Wigan last term.

While Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Spurs have all tasted success in this competition in 2007, it should also be noted that roughies in Birmingham City and Swansea have won two of the past three League Cups as the top clubs increasingly focus on Europe.

Liverpool, who have won this competition a record eight times, are the only leading contender this season that does not have the distraction of Europe to contend with and they are likely to send out a full-strength side against United.

In contrast Man Utd - who will be in the middle of their Champions League campaign - could well play a weakened side so Liverpool look great value at $12 to win this season's competition at present and would come into near favourites if they can get past United.

A much-improved Aston Villa - who have won this competition more times (five) than any other club except Liverpool - are also great value at $29 and will no doubt shorten dramatically if they beat Spurs at home in the third round.

And another improving EPL side in Southampton at $21 are also legitimate contenders this season and should have few problems winning their third round clash at home to League One side Bristol City.

*Note prices subject to change

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