Chelsea - Fulham Betting Preview: Why a high scoring first half is on the cards at Stamford Bridge

With Martin Jol's side conceding plenty of goals on their travels, Phil Kitromilides is backing at least two to be scored in the opening 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge
In his first match in charge of Chelsea, Rafa Benitez came away with a point along with a sense of being somewhat unloved by the Blues faithful.

The atmosphere at their home game against Manchester City on Sunday was toxic with the supporters visibly showing their displeasure at Benitez's arrival through banners and chants alike.

It will take more than a win in the west London derby to endear the Spaniard to Chelsea fans, yet three points this evening are vital if the Blues are to keep up their hopes of winning the Premier League title.

Paddy Power price a home victory at 4/9 (1.44) while Fulham can be backed at 13/2 (7.50) and the draw is offered at 10/3 (4.33).

Though these two sides are separated by little more than two miles geographically, the gulf between them in this particular fixture is enormous.

Indeed Fulham have managed just one win in their last 32 meetings against the club with whom they share a post code and that victory came six and a half years ago.

Chelsea have been dominant and another victory should be on the cards despite their recent wobbles. Yet backing them outright seems to hold little value.

Instead, looking to the goals market should be more fruitful, with over 1.5 goals in the first half available at an attractive looking 5/4 (2.25).

Fulham have conceded at least one first half goal in five of their six away matches in the Premier League this season, and have let in three goals in recent matches against Reading, Arsenal and Sunderland respectively.

Chelsea should be able to expolit this weakness is defence, especially with the visitors likely to switch to a 3-5-2 in the absence of Brede Hangeland. Although at the other end, Fulham have had little trouble finding the net scoring in all but two of their 13 league matches so far.

Backing at least two goals in the first half seems an intelligent bet, but for some higher odds and greater value back Chelsea to win both halves at 5/2 (3.50).

Over 1.5 goals first half at 5/4 (2.25) with Paddy Power
Chelsea to win both halves at 5/2 (3.50) with Paddy Power

Sign up with Paddy Power for up to £250 in free bets and back Phil's selections for this match

Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.