With pre-season friendly games coming to a close, the major European leagues are almost set for the big kick off. And this coming Wednesday (1 August) will see the final games in the traditional pre-season tournament – the International Champions Cup – take place.
In Dublin, Premier League giants Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns and with two new managers in the dugout this should be a tasty affair. On the same day in Portugal, Benfica and Lyon meet at the Estádio Algarve.
Getting the ball rolling
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In the first game, north London meets west London as Arsenal and Chelsea look to recover from disappointing campaigns last term. Neither club will be participating in this year’s edition of the UEFA Champions League, but the two most prominent new managers in England will be desperate to lay down an early marker of intent.
And it is Arsenal who come into the game as the slight favourites to earn those bragging rights. The Gunners are at 2.37 to beat Chelsea, with the Stamford Bridge club only slightly higher at 2.80 – a draw, meanwhile, would look to be the most unlikely result and is priced accordingly at 3.50, according to Oddsshark.
There is less expectation around Arsenal than there has been in the last two decades or so, but Unai Emery looks to be already making the right moves. Five new names have come in during the transfer window and in their last outing they thrashed French Ligue 1 winners PSG 5-1.
You could almost quadruple your money by backing Arsenal to be leading at both the interval and the full time whistle at a price of 3.75. Chelsea, however, enjoyed the better of this fixture with Arsene Wenger at the helm of the Arsenal ship, and new boss Maurizio Sarri will not want to let the side down.
You can back Chelsea to edge this match 1-0 at a price of 12.00, offering more than a ten-fold return on any investment. If you think it will be level at the break and Chelsea will win it in the second half then you can back such an outcome at 6.50.
Against PSG, Arsenal made a blistering start with Mesut Ozil giving the Gunners the lead after only 13 minutes. You could bet on either side making a quick start in this one as well, with Arsenal priced at 8.50 to be ahead after 10 minutes.
Again, Chelsea are slightly further out, at 9.00, to take a lead inside those first 10 minutes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the price for an even game in that time frame is at just 1.20.
The golden rule of the more specific the bet, the higher the odds continues to ring true. You can bet shorter but safer simply on there being more than 0.5 goals in the first 10 minutes – 4.00 for “Yes” and just 1.22 for “No”.
Over at the Estadio Algarve, Benfica will look to continue their encouraging pre-season preparations against French side Lyon. On the surface this looks to be a very close game, and the simple betting on the outcome has the teams close to neck and neck.
The Portuguese club, who held Italian giants Juventus to a 1-1 draw in their previous meeting, are slight favourites at 2.50 to come away from this friendly victorious. Lyon are right behind them at 2.70, with a stalemate the highest priced possible outcome, at 3.40.
Given the fact that the two teams are so closely priced you may think it a wiser, albeit lower priced, bet to opt for the “Double Chance” type of bet. This will give you the chance to select two possible outcomes for the match rather than just one but, due to the risk being slashed, so are the odds.
A win for Benfica or a draw is priced at just 1.44. Meanwhile, a win for Lyon or a draw sees that price rise slightly to 1.50, and you can back either side to pick up a win at just 1.40 – a 2-1 win for Lyon, as they managed in their last outing against Wolfsburg, is priced at 10.00, offering precisely a ten-fold return on any investment.
Odds: Arsenal (2.37), Chelsea (2.80), draw (3.50)
Benfica (2.50), Lyon (2.70), draw (3.40)