The first domestic trophy of the season will be handed over at Wembley on Sunday as Chelsea and Tottenham lock horns in the Capital One Cup final.
And it’s the Blues that bookies believe will take home the silverware, bet365 installing them as 4/11 jollies and William Hill rating Spurs at 2/1 to lift the trophy.
It follows that Jose Mourinho’s men are favourites, this time at 8/11 with Skybet, to come out on top in normal time while Mauricio Pochettino’s troops are 4/1 at Stan James for a success over the course of 90 minutes and the mouth watering contest is 3/1 (BetVictor) to go to extra-time.
Chelsea have lost just twice to Premier League opposition this term but Tottenham were one of the teams that defeated the Blues so a few punters might think the odds are a touch lop-sided, especially as the pair could only manage home draws in their respective last assignments domestically.
Nevertheless, counter-intuitively, that stalemate for Chelsea against Burnley is actually likely to galvanise them with Mourinho using the match to typically brilliant psychological effect by instilling a sense of injustice in his players that’s likely to spur them on in this one.
A close encounter still seems likely though, so the Blues stand out at 29/10 (BetVictor) to shade it by a one-goal margin and in a match that’s rightly odds-on at 4/5 with bet365 to see both teams find the net, Winner.com’s 7/1 for Chelsea to triumph 2-1 is worth considering.
In terms of goal scorers, Diego Costa is a suitably short 7/2 at Paddy Power to break the deadlock but even though he’s set to be on the losing side, Harry Kane might be the man to follow.
The Spurs front man struck twice his team’s 5-3 victory over Chelsea on New Year’s Day and betway make him an appealing 9/4 to net at any stage in this match.
In the Premier League, Manchester City will be hoping to take advantage of Chelsea’s cup distraction by cutting the gap at the table’s summit to just two points with a success at Liverpool.
The champions are 7/5 with Stan James to claim a maximum haul but the in-form Reds are right in the mix now in the race for fourth following their triumph at Southampton and they look overpriced at 2/1 (Ladbrokes) to dent City’s title hopes.
Bet365’s 5/2 about it ending all-square at Anfield will have its backers but a better option for punters acknowledging the possibility of an inconclusive clash is BetVictor’s 21/20 chalked against the hosts in the ‘Draw No Bet’ market.
At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal are a safe-looking 4/7 via Paddy Power to overcome an Everton side whose performances in the league are failing to live up to their form in Europe, Stan James price Manchester United at 2/5 to also pick up a home win, at the expense of Sunderland and William Hill go 19/20 about Stoke seeing off Hull. That trio meanwhile combine in a treble at 13/4 courtesy of BetVictor.
Elsewhere, bet365 quote 23/10 about West Brom sharing the spoils with Southampton, Stan James price Burnley and Swansea at 12/5 to be inseparable and BetVictor offer 21/20 about a West Ham triumph over Crystal Palace. Newcastle finally, are 19/20 (Skybet) to defeat beleaguered Aston Villa.
After a week’s break, the Six Nations is back with a bang this weekend as Ireland host England in Dublin.
The pair sit second and first respectively in the standings and the victor will put themselves firmly in the driving seat to win the whole tournament.
Home advantage means that the Irish get the nod from bookies at 10/11 (BetVictor) but Stuart Lancaster’s side have already won in Wales and they look a touch overpriced at 6/5 via Stan James to shade this one.
Punters seeking slightly bigger odds, meanwhile, can back the English, starting two-points behind, at 13/10 in Paddy Power’s handicaps.
On Saturday, Winner.com penalise Scotland by 11 at odds of 10/11 as they welcome a weak Italian side to Murrayfield but it should be closer in Paris, where France are 10/11 with Skybet to cover Wales’s three-point advantage.
In the Cricket World Cup, betway rate England at evens to come out on top in their vital fixture against Sri Lanka (10/11, William Hill) on Saturday evening. Moeen Ali’s century steered them to victory against Scotland and the England batsman is decent value at 4/1 (Stan James) to be his side’s top batsman again in this encounter.
Bet of the week: England (-2) to beat Ireland – 13/10 (Paddy Power).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com