As the Capital One Cup completes its first round fixtures on Tuesday, Cardiff City, Burnley and Crawley Town will fancy their chances of winning away from home at Northampton Town, Port Vale and Millwall.
Each of our latest ‘Playing Away’ trio are best backed individually rather than in a treble, although impressive odds of over 13/1 are on offer for the three-timer (worth a wallet-bulging £280.44 for anyone using their free £20 bet upon registering with bwin).
Read on to find out why we’re tipping up the Bluebirds, the Clarets and the Red Devils to secure their respective places in the second round.
Cardiff to beat Northampton @ 4/5
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There is real optimism at Cardiff with the new season on the horizon and they can get their competitive campaign off to a winning start by beating Northampton in the Capital One Cup at Sixfields.
The Bluebirds had a brilliant run in the competition last year, losing the final to Liverpool on penalties in the most unfortunate of circumstances, and although boss Malky Mackay will see promotion to the Premier League as his number one priority, the big Scot will be keen to get a win under his belt ahead of the Championship kick-off on Saturday.
City have invested well over the summer and the re-signing of the evergreen Craig Bellamy could prove pivotal in Cardiff’s season. Mackay’s side were difficult to beat on the road last season (even if they didn’t win enough) and will fancy their chances against League Two Northampton.
The Cobblers struggled all year and only secured their League Two status with a few games left as Aidy Boothroyd eventually got to grips with his task after taking the manager’s job in November. Northampton’s home form remained poor, though, and just six wins and 11 defeats (only relegated Hereford lost more times on their own patch) left them with the second-worst record in the section. They may improve, but Cardiff should have too much class and look decent at 4/5.
Burnley to beat Port Vale @ 9/10
Burnley have been inconsistent since their relegation from the Premier League in 2010 but with an improved showing expected this term, a win over Port Vale in the Capital One Cup is quite likely.
Eddie Howe is slowly but surely making the Clarets a more competitive proposition and with some good transfer business over the summer, his young squad can better their 13th-placed finish from last term. Losing Jay Rodriguez to Southampton is a blow, but with Charlie Austin, Sam Vokes, Danny Ings and Martin Paterson, Burnley have plenty of attacking options and can get their season off to a winning start at Vale Park.
Micky Adams is working under great financial constraints due to Port Vale’s administration and it is difficult to know what to make of Vale going into their League Two campaign. Marc Richards has been sold, along with Lee Collins and Antony Griffith, and a season of toil on and off the pitch could be in the offing, even if they are unlikely to be dragged into a relegation battle.
Burnley won ten away games last season to boast the sixth-best record in the Championship – only champions Reading and play-off winners West Ham won more fixtures on the road – and should have enough to reach the second round at Vale’s expense.
Crawley to beat Millwall @ 31/10
If you are looking for an upset at this early stage of the season, then The Den could be the place, as League One Crawley Town are a decent price to beat Championship Millwall.
Crawley won automatic promotion from League Two last season despite losing manager Steve Evans to Rotherham in April and even if their summer has been quite chaotic – the Red Devils appointed Sean O’Driscoll, only for him to leave to take the Nottingham Forest job before he’d even managed one game – in Richie Barker, they have hired a bright young coach who can consolidate in their debut season in the third tier.
The former Bury boss has inherited a decent squad at League One level and they shouldn’t have much to fear going to Millwall. The Lions narrowly avoided relegation last season, but without Harry Kane’s goals to rely on (the striker is back at parent club Tottenham Hotspur) it could be a season of struggle once more for Kenny Jackett.
Millwall’s home record was awful last term, with only three teams winning less points than Jackett’s men on their own patch, and Crawley, who boasted the second-best away record in League Two last season, are worth a small play to cause an upset.
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