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Covid Wave Makes Chelsea Risky Pick

Host Brentford Could Defy Odds in EFL Quarterfinals

The matchup between Brentford and Chelsea, in the EFL Cup quarterfinals figures to be a bit of a crapshoot for betting online. Both sides are dealing with handfuls of COVID-19 cases among players and staff and won’t be at full strength come Wednesday.

Chelsea is getting more respect from the oddsmakers and is listed at -120 to win on the road. That’s despite not having any idea who’ll be available to play.

Brentford a Value Pick in COVID Induced Crapshoot vs Chelsea
Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
  • Game: Brentford F.C. vs Chelsea F.C.
  • Location: Brentford Community Stadium, London, England, U.K.
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET
Team Goal Line Moneyline Over/Under Team Total
Brentford +½ (-110) +390 2½ (-105o) ½ -155o/+125u
Chelsea -½ (-120) -120 2½ (-125u) 1½ -125o/-105u
Draw +240

Brentford vs Chelsea Betting Preview

Head to Head

Brentford and Chelsea have only met twice. The first meeting was in 2017 in an FA Cup tie that Chelsea won 4-0.

Their first Premier League meeting was in October and Chelsea stole three points in West London. Brentford outshot the Blues 17-5 but Chelsea scored with its only shot on target to win 1-0.

Brentford’s Covid Crisis

Brentford’s match vs Southampton on Saturday was postponed due to the Bees’ ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. It was their second straight postponed match after their game vs Manchester United was also called off.

Bees coach Thomas Frank went on record to recommend all Premier League fixtures be called off last weekend amid concerningly high case levels in the league. His wish wasn’t granted as four of the 10 fixtures went ahead as scheduled.

The West London club has 13 COVID cases among players and staff and should be severely shorthanded for this match. It’s unclear at this point which players will be unavailable at this point but expect a bit of a makeshift lineup.

Brentford last played a match on Dec. 10 and they defeated Watford 2-1. The Bees are 12th in the Premier League and are the only recently promoted club above the relegation zone. Brentford is heavily associated with moneyball tactics and its approach seems to have worked thus far.

With Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo up top, Brentford has a formidable front line. However, goalkeeper David Raya has been out since October and they’ve only kept one clean sheet without him. To qualify for the Round of 16, Brentford defeated Stoke City 2-1 and should be incredibly motivated for this one.

The winner of the EFL Cup qualifies for next season’s UEFA Conference League. If Brentford overcomes the long soccer odds to win the Cup, they’d be playing in European competition for the first time.

Rough Patch for Chelsea

Chelsea’s request to postpone its match vs Wolves was denied by the Premier League and the Blues drew 0-0 at the Molineux on Sunday. Chelsea, like Brentford, has plenty of COVID cases in its camp. Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner have all tested positive.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Thomas Tuchel was only able to name 17 players to his matchday squad vs Wolves. The starting lineup was significantly impacted as a result. Christian Pulisic got a rare start up top as Lukaku, Werner and Kai Havertz were all out.

The Blues had a rough week as they also drew with Everton. Chelsea is now in third place, six points behind leaders Manchester City. One of the best early-season soccer picks, Chelsea has only won one of its last five matches in all competitions.

Tuchel isn’t under any kind of pressure, having won the Champions League last season. However, this is the first time in his Chelsea career that the results have followed a downward trend. The EFL Cup will be low on his list of prioritie,s but it’d be good for the Blues to build a bit of momentum again.

Prediction

Notable absentees from Chelsea’s squad vs Wolves included Jorginho, Andreas Christensen, Lukaku, Werner, Hudson-Odoi and Havertz. It’s unclear whether any of them will be included in the matchday squad on Wednesday. Chelsea could certainly have trouble scoring without its main three forwards.

Brentford figures to also miss a lot of their players but its +390 sportsbook odds offer a significant opportunity. In a crapshoot, why not take the best value pick?

Pick: Brentford (+390)

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