Chelsea lost out to Manchester City at the weekend but could still be worth a bet for a trophy this season.
When it comes to betting on football, there’s no doubt that Premier League leaders Liverpool have established themselves as the overwhelming favourites for the title this season.
The odds on champions City retaining their crown have come in slightly following the win over Frank Lampard’s side, but oddsmakers still see Liverpool as the team to beat.
Sites such as Bet365, Betfair and Betvictor are generally good places to place a bet and, while the odds on Liverpool are narrow at present, the likes of Chelsea and City should not be ruled out with sites like Betting.com and OLBG backing Chelsea for this weekend’s derby based on their recent form despite being unlucky vs. Man City.
The win over Chelsea left Pep Guardiola’s men nine points adrift of Liverpool after 13 matches, while fourth-placed Chelsea are 11 behind the Merseysiders, whose nearest challengers at the moment are second-placed Leicester – few would have bet on that being the case at this stage of the season.
Few would also have bet on Lampard enjoying such a strong start after inheriting a difficult situation when he took over as manager in the summer after leaving Derby County to return to Stamford Bridge, where he enjoyed such great success as a player.
Chelsea had just lost talisman Eden Hazard, who got his dream move to Real Madrid, and were restricted by a two-window transfer ban imposed by FIFA for a breach of regulations on signing players under the age of 18.
However, the transfer ban led to a silver lining – with several of the club’s young players being given a chance to impress. For many years Chelsea fans have been dismayed at the lack of homegrown players coming through to the first team. But now there’s an abundance of them, which is in no small part down to the club being unable to make signings.
The young batch includes Tammy Abraham, who had to bide his time while waiting for a chance at Chelsea. He impressed in the Championship while out on loan but seemed to have little prospect of making the breakthrough at Chelsea until Lampard showed great faith in him – even after a shaky start in the opening-day 4-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Abraham has responded by scoring 10 goals for the Blues this season and forcing his way back into the England reckoning. It’s been a remarkable success story and the striker continues to go from strength to strength.
In midfield, Lampard has an abundance of options. One of them is Mason Mount, another academy product to have made a name for himself this season. With N’Golo Kante back from injury, Ruben Loftus-Cheek – another youth product – on the way back and Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in fine form, plus Ross Barkley giving Lampard another option, the Blues are stacked with midfield talent. Young Billy Gilmout will also be one to watch in the coming years.
Smart money could be on Chelsea
Few teams in the Champions League, for example, boast that much firepower up front and creativity in midfield. The way Chelsea overcame Ajax in their group suggests they could well be a smart bet for the trophy, especially if the draw for the knockout stage is kind to them.
Chelsea’s recent winning run – six in a row before the loss at City – showed they can also offer great value for moneyline bets – in other words, betting on the final score. Lampard’s side are consistent and for gamblers that’s important.
They also offer value in the over/under market – essentially because they pose a threat going forward but have often looked vulnerable at the back. The loss of Toni Rudiger, who has played just once this season because of injury, has been a blow. It’s meant that Chelsea are likely to concede as well as score goals, so betting on at least three goals being scored in a Blues match is usually a sound investment, as the 3-1 defeat at City highlighted once again.
That could change in the coming weeks for two main reasons. The first is Rudiger’s comeback, which should lead to the defence being shored up. The experienced German centre-back will surely make a difference. The second is the possibility that Lampard could yet be able to sign players sooner rather than later. A successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport would lead to the transfer ban being lifted in January rather than at the end of the season.
In the meantime, though, gamblers should look to take advantage of Chelsea’s habit of producing goals at both ends.
James is one to watch
Proposition betting is also popular when it comes to football – and here the emergence of another Chelsea youngster could be significant.
Proposition betting covers certain things happening during a game, such as the first goalscorer, how many saves a goalkeeper will make and so on.
Abraham’s record this season suggests he is always worth a shout for first goalscorer. But if you fancy more of a quirky bet, then make the most of Reece James’ elevation to the first team.
Young right-back James was recently preferred to captain Cesar Azpilicueta and there is every expectation that he will eventually oust the older man from the team altogether.
James has many notable attributes and one of them is his crossing. His delivery from the right is outstanding and could prove to be a big asset for Chelsea for many years to come. It could also be an asset for gamblers, because the chances are James will serve up more than a dozen accurate crosses in each game he plays. The odds being offered on a defender doing that are likely to be fairly generous, at least while James is a relatively unknown quantity among oddsmakers.
Another potential win for gamblers to be aware of comes in the live betting stakes. Michy Batshuayi has had his problems at Chelsea but his goals-per-appearance ratio is actually very decent. When Batshuayi comes on as a substitute he is always worth a bet for next goalscorer!