Luton v Ipswich
Santa’s reindeer Rudolph has never had a bigger challenger in the red nose stakes than Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy. However, it must have felt like Christmas for the former Republic of Ireland boss when his side downed Birmingham on Saturday to open their Championship campaign with a victory.
The Tractor Boys head to a buoyant Luton, who are on the back of steamrolling Yeovil 8-2 in their first game of this League Two season. The League Cup (now sponsored by Carabao) hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for McCarthy’s men though, as they’ve won twice in their last seven outings in the competition.
After a summer of being tighter than Daniel Levy’s wallet in the transfer market, Ipswich’s lack of squad depth could very well come back to haunt them at Kenilworth Road tonight. They are not immune to League Cup a shock either, bowing out to the likes of Carlisle United, Crawley Town and Stevenage (twice) in recent seasons.
Best bet: Luton to win – 8/5
Rotherham v Lincoln
If you love football, then you couldn’t help but be engrossed by Lincoln’s FA Cup fairytale last season as they dumped out the likes of Brighton and Burnley (all while being a Conference outfit) to make it to a first quarter-final in their history.
They seem to love a cup run more than Donald Trump loves tweeting and they meet a long-suffering Rotherham side in tonight’s Round One tie.
The Millers only picked up a scandalous total of 23 points in 46 games in their relegation from the Championship last season and lost an incredible 33 times to boot. They started the season where they left off, losing to Fleetwood in League One, so don’t be surprised to see them go down with a whimper this evening.
Best bet: Lincoln to win – 5/2
Birmingham v Crawley
Unsurprisingly, Harry Redknapp is preparing for more wheeling and dealing as he looks to improve his slim pickings at Birmingham.
They’re well needed if Saturday’s defeat to equally transfer shy Ipswich is anything to go by, but they still should have more than enough to see off League Two Crawley Town.
The Harry Kewell-led side were spanked 1-3 by Port Vale at home last weekend, so this competition will not be a priority for the former Champions League winner.
Best bet: Birmingham to win – 3/10
* A treble on these three best bets pays approx 10/1 with Paddy Power.