The fact that Portsmouth have faced a First Round exit in the League Cup in three of the last four seasons might be off-putting when it comes to backing them for success against Derby, but don’t jump the gun just yet.
Serious injuries to Will Hughes and Craig Bryson for their Championship opponents may have just handed the impetus to the south coast club to pull off a surprise.
In truth, both clubs have more pressing matters at hands, with Pompey searching for a route out of League Two and the Rams aching for a return to the top flight.
Players are likely to be rested on either side of pitch, but the injuries to the aforementioned Hughes and Bryson could see Paul Clement tempted to avoid risking many of his first choice personnel.
Even with a changed squad, the visitors’ quality could tell, but with Portsmouth a very tempting 3/1, and a price of 13/5 available on the tie going to extra time, opposing Derby looks the value pick.
The Pride Park outfit were held to a goalless draw at Bolton on Saturday, making it 11 occasions in which they have dropped points on the road from their last 12 Championship matches.
Portsmouth got their season off to the best possible start with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge and are coming into this tie in solid form, avoiding defeat in their last seven fixtures, a run stretching back to April 18.
That being said, Derby are rightly favourites to progress at Fratton Park, but we’re not so sure it will be as simple as the odds suggest and could well see the game requiring at least an extra 30 minutes.
Do they have the Sharp Shooters to fire them to success?
For those wanting to get involved in the first goalscorer markets, Ladbrokes’ Sharp Shooter offer has been a welcome addition this season.
Back a player to score first and if he opens the scoring in the first 25 minutes, the bookmaker will double your odds.
The Derby duo of Chris Martin and Darren Bent would seem the obvious places to start, but think again.
The former may have netted 48 times for Derby, but less than a third of those goals opened the scoring, while just six came in the opening 45 minutes.
Bent meanwhile, managed to break the deadlock just twice for the Rams last season, despite reaching double figures in his spell at the club.
Instead it could be worth chancing your arm with a recent arrival at Nigel Clough’s club.
Andreas Weimann may not have been quite so prolific during his time at Aston Villa, but now playing at a lower level can shine. Of his 10 goals for Villa, four were the first in the match, with three of those coming inside 25 minutes.
At 11/2 to kick off matters on the south coast, and with a start possible if Paul Clement shuffles his pack, he looks value.
On the Pompey side of the fence, look no further than Matt Tubbs (7/1).
The striker netted 21 goals for both Portsmouth and AFC Wimbledon in 2014-15, and managed to net first on 11 occasions. But with a whopping eight (38 per cent) of his goals last term coming inside the first 25, he’s the go-to guy for Ladbrokes’ latest offer.
Whether that is enough to propel his side to a major shock remains to be seen, but the former Salisbury man can play a big part in proceedings in Hampshire.
Ladbrokes have boosted Derby to win and both teams to score from 5/2 to 3/1!
Double your odds if your 1st Goalscorer bet scores in the opening 25 minutes in selected live TV games!*
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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