Sunderland head to Bury in pick of EFL Cup first round ties

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The 2017-18 edition of the EFL Cup gets underway tonight with 35 first round ties split across three days.

A lot of people will tell you that the competition is an unnecessary burden on an already packed fixture list.

But we like it. It has goals, drama and excitement – everything that football should be about.

Here, we look forward to five of this week’s standout ties from the first round of competition…

Bury v Sunderland            

It’s the James Vaughan derby at Gigg Lane on Thursday night as the Sunderland striker returns to face his former club.

Vaughan hit 24 goals in 36 games for the Shakers last term before a move to the Black Cats this summer.

Of course, the law of football dictates that the 29-year-old is guaranteed to score against his former club.

The visitors though, do not have fate on their side.

The last time the Mackems featured in the first round of the League Cup they made a swift exit.

Who to?

Why, Bury of course.

Sunderland are the expected favourites for the tie at 21/20, but if you like the concept of fate then Bury are handily priced at 5/2. The draw is 11/5.

Colchester United v Aston Villa

A League Two side under the lights v the fallen Premier League giants featuring a Champions League winning defender.

This match has cup upset written all over it.

Aston Villa were dumped out last year by another League Two side in Luton Town and they could be about to go the same way this time around.

That said, we think the Villains should still have enough about them to avoid a tanning in deep Essex.

The visitors are 8/15 to win in 90 minutes with the draw available at 14/5. Our traders have priced up one-time Essex Senior Cup winners Colchester United at 5/1 to see off the 1983 European Cup winners.

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

We might only be one game into the new season but Luton Town are the team to be feared.

The Hatters put eight past Yeovil Town at the weekend and boy, do they love a cup shock.

Nathan Jones’s League Two promotion contenders knocked out Aston Villa last season and Bristol City the year before.

By contrast Ipswich Town have a mixed record in the competition.

The Tractor Boys have experienced first round exits in three of the last six seasons and will likely rest a number of first team players for tonight’s game.

We like the look of the hosts for this one at 17/10. The draw is 21/10 while an Ipswich win is 6/4.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Yeovil Town

If you’ve just shipped eight goals to Luton Town, a trip to Molineux is probably not the tonic you’re looking for.

Yeovil Town, though, may just fancy their chances away at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Granted form isn’t on their side, but Wolves’ record in the EFL Cup is.

The Midlanders have lost twice to League Two opposition in the first round in the last four years and may rest players for the visit of the beleaguered Glovers.

If you fancy the long shots to the do the business, Yeovil are 11/1 in 90 minutes, while it’s 17/4 for the draw. Our traders have Wolves as heavy favourites at 2/9.

Coventry City v Blackburn Rovers

Two of the Premier League’s inaugural members meet at the Ricoh Arena in a fixture with echoes of yesteryear.

The only difference now is that Coventry City are in League Two while Blackburn Rovers are in League One.

How the mighty have fallen.

The two clubs don’t like the EFL Cup either.

Coventry have gone out at the first round stage in six of the last eight seasons, while Blackburn have exited at the same stage in three of the last four campaigns.

The bad news for one of these clubs is that one of them is going to have to break their losing duck and progress through to the second round.

Blackburn head the betting at Evens, with the Sky Blues on offer at 14/5. The draw seems the most likely outcome at 23/10.

Click here for the latest EFL Cup odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.