The Carling Cup is the major midweek domestic football betting proposition in the coming days and we believe we have avoided the banana skins to find a winning six-fold, giving generous odds of 22/1.
Aston Villa have made a decent start in the Premier League under new manager Alex McLeish and they look the big bankers at 1/5 to beat Hereford.
Villa have avoided defeat in their opening Premier League games and have a squad full of youth that will be hungry to display their talents to their new boss.
The Carling Cup is potentially Villa’s best hope of silverware and is a competition that McLeish tends to take seriously, having led Birmingham to the trophy last season.
Therefore, widespread tinkering is unlikely and Villa should have little trouble brushing aside a Hereford side that have begun slowly in League Two this season, occupying one of the two relegation places through the opening four fixtures of the campaign.
Blackburn and West Brom are still waiting for their first Premier League points of the campaign and may also pick strong sides for their second round matches in an effort to boost squad confidence.
West Brom are 10/11 in the Carling Cup betting to win away at Bournemouth, while Blackburn’s odds are 4/7 to beat Sheffield Wednesday at Ewood Park.
Our other three predictions are all delayed first round encounters, with West Ham looking good value at 1/3 to beat Aldershot at home.
Bristol City host out-of-form Swindon and are 8/11 to advance to round two, while one of the shocks of the round could be provided by Charlton.
Charlton have made a promising start to the campaign to sit joint-top of League One and entertain a Reading team that may struggle for goals without Shane Long.
It is 17/10 in the Carling Cup odds that Charlton beat Reading.
Carling Cup picks
Aston Villa to beat Hereford @ 1/5
West Ham to beat Aldershot @1/3
Blackburn to beat Sheffield Wednesday @ 4/7
Bristol City to beat Swindon @ 8/11
West Brom to beat Bournemouth @ 10/11
Charlton to beat Reading @ 17/10