Free Soccer Picks: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sheffield United

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 3:20 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 3:20 PM GMT

League One’s Sheffield United travels to White Hart Lane on Wednesday to play Tottenham Hotspur in Leg 1 of their Capital One Cup semifinal series. 

 

Odds Overview
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sheffield United, Wednesday 19:45 (Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra (UK) 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur welcomes Football League One side Sheffield United to White Hart Lane on Wednesday to play in the first leg of their Capital One League Cup series in North London, and, as expected, oddsmakers have rightfully made host Spurs monster favorites in this encounter which actually turns out to be a fairly tough handicap.

Spurs are -333 soccer odds favorites, with visitors Sheffield United huge +800 underdogs and the Draw priced at +400 (bet365)  in the Three-Way (Winner) market. The Total Goals for this game is set at 2½ Under -150 (Sky Bet) while the Both Teams To Score odds here have the Yes priced at -137 (bet365, No +100). A random prop bet: Match Result And Both Teams To Score sees Tottenham’s odds at +210, Sheffield United at +1000 and the draw at +450 (William Hill).

The Weather Channel forecast for North London on Wednesday: Snow showers in the morning turning into a mix of Rain and snow in the afternoon; Temperatures in the mid- to high-30s; Winds E at 10 to 15 mph; 50% chance of Precipitation. So, fairly cold and a potentially slick playing surface at White Hart Lane.

 

Sheffield United FC
Sheffield United (10-6-8, 7th place in League One) comes in the loveable underdog—both figuratively and literally in this case—and everyone in the world who’s not a Tottenham fan or who hasn’t bet on Spurs will be pulling for the Blades to pull of the big upset or at least tie the EPL club in the first leg. But Tottenham is at home and has been playing very well in both the English Premier League and the UEFA Europa League and Spurs are getting scoring from a number of different places. For Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough and the Red and White Wizards, slowing down the game and preventing Spurs from using all that talent on the attack will be the mantra, and maybe the wet weather will end up helping Sheffield United in that regard. One thing’s for sure: Blades goalkeeper Mark Howard will have to have a great game as the Time of Possession and Shots on Target should favor Tottenham by about a 3:1 ratio.

The Blades (30 GF-28 GA) will look to forward Mark McNulty (+325, Anytime Goalscorer, bet365), forward Michael Higdon (2 goals, +375), midfielder Jose Baxter (3 goals, 2 assists, +475), Jamie Murphy (4 goals, 4 assists, +500) and striker Chris Porter (+500) for scoring and Sheffield United—which ws promoted to the EPL back in 2006 but relegated a year later in 2007—should give Tottenham a game here for about 30 minutes or so before the hosts get a goal or two and set the tone for both the game and the series. If Spurs can shut down Chelsea by playing a high line and sound defense, then surely they can stifle the Blades if they expend some energy on defense.

The last little guy left in the tournament—EPL heavies Liverpool and Chelsea meet in the other Leg 1 semifinal at Anfield on Tuesday—Sheffield United earned this berth in the semifinals the hard way brother by beating Mansfield Town, 2-1 in Round 1 at home at Bramall Lane in Sheffield; West Ham United, (1-1) 5-4 PKs at the Boleyn Ground in London in Round 2; Leyton Orient, 1-0 at Bramall Lane in Round 3; MK Dons, 2-1 at Stadium mk in Milton Keynes in Round 4; and, upstart Southampton, 1-0 in Round 5 at Bramall Lane. The second leg of this series will be played a week from Wednesday (January 28) at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.

 

Tottenham Hotspur FC
Tottenham Hotspur (11-4-7, 32 GF-30 GA) fell to sixth place in the English Premier League standings after North London neighbor Arsenal shocked defending league champions Manchester City, 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to jump into fifth place. Spurs are playing really good soccer/football and are fifth in the current form table for manager

Mauricio Pochettino. Here at White Hart Lane in this opening leg, Spurs will look to score first and get an early lead so as not to give any hope to a team which has already eliminated West Ham United and Southampton from this tournament which is a knockout competition for the best 92 teams from England and Wales.

And Tottenham has the scoring power now with many players coming into form and Hugo Lloris doing a stand-up job as goalkeeper. New Spurs darling Harry Kane (8 goals, -110, Anytime Goalscorer, bet365), Emmanuel Adebayor (+100), Roberto Soldado (+100), Erik Lamela (+160), Paulinho (+220), Christian Eriksen (8 goals, +174), Nacer Chadli (8 goals, +187) and Andros Townsend (+187) can all supply goals and by the prices for them in this marketplace, it’s almost like a scream that Tottenham will score at least 2 goals, probably 3 and maybe even 4 or more if they have a nice two-goal first half.

This will be Spurs fourth straight game in the Capital One Cup to be played at home at White hart Lane and Tottenham made it to the semifinals of this prestigious tournament by beating Nottingham Forest, 3-1 in Round 3; Brighton & Hove Albion, 2-0 in Round 4; and, Newcastle United, 4-0 in Round 5, outscoring those three opponents 9-1 along the way.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
There’s really not much to work with her in terms of historical data for these two with the series 1-1-2 in 4 matches and Tottenham holding a slight 7-6 scoring edge. Here at White Hart Lane in North London, soccer odds have  Spurs 1-1-0 against Sheffield United with a 3-1 win and a 1-1 draw and the Over is 3-1 in the 4 games between these two (13 goals) with an average of 3.25 gpg being scored. Although a miniscule sample size, this bodes well for Both Teams To Score (Yes) bettors. and the Blades intent here will be to do everything possible to get that first goal as they know the importance of the Road Goal(s) in a two-leg series of a tournament like this. That kind of dedication and nervousness toward getting that first goal could open up the counter attack for Tottenham and with silverware in their minds as well as risking potential embarrassment by falling to a League One club at home, Spurs should be motivated enough to get those 2/3/4 goals and get a healthy leg up heading into next week’s Leg 2 in Sheffield at Bramall Lane.

 

Prediction: Tottenham 3 Sheffield United 1

Free Soccer Pick: Over 2½ -150 (Sky Bet), Tottenham -1 -235 (bet365)

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