Soccer Picks: Norwich City vs. Chelsea

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 8:53 PM GMT

Here’s an introduction to Chelsea’s date with Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road, with a preview of early soccer odds and picks.

Premier League betting returns to the forefront of soccer betting markets at the weekend with a whole slew of matches. 

It should be pointed out that at the time of writing, on Monday, Chelsea have yet to play their Champions League match against Steaua Bucuresti  in Romania – a match that could have an impact on the weekend’s domestic clash with Norwich City either way depending on its outcome of course and considering the travel involved.

To the optimist, it might very well be a mute point. Although that would be blatantly ignoring the immense pressure they are under this week to not only clinch their first win in Europe’s top-flight competition following a shocking upset by Basel at Stamford Bridge in round one but also to finally get it together in domestic action.

Let’s not forget how temperamental Abramovich can be with those he entrusts to steer his beloved Blues towards glory. Why, even Jose Mourinho is intimately aware of that special ruthlessness he saves for managers, having been shown the Exit at Stamford Bridge before. Speaking of which, Paddypower has a whole slew of odds for the Premier League Sack Race as well as special odds on Mourinho and his tenure at Chelsea – he is a 1/6 bet to remain as manager through this season compared to a 7/2 bet to leave before the final day.

But we digress again so let’s get back to the matter at hand, the clash between Norwich City and Chelsea on Sunday.

Betting on the winner

While Chelsea holds fourth place in the Premier League table with 11 points on the back of a 3-2-1 record on the season, fact is they have failed to impress. Since the dull scoreless draw to Man U – what was a hyped-up affair like nobody’s business, Chelsea have gone on a poor run of form in domestic action that amounts to a 1-1-1 record. Most shocking of all was the 1-0 defeat at Everton.

Most recently they settled on a 1-1 draw to Tottenham Hotspur – another hyped-up affair that fell well short of the mark and into some murky waters, the controversy around the untimely (and unfair perhaps) red card to Fernando Torres.

Yet, in spite of this questionable form, Chelsea are installed as the firm favourites to win outright at -188 at Bet365. That they are quoted so is obviously not down to rich form but rather the big reputation that precedes them. Few punters are readily likely to back Norwich City against them, let’s face it.

Adding weight to Chelsea’s odds perhaps as well is a perceived lack of quality in Norwich camp, an opinion summarily reflected in the hosts’ soccer odds of +550 to win outright at Bet365.

Currently in 14th place, two points above the drop zone, Norwich boasts a 2-1-3 record in domestic action (incidentally, the same mark Man U has in six laps around the league). Unlike Man U however they are on the back of a two-game winning streak having beaten Watford 3-2 in League Cup action and Stoke City 1-0 in week 6 of Premier League action.

Could they build on this recent momentum and take advantage of a weary Blues’ side that will be returning from midweek action in Romania? It’s a fair question given the how the world order seems to be changing in Premier League this season.

If it had been just a question of building on momentum alone, the resounding answer would have to be no. The fact that Chelsea does have a trek to Bucharest to contend with and mounting pressure to boot does lend an interesting plot twist to this Norwich affair, one that could (in theory) tip the scale towards the unthinkable – either a disappointing (from Chelsea’s perspective naturally) draw at +300 or ... dare we say it.... drum roll... a shocking (and most likely managerial-ending) victory over Chelsea.

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If Mourinho however takes a page from the second-half of the game against Tottenham Hotspur, when he finally deigned to allow Juan Mata to step onto the pitch only for the twinkle-toed Spaniard to inject some enthusiasm into the lifeless Blues and instantly impact the game, a Chelsea win should be in the bag surely. Mourinho has confirmed Mata will start in the Champions League game in the Romanian capital; make it three straight starts and he might very well turn the Blues’ fortunes around singlehandedly.

Soccer Free Picks: Chelsea to win outright at -188 for your soccer picks. 

Let's also look at some of my Champions League Predictions~