Manchester City (+100) at Everton (+280), Draw (+275)
This afternoon (3:00 PM Eastern), Goodison Park will host the first leg of an absorbing Capital One Cup semi-final between Everton and Manchester City.
The winner of the two-game aggregate goal series will meet the winner of Stoke/Liverpool in a one-game finale at Wembley Stadium (Sunday, Feb. 28).
Manchester City are heavy favorites to advance to the final, sitting at -400. Everton are a +300 underdog for the series as a whole, and +280 home ‘dogs for the first leg.
The Toffees, who currently sit 11th in the EPL (6-9-5, 36 pts), advanced to the semis thanks to wins over Barnsley, Reading, Norwich, and Middlesbrough, none of whom are Premier League squads. While they needed extra time to get rid of Barnsley and penalties to eliminate Norwich, their matchup with City will be their first real test of the tourney.
Everton comes in off a draw with Tottenham during weekend EPL action. The draw continued something of a slump for the club, which has just one win in its last six games (a 1-0 victory over struggling Newcastle).
City were the early leaders in the EPL this year, but they now find themselves three back of top-dog Arsenal thanks, in large part, to a 2-1 setback to the Gunners in late December. They have looked great in every stage of the Capital One Cup, though, destroying Sunderland, Crystal Palace, and Hull City by a combined score of 13-3 on their way to the semis.
If the Citizens do advance, they’ll have the chance to claim their second League Cup title in the last three years.
Look for today’s match to be a high-scoring affair. Both squads are in the top-three in goals-for in the EPL (City lead with 39, while Everton are third with 36) and Everton are allowing an EPL-worst 1.8 goals per game.
Manchester City have won four of the last five games against Everton (4-1-0) and two of those wins came at Goodison Park. This game should be no different. Expect the Citizens’ offensively-loaded roster to have a field day at Goodison.
Pick: Manchester City (+100).
(Photo credit: Дмитрий Голубович (soccer.ru) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)