Carling Cup Betting

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Also known as the League Cup, the Carling Cup is an annual football tournament that involves all four of England’s top leagues. It is open to 92 clubs in total, including 20 from the Premier League and 72 from the Football League’s Championship, League One, and League Two divisions. It is organised by the Football Association (FA) to run concurrently with FA Cup and league competitions, with rounds played from August through February, and draws conducted in June through October.

When the League Cup started out in the 1960s, games were played under the floodlights at midweek and limited to participation by Football League teams. Matches were played on a home-and-away basis. In 1967, the format was altered slightly to have the finals decided in a single match at London’s Wembley Stadium and Third Division Queens Park Rangers upset First Division West Bromwich, 3-2, to take the cup.

In subsequent years, Second and Third Division teams continued to fare well, at least partly because First Division clubs chose to rest players for bigger tournaments. The Football League had difficulty holding on to sponsors, too. In 1982, the Milk Marketing Board contracted to back the Milk Cup. In 1986, it was changed to the Littlewood Challenge Cup. For a short time, the tournament was known as the Rambelows Cup, and then the Coca Cola Cup.

When the Premier League and Champions League were formed in 1992~93, the League Cup took fourth priority among professional club managers behind the FA Cup and the Premiership and Championship titles. Rather than being the “best of the best,” many fans considered the League Cup to be the “best of the rest.” In 1998, a new sponsor was found and for four years, the Worthington Cup competition was held, and the finals moved to Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales in 2001.

At last, in 2002, some stability came to the League Cup, when Carling signed on. As a beer brand made with 100% British barley, the brand owned by Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK) Ltd. seemed a perfect fit, and the relationship has been mutually beneficial ever since. The finals returned to Wembley, too, in 2008.

When it comes to wagering on the Carling Cup, there are plenty of markets available. All of the stages are covered by U.K. sportsbooks, and international interest in the tournament grows when Premier League clubs join the chase in the Second Round. Then wagering hots up in earnest as the teams playing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup come into the tournament in Third Round.

The semi-finals are held in January, another opportunity for big bets. But by then, the odds are narrowing. Ante post betting begins in early summer, and that’s when odds are most attractive. Teams like Chelsea and Manchester United have dominated play in recent years, opening up the opportunity for high payouts if backing a successful upset-minded club early on. In fact, the ante post prices on the Carling Cup are generally bigger than they are for the FA Cup, owing to the unpredictable nature of the teams that will play in Carling Cup matches.

All of the usual football bets are offered throughout the Carling Cup season, including in-running or live betting. Punters can take a position on which team will score first, what player will score, in what minute the first score will take place over/under, and so on. Betting by half s offered as well.

The wagering is heaviest on the final match, of course, when the Carling Cup winner is decided, but match betting on outright winners and Asian Handicaps are popular throughout the season, too. The latter adds or subtracts goals from the final score to make contests more even when clubs seem mismatched.

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