The EFL Cup – for the next season known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons – begins in earnest this evening with the first round. No Premier League sides enter the fray until the next round, so this is an excellent opportunity for the weaker clubs to cause some early upsets. With 24 sides from League Two, 24 from League One, and 22 from the Championship, there is ample scope for this to happen, particularly as managers may feel the need to rest key personnel now that the league campaigns have begun, and they know that it has been four years since League Two outfit Bradford City were finalists in a trophy dominated by the Premier League.

With 70 clubs in action over Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Tipbet have odds on all matches. A game with close odds is taking place at the Crown Ground, where Preston North End are visiting Accrington Stanley. Preston travel on the back of a 1-0 win over promotion hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday, and Alex Neil will expect his side to continue the streak. The Lancashire club are 2.25 to win in normal time as, unlike the FA Cup, draws (3.40 for this clash) go to extra-time and penalties instead of replays. Accrington are at 3.20 and will be confident having beaten Colchester United 3-1 on Saturday.

Colchester welcome Championship title hopefuls Aston Villa on Wednesday, with Steve Bruce’s men looking to make progress in the Cup having started their season in the second tier with a 1-1 draw against fellow relegated side Hull City. With John Terry well-versed in claiming silverware on a yearly basis, this competition probably represents the best chance for the Villans to reach the latter stages. They are 1.22 to advance to the second round with Tipbet.

Bury face one of the trickiest tasks in hosting Sunderland. Though they beat Walsall 1-0, the League One club advancing would represent something of a giantkilling given that the Black Cats were only relegated from the Premier League in May. Under Simon Grayson, however, they are a much more workmanlike team and drew 1-1 with Derby County in their Championship opener last weekend. Sunderland are 1.60 to advance, or 2.20 to do it in normal time, with Bury at 3.35; the close odds suggesting that it will not be straightforward for Grayson in only his second competitive fixture.

Other standout fixtures feature Leeds United against Port Vale and Birmingham City hosting Crawley Town.

Tipbet also have season bets on which club will claim the trophy in February 2018. Chelsea are current 7.25 favourites, with holders Manchester United 7.50, level with Manchester City. Odds will clearly fluctuate as the tournament progresses, though Everton, at 18.2, represent a long shot and Wayne Rooney will be desperate to win silverware with his club following his return from United.