The Carabao Cup – formerly known as the EFL Cup – stands alongside the FA Cup as England’s prominent cup competition, and is open only to the 92 members of the Premier League and Football League pyramid. Check out this guide for all you need to know about Carabao Cup betting!

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The EFL League Cup, now commonly known as its sponsored name the Carabao Cup, is widely regarded as England’s secondary cup competition only behind the FA Cup.

To be absolutely clear, League Cup betting, EFL Cup Betting, and Carabao Cup betting all mean the same thing.

The competition, which usually begins in August and ends with a Wembley final in February, follows a knockout structure and is open to all 92 clubs in England’s top four divisions.

Though this is a straight knockout competition, it’s not as straightforward as you might expect, with many teams entering in later stages of the competition. This has been done to ease the overcrowded football schedule of top level clubs, especially those playing in European competitions.

Round 1

The first round consists of 70 teams and 35 games. These include all current EFL League 1 and EFL League 2 occupants, as well as 22 out of 24 championship sides. The two Championship sides which are left out are the teams which finished 18th and 19th in the Premier League the previous season. In this year's case, they were Burnley and Watford.

Round 2

Then, in Round 2, the two Championship sides enter alongside the 13 Premier League teams which are not involved in any European competitions, totalling 50 teams and 25 matches.

Round 3 and Beyond

The seven premier league clubs left to join enter Round 3 with the 25 winners of Round 2, amounting to 32 teams in all. From this point on it becomes a normal knockout, with 16 teams progressing to the 4th round, eight teams progressing to the 5th round / quarter-finals, and so on and so forth until the Final in February at Wembley.

Unlike the FA Cup, there are no replays, with ties played in rounds 1-5 and decided via a penalty shootout should the match end in a draw. There are no extra-time periods until the semi-finals, which are two-legged affairs.

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Upcoming Fixtures

The 4th round, also considered the quarter-finals of the competition, features a great mix of teams – the majority of which (10) are teams from the Premier League. Two teams are from the Championship, three teams have made it from League One, and most surprisingly, Gillingham have made it from League Two.

Results

With a total of 85 games already played throughout the three rounds of the competition, it’s safe to say there have been many great games and upsets. The leagues have become so competitive that it’s no surprise that some of the better teams in lower divisions might beat worse teams in a higher league.

Everyone loves a Cupset! This season so far there have been three matches where a team from two divisions below beat a team from two divisions above. All three are League 2 sides overcoming Championship opposition. Most surprisingly, two premier League team also managed to lose to League two sides.

Bradford (L2) 2-1 Hull City (C)

Hull City continue to struggle in the Championship, hovering in and around the relegation zone. Bradford are doing the exact opposite and are firmly in the League Two playoff spots. The result is still a shock, even though they may end up meeting each other in League One next season.

Reading (C) 1-2 Stevenage (L2)

Stevenage are having a great season, currently 2nd in League Two and looking likely to get promoted. Reading are in 12th place in the Championship, however they’re only three points off the promotion spots. The two teams met in the 1st round, with Stevenage scoring early before Reading equalised in the second half. Stevenage then grabbed a late winner to take them through to the next round.

Luton Town (C) 2-3 Newport County (L2)

A surprising result by any metric, Luton are one point off the playoffs, enjoying a great spell at the moment. However, Newport came from behind twice to secure the win! A truly shocking result given the situation – they are currently at risk of losing their league status altogether, stuck in the lower end of the League Two table.

Brentford (P) 1-1(5-6 on pens) Gillingham (L2)

A huge upset for Premier League team Brentford, who are enjoying a decent spell in the top flight. Gillingham conceded early in the 3rd round but managed to claw a draw back with their only shot of the game. As there is no extra time, the tie went straight to penalties.

Brentford missed the crucial 6th penalty, giving Gillingham the chance to make history and advance to the 4th round.

Crawley Town (L2) 2-0 Fulham (P)

The biggest upset of all this season was Fulham, who currently are enjoying a great spell at the top half of the Premier League table. Fulham were convincingly beaten by Crawley Town, currently facing relegation to the National League.

Separated by a staggering 76 league places, Fulham were shocked in the 2nd round by a great performance from Crawley – who then went on to lose in the next round to Burnley.

With 16 teams left in the competition, it’s still anyone’s guess as to who is most likely to lift the trophy. However, bookies are fairly certain that a Premier League team will win it. Below are the odds for each team left in the tournament.

TeamOddsBookmaker
Manchester City30/17SBK
Manchester United6/1BetVictor
Liverpool6/1Paddy Power
Newcastle7/1Ladbrokes
Brighton12/1bet365
Leicester20/1bet365
Southampton25/1Sporting Index
Wolves25/1Sporting Index
Nottingham Forest40/1Unibet
AFC Bournemouth50/1bet365
Blackburn Rovers100/1Unibet
Burnley100/1Paddy Power
Charlton Athletic250/1Betway
MK Dons500/1bet365
Lincoln City750/1Sporting Index
Gillingham2000/1BetVictor

With the first three rounds of the Carabao Cup already concluded, most of the 92 teams have been eliminated. Only 16 teams remain for the 4th round of the competition.

Since the competition may be considered of lesser importance, many of the top clubs play a rotated squad, allowing for more upsets and smaller teams advancing to the later stages of the competition. This can be clearly seen this year with a decent variety of team who aren’t in the Premier League, as well as there being a proportion of the Premier league teams coming from the bottom half of the table.

The 4th round is set to take place right after the World Cup, which could mean that international players may be rested. This could prove to be the perfect opportunity for smaller clubs without international players to advance against better opposition. Dates: December 20th-21st, 2022.

The quarter-finals pit the eight winners from the previous round against one another. This round is still played as a single leg at club grounds, with the 5th the last round to be played in this format. Dates: January 10-11, 2023.

The semi-final is the first and only round played over two legs, played as home and away and using both teams grounds as venues. The winners are those with the highest overall score over the two legs, and then advance to the final. Date: January 25th and February 1st, 2023.

The Final is set to be played in England’s so-called ‘cathedral of football', Wembley Stadium. The last two remaining teams will battle it out here to enter their names in the history books and for an automatic qualification to the UEFA Europa Conference League. Date: February 26th, 2023.

Below are the dates for the rest of the Carabao Cup competition.

RoundDate
4th RoundDecember 20th-21st, 2022
Quarter-FinalJanuary 10-11, 2023
Semi-FinalJanuary 25th and February 1st, 2023
FinalFebruary 26th, 2023

With the competition reaching deeper into the knockout stages, betting on who might end up on top gets very interesting. Some ties are harder than others, but we still believe that we can give some decent predictions about this round and the overall end of the competition.

By far the biggest game of this round, and a matchup which wouldn’t have looked out of place as the final of the competition, Manchester City face Liverpool in what is set up to be a classic tie. It’s hard not to predict that the winner of this game will go on to win the tournament.

Other great shouts include Manchester United, who are now flying high under Erik Ten Hag. Meanwhile, somewhat of an interesting inclusion are Newcastle, who have used their newfound wealth brilliantly and are now looking to get their first top flight domestic trophy since 1956.

We’d love to see Gillingham defeat another Premier League club in Wolves, and mount a proper unlikely cup run, however we think Wolves will be too strong an opposition. With a bit of luck, Blackburn may also surprise some punters. Playing brilliantly in the Championship, a poor Nottingham side seems beatable.

However, when looking at the top prize, we believe that Manchester City will be able to overcome their biggest hurdle and beat Liverpool to the cup. With the likes of Haaland leading the line, they seem unstoppable.

The below tips can serve as a guide not just for the Carabao Cup, but for betting in general. Taking the time to fully understand them can enhance your overall experience as a punter, and may just give you the added edge you need to finding value for your bets!

  1. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you: If you’re betting on your favourite team, or any side you have a vested interest in, make sure you remain as unbiased as possible.While being a footie fan should always be about passion and having fun, letting yourself get carried away doesn’t necessarily make for the smartest Carabao Cup betting. Your ability to analyse Carabao Cup odds quality, for instance, may start to wobble under the strain of your excitement. If that is the case – if you can’t separate your head from your heart on a particular market, especially when talking about backing a team to win – then it is time to look elsewhere.
  2. Check out alternative markets: The good news is that there’s plenty of places to look, thanks to an amazing selection of alternative markets available on events like this. Sports betting can often have great variety, especially for something as popular as football. Over/under markets, Asian handicap betting markets, players markets, and plenty more can all offer great options if you don’t find backing a team to win or a Carabao Cup draw exciting enough. Just check out our betting guide on EFL transfers for an example of how interesting and rewarding sports betting on footie alternatives can be.
  3. Utilise the football stats: When it comes to making smarter predictions, stats can be your best friend. Check out our football stats centre, which includes great info on everything from penalties to football goal statistics across a ton of English (and European) teams. Moreover, the entire top flight of the English football league is included. Considering both the finalists are in the Premier League and have a huge history together, there’s a treasure trove of relevant stats to help inform you.
  4. Shop around for the best odds: The popularity of League Cup betting makes for excellent odds, as bookmakers will try their best in order to convince you to choose them over all the others. If you find better, more competitive odds away from your preferred bookie, by all means, sign up and take advantage. Remember that you can sign up to as many operators as you like without it affecting your other accounts.
  5. Take advantage of the promotions: Not only does Carabao Cup betting offer the promise of excellent odds, but it also results in some of the best promotions you’ll find anywhere. Again, it’s a huge event, and with operators desperate to grab your attention, you will find very generous bonuses available across various sites. These could range from free bet no deposit offers for new customers to enhanced odds on specific markets. So, while shopping around, be sure pay attention to that promotions page!

The Carabao Cup is a fantastic tournament for betting, especially for football fans.

Outright Winner

This is the most common bet associated with Carabao Cup betting, as you’re picking who you think will win the competition in February. The bet is very simple, especially as it gets easier to pick a winner as the rounds go by. The odds however, get lower, so keep that in mind.

Carabao Cup Betting on Rounds

With the Carabao Cup comprising five rounds, two two-legged semi-finals and a final, there’s plenty of football to bet on. Interesting fixtures are inevitable, with the possibility of a giant killing or two arriving at every stage.

Tournament Top Scorer

Available at the beginning of the tournament, this is an incredibly tough bet to nail due to the unpredictability of the competition, as well as the likelihood of the top teams rotating and the low number of goals it’ll take to top the scoring charts. Betting on a club starting in an earlier round may be beneficial, especially when facing weak opposition.

Each-Way Bet

Each-way sports betting is more commonly associated with horse racing and golf, but it does creep into football on the odd occasion. When League Cup betting on outright winners, you can place an each-way bet, which means the selected team will just have to reach the final for your wager to be successful. If they finish as runners-up, you’ll still get paid on the place part of your bet. 

  • Following a decade-long discussion over its formation, the EFL League Cup was established at the start of the 1960/61 season, with Aston Villa its inaugural winners. Back then, any betting taking place was known as English Football League Cup betting or League Cup betting.
  • For some, the competition was regarded as a “consolation” for those who’d been knocked out of the FA Cup and thus had another chance to win silverware. For others, the competition was a necessary introduction to the English league football that was losing its prestige, with match day attendances in stark decline at the start of the ‘60s.
  • Initially, the ‘big’ clubs in England dismissed the League Cup as useless and a distraction in their efforts to claim a place in the more lucrative and recently-established European Cup. However, the awarding of a European place to the competition’s victor swiftly altered the minds of the UK’s football elite. That, combined with an annual Wembley final, saw the competition’s popularity soar.
  • From 1972, entry into the League Cup was made compulsory for all Football League teams.
  • Liverpool dominated in the 1980s, lifting the trophy no less than four times on the spin at the start of the decade. Such superiority can only be rivalled by the current Manchester City team, who have won five of the last six League Cup competitions.
  • For the modern-day supporter, the League Cup is more commonly known by its sponsor name. There have been a multitude of sponsors over the years: Littlewoods, Milk (literally, milk), Rumbelows, Worthington, Coca Cola, Carling Cup, Capital One, and, of course, Carabao.
  • Last but not least, it is impossible to discuss the recent history of the EFL Cup without mentioning the coronavirus pandemic. The global viral outbreak had a huge impact on both of the previous seasons’ tournaments. Indeed, this tournament saw Rochdale get a bye due to a COVID-19 outbreak across many players of the Harrogate Town team, while the semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool was postponed due to an outbreak among the Liverpool squad.
YearWinnerRunner-Up
2022LiverpoolChelsea
2021Manchester CityTottenham Hotspur
2020Manchester CityAston Villa
2019Manchester CityChelsea
2018Manchester CityArsenal
2017Manchester UnitedSouthampton
2016Manchester CityLiverpool
2015ChelseaTottenham Hotspur
2014Manchester CitySunderland
2013Swansea CityBradford City
2012LiverpoolCardiff City
2011Birmingham CityArsenal
2010Manchester UnitedAston Villa
2009Manchester UnitedTottenham Hotspur
2008Tottenham HotspurChelsea
2007ChelseaArsenal
2006Manchester UnitedWigan Athletic
2005ChelseaLiverpool
2004MiddlesbroughBolton Wanderers
2003Liverpool Manchester United
2002Blackburn Rovers Tottenham Hotspur
2001LiverpoolBirmingham City
2000Tranmere RoversTranmere Rovers
TeamWinsRunner-UpYears Won
Liverpool941980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1994–95, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2011–12
Manchester City811969–70, 1975–76, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020-21
Aston Villa541960–61, 1974–75, 1976–77, 1993–94, 1995–96
Manchester United541991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2016–17
Chelsa541964–65, 1997–98, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15
Tottenham Hotspur441970–71, 1972–73, 1998–99, 2007–08
Nottingham Forest421977–78, 1978–79, 1988–89, 1989–90
Leicester City321963–64, 1996–97, 1999–2000
Arsenal261986–87, 1992–93
Norwich City221961–62, 1984–85
PlayerGoals
Ian Rush49
Robbie Fowler33
Jermaine Defoe22
Michael Owen19
Sir Kenny Dalglish18
Jay Rodriguez18
Frank Lampard17
Nathan Ellington17
Andy Cole16
Alan Shearer16
  • Liverpool have won the cup 9 times, a tournament record.
  • Liverpool have appeared in the most finals (13).
  • The Reds’ Ian Rush has scored the most goals in the competition (49).
  • Aston Villa won the first League Cup competition way back in 1961.
  • Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho have won the competition a record six times.

Based on our research, the best bookies for the Carabao Cup are bet365, BetVictor and the Paddy Power betting site.

The fixtures are played at club grounds until the final, which will be played on the 26th of February at Wembley Stadium.

The semi-final remains the only round which is played over two legs, which are played at both team’s grounds.

Yes, all matches that end as a draw in the first five rounds will go straight to penalties. In the semi-finals and final, extra time will be played as well.

No – they are simply different names for the same tournament. If you see them advertised by either name through your bookmaker, they will be referring to the same thing, whether it is Carabao Cup betting, English Football League Cup betting, League Cup betting, or EFL Cup betting.

This year, it will take place on the 25th February 2023.

The Carabao Cup certainly lacks the (albeit fading) prestige of the FA Cup, but it’s nonetheless a chance for teams to fight it out for a piece of major silverware. After the first few rounds of the competition are over, the remaining sides always turn it up a notch, making it a highly compelling spectacle to watch and bet on!

WRITTEN BY Jeremy Sant Fournier
View all posts by Jeremy Sant Fournier

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s sports. A football fanatic at heart, Jeremy can always been found watching, playing or talking about sports. It’s in his blood, and with a keen interest in sports betting, sports writing is a match made in heaven.

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