How the Bookies See it
- Winner: Chelsea 4/7, Draw 16/5, Middlesbrough 11/2 - BetVictor
- First Goalscorer: Diego Costa (CHE) 3/1, Michy Batshuayi (CHE) 7/2, Eden Hazard (CHE) 9/2 - Paddy Power
- Half Time/Full Time: Chelsea/Chelsea 6/4, Draw/Chelsea 3/1, Draw/Draw 9/2 - Coral
- Middlesbrough find themselves in the bottom half of the table and just a point above the dreaded relegation zone. Two wins from their opening 11 fixtures suggests that Boro are finding their Premier League return a little tricky, but recent draws with Arsenal and Manchester City should give Aitor Karanka’s men cause for optimism.
- Chelsea started the season in fine form before suffering a three game wobble, including defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, which nearly cost Antonio Conte his job. However, since switching to a back three, the Italian has seen his side flourish, racking up five straight league wins without conceding a goal. A 5-0 victory over a rejuvenated Everton side last time out suggests that the Blues mean business as they go in search of their second title in three seasons.
Middlesbrough’s record against Chelsea in the Premier League isn’t great. The Riverside club have picked up just five wins in 28 games since the Premier League’s inception in 1992 and haven't tasted victory over the London side in more than a decade in all competitions. Aitor Karanka’s side aren’t being tipped to halt this run any time soon, with William Hill offering odds of 6/1 on a win for the home side.
However, Boro fans may be buoyed by their team’s recent performances against Arsenal and Manchester City, making a draw far more likely. A goalless affair is priced at 10/1 with Ladbrokes, while a score draw is available at 4/1 with Sky Bet. If his team are to score, Karanka may opt to throw a Spaniard in the works by starting Alvaro Negredo. The striker is priced at 9/1 to net first, while a goal anytime looks more likely at 3/1, both with Sky Bet.
The international break has taken its toll on Chelsea, with both Diego Costa and Eden Hazard picking up knocks. While Conte may opt to risk Hazard, it remains unclear whether Costa will make it into the starting XI, or even the bench. Should the striker prove fit enough, expect the Chelsea manager to utilise the physical presence of his goal-grabbing front man against the Boro defenders. Paddy Power have the 28-year-old priced at 3/1 to open the scoring and 4/5 to score anytime.
This is a game that the travelling Chelsea fans will be confident of winning, especially if the men from the Bridge can keep a sixth straight clean sheet in the league. Bet365 have the Blues priced at evens to shut the home side out and 7/5 to win to nil. Alternatively, for those who believe that Chelsea will concede their first goal in over 500 minutes of Premier League action but still succeed, an away win with both teams finding the net could be worth a flutter at 11/4.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Chelsea to win and both teams to score: 11/4 with Betfred
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.