Who: Chelsea vs. Queens Park Rangers
What: English Premier League, Week 21
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England, UK
When: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast
Time: 19:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT
Television: Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes (US)
Worldwide and : LiveSoccerTV.com
Referee: Lee Mason
3-Way Odds: Chelsea -500, QPR +1400, Draw +550
Total: Over 2½ -222, Under 2½ +150
Decimal Odds: Chelsea 1.20, QPR 15.00, Draw 5.50
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.45, Under 2½ 2.50
Fractional Odds: Chelsea 1/5, QPR 14/1, Draw 9/20
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 9/20, Under 2½ 3/2
Source: sportsbook.com (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles)
Alternate Point Spreads
Chelsea -1 -280, QPR +1 +205
Chelsea -1½ -185, QPR +1½ +145
Chelsea -2 +125, QPR +2 -165
Over 3½ +130, Under 3½ -170
Source: Bovada (Kahnawake, Canada)
With Queens Park Rangers a massive +1,400 underdog against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, it's obvious oddsmakers get the magnitude of this English Premier League mismatch.
The Blues are the heavy favorites (-500) here—in one of the highest lines of the season—and the way they are playing lately combined with the hapless Hoops efforts so far this season makes this handicap more of an in trying to predict the final score rather than trying to predict the winner.
QPR (1-7-12, 16 goals for, 36 goals against) sits at the bottom of the league table, and despite the hiring of manager Harry Redknapp to try to help stop the bleeding, the Hoops are in serious trouble of being relegated from the top flight.
Heading into this west London derby winless on the road (0-3-7, eight goals for, 17 goals against) and second-worst in the Premier League in goal differential (-20), QPR is not in a place a team wants to be a little more than halfway through the season.
Adel Taarabt leads QPR in goals (4) and is tied for the club lead with three assists but the Hoops second-leading scorer Bobby Zamora (3 goals) is still out and trying to recover from a hip injury and their third-leading scorer Djibril Cissé (2 goals) has as many goals all season as Chelsea's Frank Lampard scored on Sunday at Everton.
So QPR, which has scored just once in its last three games, isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut (second-lowest in EPL with 16 goals).
On the other end of the spectrum, fourth-place Chelsea (11-5-3) has really turned the pressure up defensively in the last month under new interim manager Rafael Benítez.
The Blues haven't allowed more than one goal since their 3-1 loss to West Ham United on Dec. 1 and registered their first first back-to-back clean sheets in over a year last month (Aston Villa, Norwich City).
Chelsea—which has allowed the least number of goals (18) in the league—has now won four straight games overall (outscoring opponents 16-2) and four straight in the Premier League (outscoring opponents 14-2).
The European champions (38 points) are clinging to their chances to make a run at Manchester United (52) atop the league table and do have a game in hand after Wednesday's match but really need to do everything right this second half of the season to have that chance.
With top scorers Juan Mata, Fernando Torres (seven goals each) and Frank Lampard (six goals) all starting to contribute, QPR and goalkeepers Júlio César or Rob Green will certainly have their work cut out for them in west London.
Although the Hoops upset the Blues, 1-0 at Loftus Road last season and held them to a scoreless draw there this fall, Chelsea knows this is a game it must get all three points from and is one it should truly dominate.
Last year in this fixture, Chelsea blasted its neighbors, 6-1, and this one should play out the same way. Trendwise, the Blues are 5-3-2 in the last 10 meetings (14-6 goals) in this series which has leaned to the under (8-2).
What will the final result be on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge?
If Čech can't go, Ross Turnbull will most likely get the start for the Blues, a good thing for those interested in betting the over.
In the end, this game probably won't even be close with Torres, Mata, Lampard, Victor Moses and possibly even David Luiz all scoring for the home side which needs the win to keep pace with United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur who all won on Tuesday.
BETS: Chelsea -2 +125, Chelsea -1 -280 (Bovada); Over 2½ -222 (Sportsbook.com)
PREDICTION: Chelsea 5 QPR 1
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