INDIANA, USA - Chelsea and Inter Milan face off in Indianapolis in the latest game of the International Champions Cup - an elite friendly competition taking place stateside. The winner will face AC Milan in the semi finals whilst the loser will meet Valencia in a ranking game.
The bookmakers have chalked up Chelsea as odds on favourites to progress, you can back them at a top price of 1.80 with Paddy Power, while the Italian giants Inter Milan are chalked up 5.00 with Bet35 - a price that has been steadily drifting as punters latch on to Chelsea. The draw is available to back at a top price of 4.00 with BetVictor.
Jose Mourinho has taken a strong squad to America as he fine tunes his preparations ahead of the Premier League season opener on August 18 and he will be keen to beat his former club Inter Milan. As Everton proved yesterday by holding the Italian champions Juventus to a 1-1 draw (they won on pens), the English sides are ahead of the Italians in terms of fitness and I expect that difference to show in Indiana.
Chelsea to win at 1.80 with Paddy Power looks a safe enough bet; however, as always with friendlies, stakes should be conservative. For those that prefer to avoid the match odds in pre-season, you may want to look at the Over 2.5 goals market - Paddy Power offer 1.80 on there being three goals or more - a decent alternative as goals look on the agenda. Chelsea racked up eight goals against an Indonesia XI last time out, and also shared five goals with a Malaysia XI on their tour of Asia.
The goal scorer markets look to have some excellent value too. Romelu Lukaku is enjoying a fine pre-season after netting in his previous three games (including a brace last time out) - you can back the 20 year-old Belgian at odds of 5.50 to net first with Paddy Power, or 2.20 to score anytime. Demba Ba is the market leader at 5.00, Fernando Torres next at 5.50 and Diego Milito is the favourite for Inter Milan at 6.50 with the same firm.
Walter Mazzarri, the former Napoli coach, has taken the reins at Inter following their disappointing season last year and he has a tough rebuilding job on his hands. Mazzarri has been relatively modest in the transfer market so far, Ishak Belfodil has been signed from Parma with Antonio Cassano heading in the other direction but there hasn't been any other additions of note.
Chelsea welcome back Torres, Luiz, Mata and others who participated in the Confederations Cup so they will be at full strength for their first real test of pre-season. Mourinho is keen advocate of winning every match he plays, friendly or not, and I expect Chelsea to be too strong for Inter Milan with Lukaku to continue his fine pre-season form.
Mark Smith's bet on this game: 2pts on Chelsea to win at 1.80 with Paddy Power
Mark Smith's bet on this game: 1pt on Romelu Lukaku to score first at 5.50 (if he starts, check team news) with Paddy Power
The game kicks at 1am BST on Friday 2nd August and is live on Chelsea TV and Fox Sports.