Wednesday 21st July, Champions League Betting Tips & Match Previews
Noticed a few follower wins off the back of my Champions League predictions yesterday, so thought lets get some research done for tonight’s games.
There’s six Champions League qualifiers, kicking off at 6pm onwards. I won’t be betting on any of them myself but I’ve written up my research on them below.
Malmo vs HJK
This game should interest any Rangers fans as you play the winner in the next round.
Both sides top their domestic tables after 12, Malmo have won three league matches in a row and head into tonight fresh from smashing five past midtable Degerfors on Saturday.
HJK meanwhile are six points clear of second but actually lost to bottom of the table Oulu at the weekend. Whilst Malmo did play a mostly strengthened team vs Degerfors, HJK opted to rest most of their key players vs Oulu so it will be interesting to see how tonight goes.
The bookies have Malmo the clear favourites to win, 1.40 vs HJK at 9.40. The Sweden Allevsekn is ranked six places higher than the Finland Veikkausliiga in the European Power Ranking and Malmo do have a lot of top quality players for their level so it’s easy to see why.
Croatian striker Antonio Colak is top scorer with seven league goals, whilst club captain Anders Christiansen has returned to the squad in fine form after taking part in Denmark’s journey to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
I’d side with a home win on this one, HJK don’t have the best record in the Champions League, failing to make it past this point in their last two appearances.
Goals look good too, Malmo averaging 3.75 per game in Sweden, HJK 2.50 in Finland. You can get over 1.5 goals at 1.25 or over 2.5 at 1.8.
Mura vs Ludogorets
After being dissolved twice for financial issues since 2005, Mura are living the fairytale at the moment in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League after winning their first ever Slovakian top flight league last season.
They beat closest rivals Maribor 3–1 on the final day to finish top by head-to-head standings. That is SCENES! They made easy work of Macedonia’s Shkendija in the Champions League opener, winning both home and away games 6-0 on aggregate.
They now however face tougher opposition in Ludogorets who made it to the Champions League group stages in 2014-15 and 2016-17, and the Europa League group stages in each four seasons after that.
In short, they have a lot more experience on how to get through these rounds compared to Mura who are very much novices. Mura’s title defence didn’t get off to the best of starts either on Saturday, a 3-0 home defeat to Tabor Sezana who finished mid-table last season.
Ludogorets meanwhile hammered CSKA Sofia 4-0 in the Bulgarain pre season cup final on Saturday, a game they were over evens to win. I’d look at Ludogorets draw no bet at 1.36 for an acca selection, my only worry would be if they play like they would be happy with a draw and take that into the second leg.
Slovan Bratislava vs Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava beat Irish side Shamrock Rovers 3-2 on agg in the last round to book a place here, whilst Young Boys enter at this stage after winning the Swiss Super league by a staggering 29 points ahead of Basel last season.
Following the title success, manager Gerardo Seoane has since moved to German Bundesliga side Bayern Leverkusen and former Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner has taken over.
It will be his first competitive match tonight but has overseen five friendlies winning three, drawing one and losing the other. Most notably an impressive 2-0 win over Dutch side Feyenoord.
Young Boys are a side who year on year have a knack of progressing through the early qualifying rounds. In fact, they haven’t been knocked out at this stage since 2004 and have been a regular participant in the Europa League group stages for the past 10 years making the Champions League groups once in 2018-19.
Slovan Bratislava meanwhile were knocked out on penalties by Finland side KuPS at this stage last season however qualified for the Europa League group stage the season before.
Difficult one to call this in my eyes, I’m not convinced David Wagner’s appointment as Young Boys boss will prove to be the right one long term after what happened at Schalke setting a club record 16 league games without a win between 25 January and 27 June 2020.
Both teams to score at 1.57 looks a good bet to me.
Legia Warsaw vs Flora
Legia are the overwhelming favourites in this one with Flora as far out as 14/1 to win, Legia ranked 98th in the UEFA club rankings and Flora 181st under a lot of poor sides.
Legia saw off our beloved Bodo/Glimt in the last round winning 5-2 on agg which despite Bodo struggling a little is a very impressive result, Bodo went into the first leg as favourites.
Flora meanwhile beat Maltese side Hibernians in the last round who had never got past the second round qualifying anyway and not to be mistaken by Scottish side Hibs.
Legia have the far superior squad here over Flora and anything other than a win would be a disappointing result.
It’s 1.18 on most bookies but win and over 1.5 goals looks better at 1.36 for an acca selection. If you want something higher then Leiga half-time/full-time at 1.73 could be a shout but obviously comes with more risk.
Olympiakos vs Neftci Baku
Another hot heavy favourite here as Greek champions Olympiakos host Azerbaijan side Neftci Baku who before today I have never heard of.
Olympiakos should dominate this game from start to finish and I would be surprised if we didn’t see them score at least three goals here.
Most of Neftci’s team have never played outside the Azerbaijan Premier League whilst Olympiacos have Tomas Vaclik (Czech Republic international goalkeeper, just kept clean sheets at the Euro’s vs England and Netherlands), Ruben Samedo (former Sporting Lisbon), Yan M’vila (former Sunderland in the Premier League), Sokratis (former Arsenal in the Premier League), Mathieu Valbuena (former Marseille and Lyon) and striker Tiqunho Soares (former Porto who in scored 15 goals in 28 games in 2018-19 and 10 in 30 the next season in the top flight).
Now if that compared to a team of Azerbaijan Premier League players isn’t a strong enough showing of gulf in class then I don’t know what is. 1.15 is obviously quite low to win but there are lots of other options with more value such as win both halves at 2.4, win and over 2.5 at 1.67 etc.
PSV vs Galatasaray
Last but not least, this is as mouth watering as it gets at this stage of the competition. On paper you would probably mistake this for a Europa League knockout match.
Both sides enter the competition at this stage having finished second in their respective leagues last season, Galatasaray missing out on the title on just goal difference.
PSV have had no problems finding the net in pre-season, scoring 17 over four friendly matches. They averaged 2.2 goals per game in the Eredivisie last season and scored in all but one game.
Galatasaray meanwhile were second for goals in the Super Lig last season with 80 scored and will bring a potent attack in the likes of Philips Stadion and legendary striker Radamel Falcao.
Goals look good to me in this one and over 2.5 at 1.75 looks good value. The winner will play either Celtic or Midtjylland in the next round.