Facing a domestic campaign they are expected to dominate, Celtic are out to keep their Champions League hopes alive when they travel to meet Helsingborg on Tuesday
The fourth and final qualifying round in the UEFA Champions League gets underway on Tuesday, and it is crunch time for Scottish champions Celtic in their bid to make it through to the group stages of the world's most prestigious club competition.
Celtic, who desperately need Champions League football this season to enliven what is expected to be a dull domestic campaign given the absence of long-time rivals Rangers, head into the first leg of their decisive qualifying tie against Swedish champions Helsingborg as only slight favourites.
Luxbet's Andy Scott said betting is virtually dead-locked in the biggest of the five games being played on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time], with Celtic heading into the first leg as the narrowest of favourites at $2.50, with Helsingborg at $2.60 and the draw at $3.15.
Celtic have endured a tricky start to the Scottish Premier League season in a year in which they are expected to stroll to the title after Rangers' shock demotion to Division Three after the club became insolvent.
An unflattering 1-0 home win over Aberdeen on the opening day of the season was followed by a disappointing 1-1 away draw against lowly Ross County on the weekend, when Celtic needed an injury-time equaliser from Kris Commons to salvage a point.
However, Celtic's performances in Europe so far this season have been encouraging.
In the third qualifying round, they dispensed with Finnish side HJK 4-1 on aggregate and impressively won the second leg away 2-0 to make a mockery of their poor recent away record in Europe.
And Helsingborg have been far from dominant in the Swedish league this season. After 19 matches, they sit in fifth place and some 10 points behind leaders Elfsborg, who they went down to 2-1 on the weekend.
|Monchengladbach to beat Dynamo Kiev at $2.02 at Luxbet
||Celtic and Helsingborg to draw at $3.15 at Luxbet|
A draw would be a good result for Celtic in the away leg and at the value odds of $3.15 looks the way to gohere, although we fancy the Scottish side to prevail over the two legs with the second leg to come at Parkhead next week.
The best backed team in the five games being played on Tuesday has been German club Borussia Monchengladbach at home in the first leg of their tie against Ukraine's Dynamo Kyiv.
Monchengladbach finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season and look the bet of the night at $2.02 at Luxbet to win at home in the first leg, with the draw at $3.30 and Dynamo Kiev at $3.40.
Swiss side FC Basel are the shortest-priced favourites of the night at $1.65 against Romania's CFR Cluj at $4.80 and should win, as should Russian club Spartak Moscow at $1.88 at home to Turkish club Fenerbahce, who are priced at $3.75 at Luxbet.
However, the remaining clash on Tuesday - with another five games to be played on Wednesday - is a lot tougher, with experienced Danish side FC Copenhagen underdogs at home at $3.05 at Luxbet up against well-credentialed French side Lille at $2.20, with the draw again looking good value in this game at $3.15.