Betting round-up: Celtic outsiders for Barca re-match

The bookies are giving Neil Lennon and his team have little hope of springing another surprise at home to heavyweights Barcelona this week, writes Paul Gough

Scottish giants Celtic are being given little chance by the bookies of repeating their famous win of last season over Spanish title holders Barcelona in the pick of the eight Champions League matches on Tuesday night, despite the absence of superstar Lionel Messi.

The 2006, 2009 and 2011 Champions League winners have won all seven matches in La Liga so far this season and look simply awesome given their goal difference is already plus 19, while they have scored four goals in three of their past four matches.

And on matchday one in this season's Champions League, Barcelona began their campaign with a devastating 4-0 win over Dutch side Ajax in Group H, with their Argentine superstar Messi scoring a hat-trick.

However, Messi will miss Tuesday night's game with a thigh injury.

But heading into matchday two this week and Barcelona are still the $5 second favourites to win this season's competition - behind defending champions Bayern Munich at $4.50.

Celtic, in contrast, are paying $751 to win this season's competition and suffered a 2-0 loss at AC Milan on matchday one.

And they are the $8 outsiders at bet365 to win Tuesday night's game at Parkhead, with Barcelona the $1.40 favourites and the draw paying $4.50.

However, a word of warning for those getting ready to take short odds on the Catalan giants!

In last season's group phase, Celtic pulled off a famous 2-1 win upset win at home against Barcelona, who only scored in injury-time thanks to Messi.

And Celtic also beat Barcelona at Parkhead 1-0 in the 2004 UEFA Cup competition although the other six meetings between the sides have ended in four wins for Barcelona and two draws.

Celtic are paying a massive $21 at bet365 to repeat their famous 2-1 win of last season in correct score betting while Barcelona to win 2-0 is the favoured option at $7.50.

But with both sides in great goal-scoring form - Celtic hammered five past Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premier League on the weekend - the safest bet in this match appears to be the $1.60 on offer at bet365 on there being more than 2.5 goals scored in the match.

With Messi not playing, the goal-scoring markets are much more wide open than usual with Barca's Brazilian star Neymar the $4 favourite at bet365 to score the game's first goal - where Barcelona players fill the first six places in betting.

The highest Celtic players in that market are Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras at $11 but Samaras looks worth a bet at $3.75 to score at any stage, after his hat-trick against Killie on the weekend.

But even without Messi, Barcelona will surely avenge their shock loss of last season but we think Celtic will score at some stage so we would rather back them to win 3-1 at odds of $11 in correct score betting.


Back Arsenal and Chelsea to win.


Atletico Madrid and Basel are great value at $2.60 in head-to-head betting at bet365.

In the other Group H match, Milan are the $2.25 favourites at bet365 to beat an Ajax side that looked out of their depth on matchday one at $3.10 - with the draw paying $3.40.

The other big clash on Tuesday night is in Group F where surprise early season EPL leaders Arsenal host rapidly-improving Serie A side Napoli - now being managed by former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez.

Both sides recorded impressive wins on matchday one at the expense of Marseille and Borussia Dortmund respectively but we will go for Arsenal at home at $2 at bet365 with Napoli paying $3.60 and the draw at $3.50.

But in the other game last season's runners-up Dortmund should bounce back at odds of $1.28 at home against Marseille at $10.

In Group G Zenit are the shortest-priced favourites of the night at $1.25 at bet365 at home to Austrian minnows Austria Wien at $12 but the other game is a ripper with Spain's Atletico Madrid only slight favourites at $2.60 away to Porto at $2.70.

But Atletico, winners of the 2010 and 2012 Europa League, are one of the most improved teams in Europe and are coming off a sensational 1-0 away win over Real Madrid in La Liga on the weekend.

And finally in Group E, Chelsea should bounce back from their shock home loss to Basel on matchday one by winning away at $1.70 at bet365 against Romanian side Steaua Bucharest at $5 while Basel look good value at home as the $2.60 equal favourites against German side Schalke.

*Note prices subject to change

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