Benfica - Celtic Betting Preview: Back the hosts to earn a hard-fought victory

Neil Lennon's Hoops know they can secure qualification for the last 16 should they win on Tuesday night, but Willie Duncan is backing Jorge Jesus' side to edge a tight game
Celtic sent shock-waves around Europe in their last Uefa Champions League outing when the SPL champions secured a sensational 2-1 home victory over Barcelona.

Despite that impressive result, Neil Lennon’s Hoops face another tough test when they take on Portuguese giants Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday night.

Celtic are in the driving seat to qualify from Group G alongside the Catalan giants, having collected an impressive seven points from their first four matches.

They can secure their place in the competition's last 16 with victory here, but the Scots are considered to be outsiders with Paddy Power, making the Hoops a massive 6/1 (7.0) to win on Tuesday.

For Benfica, victory here is essential if they are to stand any chance of securing a place in the next stage of the competition and Jorge Jesus’ side are chalked up at 1/2 (1.50) with Paddy Power to pick up all three points on Tuesday, while the same firm go 3/1 (4.0) that the match ends in a draw.

Benfica had collected just a solitary point from their opening three Champions League matches having followed up a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park with defeats against Barcelona and Spartak Moscow, but a narrow home win over the Russian side last time out kept their hopes of qualification alive.

The Portuguese side have been in fine form domestically, having dropped just four points from their opening nine league matches and they will certainly come into this match full of confidence.

Celtic, though, will take hope from the fact Benfica have managed just 10 goals from their opening five home league matches this term and Neil Lennon’s side will look to frustrate their opponents with another stubborn defensive display here.

Should the Hoops put the shutters up, the 11/10 (2.10) quote from Paddy Power for fewer than three goals to be scored certainly carries considerable appeal and should be backed accordingly.

Celtic will prove to be a tough nut to crack as Barcelona can testify and so patience may be a virtue that Jorge Jesus’ side need on Tuesday.

With that in mind, the 16/5 (4.20) for the match to be level at half-time with the Portuguese side prevailing in the second-half is the value selection here.

Under 2.5 goals at 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power
Draw half time/Benfica full time at 16/5 (4.20) with Paddy Power

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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