Celtic - HJK Helsinki Betting Preview: Back the Hoops to take a first-leg advantage to Finland

Neil Lennon's men are hoping to take control of the tie when they welcome Antti Muurinen's side to Glasgow. Scottish football expert Willie Duncan is backing the Hoops to deliver
Celtic begin their European adventure when they take on Finnish opposition HJK Helsinki in the Champions League third qualifying round at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

The Hoops are warm favourites to take a first-leg advantage into the return in the Finnish capital, with Paddy Power making Neil Lennon's side a 2/5 (1.40) shot to win.

Antti Muurinen's side are well into their domestic season, having played 19 matches in Veikkausliiga this term and will be hoping that their superior match fitness will give them the edge on Wednesday.

Helsinki, though, are chalked up at 13/2 (7.50) with Paddy Power to stun the Hoops while the same firm offer 100/30 (4.33) that the match ends in stalemate.

Celtic have been far from assured in pre-season so far this summer but Neil Lennon will have taken heart from his side's display in the 1-1 draw against Inter at Celtic Park, and will be hoping to see his side build on that result with a win here.

The Hoops should be roared on by a large home crowd and are good value at 10/11 (1.91) with Paddy Power to lead by half-time, while the Irish bookmaker’s 11/10 (2.10) quote on Lennon's men to lead at both half-time and full-time looks to be excellent value here.

Celtic have a stellar home record in European competition and can be trusted to keep a clean sheet on Wednesday night, so Paddy Power's 5/1 (6.0) quote for the home side to win 1-0 may appeal. But the Hoops will be looking for a more convincing victory so the 2-0 home win, also available at 5/1 (6.0) with Paddy Power, may represent value here.

Should the Hoops win 3-0, Paddy Power offer punters a tempting 17/2 (9.50), while Helsinki fans may be tempted by the massive 18/1 (19.0) from Paddy Power for the Finns to take a 1-0 lead into the second leg.

Lennon is sure to have his side fired up for this one, though, and the 13/10 (2.30) quote from Paddy Power that the Hoops score in both halves looks to be the best bet and should be backed accordingly.

Celtic to score in both halves at 13/10 (2.30) with Paddy Power
Celtic to win 2-0 at 5/1 (6.0) with Paddy Power

Sign up with Paddy Power for up to £250 in free bets

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

Follow GoalBetting on