UEFA Champions League qualifying: play-off ties to be concluded this Wednesday (29 August)

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Portuguese giants Benfica looking to avoid prematurely exit from continental competition


The final three play-off ties for the UEFA Champions League – considered the greatest club football competition on the planet – are set to be concluded on Wednesday evening. And one team looking to avoid an upset is Portuguese club outfit Benfica, who must find a way past Greek surprise package PAOK Salonika.

Getting the ball rolling

First things first, head on over to the Oddsshark website, procure your favourite betting agency and sort out your very own account with a username and password. As a new customer and with the group stages of the Champions League set to kick off next month, there should be a whole host of promotions and offers for you to enjoy.

Where should I be investing my money?

PAOK host Benfica looking to cause an upset before the group stages of the Champions League have even begun. The Greek club secured a 1-1 draw in Lisbon last week and now have a  fantastic opportunity to finish the job in front of their own fans.

Benfica, meanwhile, have won just one of their last 10 UEFA matches and look to face an uphill struggle in this one. Having failed to secure a win on home soil, Benfica may well have left themselves too much to do in this return encounter.

The betting is close, but Benfica remain the favourites to qualify at 1.75. You could however double your money by backing PAOK to go throw at 2.00.

And it is the Portuguese who are also the favourites to win this return leg. The Portuguese club is at 2.35, while home side PAOK are only a little higher at 3.00 – a narrow, 1-0 win for the Greeks is priced competitively at 8.50, according to Oddsshark .

PSV very close to group stages

Dutch side PSV Eindhoven welcome Belarusian champions BATE Borisov to their Philips Stadion home this Wednesday with every expectation of reaching the group stages of the Champions League. PSV won 3-2 in Belarus last week and will be looking to pick up a second win on home soil to fully exert their authority.

The first match was a five-goal thriller and we may well see more goals in Eindhoven. PSV have conceded at least two goals in five of their last six UEFA games and BATE will be confident of breaching that back line once again.

However, PSV are the clear favourites to reach the group stages following last week’s away win. The Dutch club are at just 1.020 to qualify, with BATE now all the way out at 19.00 to turn this tie on its head.

And taking only this second leg game into account, the betting still very much remains in PSV’s favour. The home side is priced at just 1.36 to pick up another win, while BATE are out at 9.00.

A comfortable, 3-1 win for PSV is priced at 12.00, offering more than a ten-fold return on any investment. In addition, you can back over 2.5 goals in the game at 1.65 while you could more than double your money by backing both teams to score at 2.10.

Red Bull and Red Star meet in Austria

And arguably the closest of the ties to call takes place in Austria, with Red Bull Salzburg hosting Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade. The tie is finely poised following a goalless draw in Serbia last week, and one goal may well be enough to settle this contest.

Salzburg will be kicking themselves that they did not manage to secure a vital away goal, but with home advantage in the return encounter they should still fancy their chances of going through. Red Star may not boast the same technical quality as their opponents but they do boast a well drilled and defensively solid side – if they get their noses in front they could simply shut out the game.

Looking at the betting to progress over the two legs and it is Red Bull Salzburg who come in as the favourites however. The Austrian club are at just 1.33 to qualify, while you could more than triple your money by backing Red Star at 3.25.

And in terms of this second leg the advantage for Red Bull would look to be even more profound. The Austrians are at 1.44 to get the win they need in front of their own fans, while Red Star are out at 7.50 to collect victory on the road – a narrow, 1-0 win for Red Bull is priced at 5.50.

Champions League qualifying 2nd leg ties:

(1.44) Red Bull Salzburg x Red Star Belgrade (7.50); draw (4.20)

(3.00) PAOK x Benfica (2.35); draw (3.30)

(1.36) PSV x BATE (9.00); draw (4.50)