The final three first leg ties from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round are set to be played this coming Wednesday (8 August). With the lucrative group stages of Europe’s premier club competition potentially just 180 minutes away, tensions will be high not to slip up at this late stage.
The likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Spartak Moscow will be in action on Wednesday night but the pick of the action involves the Scottish champions. Glasgow giants Celtic host Greek outfit AEK Athens with Brendan Rodgers looking to take the club further in Europe.
First things first
Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, find your favourite betting agency and get your own account up and running using your credit card. As a new customer and with the group stages of the Champions League set to get underway in September, there should be a wide range of promotions and offers available to you.
Where should I be investing my money?
First up is the clash between Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg and Shkendija Tetovo of Macedonia. Red Bull have never reached the group stages of the Champions League and would now look to have a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Red Bull sit top of the Austrian league with a 100 per cent record so far and are the red hot favourites to win this first leg tie. You can back the Salzburg side to walk away with the victory at a price of just 1.11, while the visitors are all the way out at 21.00 to record a shock win – a comprehensive 3-0 win for the home side is priced at just 5.50, according to Oddsshark.
Next up is Greek side PAOK Salonika, who will host Russian outfit Spartak Moscow at the Toumba Stadium. Both sides finished runners up in their respective national league championships and this could be a closely fought contest.
PAOK looked excellent in the second qualifying round, thrashing Swiss outfit FC Basel 5-1 on aggregate to reach this stage. They finished the Greek championship just six points behind league winners AEK and seven points ahead of Olympiakos.
Spartak, meanwhile, have already kicked off their next Russian league campaign and have picked up four points from their opening two matches. With the Greeks still in pre-season, the Moscow club may well find their match rhythm, more quickly on the night.
Nevertheless, it is the home side who come into this first leg clash as the favourites. You can more than double your money by backing PAOK at 2.15 to take an advantage into the return encounter later this month.
Spartak, meanwhile, are at 3.60 to win in Greece with a draw priced in the middle at 3.10. The Russian side is renowned for their tight defence and you can back under 2.5 goals in the clash at just 1.61 – over 2.5 goals is at the higher price of 2.25.
With these two sides so evenly matched – on paper at least – it may well end in a stalemate. A 1-1 draw is priced at 6.00, meaning that a US$5 bet would lead to a US$30 pay out.
But the biggest game of the night comes from Celtic Park, as Scottish league champions Glasgow Celtic welcome Greek champions AEK Athens to town. This should be a tough assignment for Brendan Rodgers’ side but they may have the edge having played in the first and second qualifying rounds, as well as having already kicked off their domestic league championship with a comfortable 3-1 win over Livingston this past weekend.
And the Scots have looked strong in the previous two qualifying rounds as well. Firstly, they thrashed Alashkert 6-0 on aggregate in the first round before seeing off Rosenborg comfortably enough (3-1) in the previous stage.
And it is Celtic who come into this match as the favourites to pick up a first leg win. You can back Celtic to walk away victorious at a price of just 1.72, while AEK are out at 5.25 to win at Celtic Park.
You can also make a simple bet based solely on who will make it through to the group stages over two legs, and again it is Celtic who are at the shorter priced. The Scots are at just 1.66 to progress, while you could double your money backing AEK at 2.10 – a 3-1 win for Celtic in this first leg tie is priced competitively at 17.00, while you can also back over 2.5 goals in the ,atch at 2.35.
UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying round (leg 1 of 2):
(1.11) Red Bull Salzburg x Shkendija Tetovo (21.00); draw (8.50)
(2.15) PAOK x Spartak Moscow (3.60); draw (3.10)
(1.72) Celtic x AEK (5.25); draw (3.40)