UEFA Champions League qualifying: Race enters final stretch

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Kieran Tierney Celtic AEK Athens
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Second leg games in the third qualifying round are all set to take place this Tuesday (14 August)


The final places in this year’s edition of the UEFA Champions League – the biggest club competition on the planet – are set to be decided on Tuesday (14 August) with no fewer than 10 matches taking place. With the first legs having been played last week, a place in the continental to0urnament is potentially just 90 minutes away.

First things first

Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, find your favourite betting site and get your account up and running using your credit card. As a new customer and with the Champions League group stages set to kick off next month, there should be a wide range of promotions and offers available to you.

Where should I be investing my money?

First up, two teams who can boast 100 per cent records in their respective domestic championships go head to head. Dynamo Kiev, who have won three out of three in Ukraine, host Slavia Prague, who boast four wins in four in the Czech Republic, could be the most intriguing of all the games this Tuesday night.

Despite both teams’ excellent recent form, Dynamo should really be riding sky high after beating current national champions Shakhtar Donetsk. In addition, they come into this game as the favourites to win inside 90 minutes, at a price of just 1.80, while the Prague club are all the way out at 4.75 -  a 2-1 win for Dynamo is priced at 9.50, offering close to  ten-fold return on any investment, according to Oddsshark.

Qarabag have mountain to climb

One side with it all to do is FK Qarabag, of Azerbaijan. They lost at home to BATE Borisov 1-0 in the first leg and must now travel to Belarus and go in search of a positive result.

It will be no mean feat, however. BATE have dominated their domestic championship in recent seasons, winning the crown for 12 years in a row, and have qualified for the group stages of the Champions League in five of those seasons, the last time being in the 2015/16 edition.

However, it should be remembered that Qarabag did make it to the group stage of the Champions League last season. Having been drawn in a group with European giants Chelsea, AS Roma and Atletico Madrid, the minnows managed to take two points from their six outings.

But you can double your money if you think BATE will wrap this game up in 90 minutes, and you can back them at 2.00 to do so. Having won the first leg, a draw would also be enough for BATE to progress, with a stalemate priced t 3.20, and an away win for Qarabag at 4.00.

Looking at a simple bet based on who will go through to the group stages, BATE are the clear favourites t 1.18, with Qarabag much higher at 4.50. A comfortable, 2-0 win for BATE is priced at 8.00, meaning that a US$5 bet would lead to a pay out of US$40.

Spartak look to turn around tie against PAOK

Having lost the first leg of their tie to Greek outfit PAOK 3-2, Spartak Moscow now have home advantage in the return encounter to try and turn this game on its head. The Russian club raced into a two goal lead last week only to see PAOK to come surging back and edge the five goal thriller.

The game was all the more surprising given the fact that the Greek club have not yet started their own domestic league championship. Spartak have played the opening three games of the Russian league and currently top the table with seven points from three outings.

And despite that setback in the first leg, the Russian outfit should have the wherewithal to get the job done in front of their own fans. Last week’s game was a rollercoaster, and Spartak would do well not to let the same happen again.

Spartak are the clear favourites to win this game inside 90 minutes at a price of just 1.72. By way of comparison, PAOK are out at 5.00 to pick up a win on the road.

Betting on who will go through is much tighter, however. Spartak remain the slight favourites at 1.75, but you can double your money by backing PAOK to reach the group stages at 2.00.

This is likely to be a far more compact game than last week’s first leg. Under 2.5 goals comes in at just 1.80, with a 1-0 win for Spartak, which would be enough to see them through on the away goals rule, priced at 6.50.

Champions League third qualifying round second leg fixtures:

(1.80) Dynamo Kiev x Slavia Prague (4.75); draw (3.40)

(2.00) BATE x Qarabag (4.00); draw (3.20)

(1.72) Spartak x PAOK (5.00); draw (3.50)

(2.80) AEK Athens v Celtic (2.60); draw (3.10)

(1.66) Dinamo Zagreb x (5.25) FC Astana; draw (3.60)

(2.75) Fenerbache x Benfica (2.60); draw (3.20)

(3.10) MOL x Malmo (2.40); draw (3.10)

(8.00) Shkendija Tetovo x Red Bull Salzburg (1.40); draw (4.40)

(1.36) Ajax x Standard Liege (8.50); draw (4.75)

(4.33) Spartak Trnava v Red Star Belgrade (1.95); draw (3.10)