The final three knock-out ties in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League take place this coming Wednesday evening, with some mouth watering meetings on the cards. Russian giants Spartak Moscow are in action, but the biggest clash of the night sees Celtic take on AEK Athens.
Getting the ball rolling
First things first, swing by the Oddsshark website, procure your favourite betting site and get your own account sorted with a username and password. As a brand new customer and with the Champions League group stages set to kick off the following month, there should be a whole host of promotions and offers on the table.
Where should I be investing my money?
First up, Greek league runners up PAOK Salonika welcome Russian league runners up Spartak Moscow to the Toumba Stadium. PAOK looked more than convincing in the previous qualifying round as they thrashed Swiss outfit FC Basel on aggregate.
The Greeks are yet to kick off their domestic campaign, however, while Spartak have made an unbeaten start to the new season, recording a win and a draw in their first two league games. It is PAOK, however, who are the favourites to win this first leg tie.
You can more than double your money by backing PAOK at a price of 2.15 to win this match, while Spartak are priced much higher at 3.60. Home advantage is a big factor though, and while it is never easy trying to predict the exact score line of a game, a comfortable 2-0 win fir the Greeks is priced at 9.50, offering close to a ten-fold return on any investment – with that in mind, at 1.61, Spartak are the favourites to progress to the group stages across the two legs, according to the Oddsshark site.
But the highlight of Wednesday night could well come from Celtic Park, where Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic host Greek league winners AEK Athens. Brendan Rodgers’ side have started the latest campaign in excellent fashion, having won four and drawn one of their first five competitive games of the season and can therefore come into this clash absolutely brimming with confidence.
AEK, meanwhile, have not reached the group stages of the UEFA Champions League for over a decade and look to have their work cut out here. Last season, AEK fell at this very stage to CSKA Moscow and the odds look to be against them yet again.
Looking at a simple bet on who will progress to the group stages over the two legs, it is Celtic who are the clear favourites at a price of 1.61. You could however more than double your money by backing AEK to progress at 2.10.
And looking solely at this first leg tie it is the Scots who are again the favourites to get a positive result. You can back Celtic to win in front of their own fans at just 1.72, with AEK all the way out at 5.25 to pick up an away win – a comfortable 2-0 win for Celtic is priced at 7.00, which means that a US$5 bet would lead to a US$35 pay out.
Finally, Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg host Shkendija Tetovo of Macedonia. Red Bull come into this game in good form, having won their last three competitive fixtures on the bounce.
Shkendija, meanwhile, have made it through the first and second qualifying rounds for a shot at the big time. The Macedonian minnows won both of those two legged ties by a single goal, and you would have to think that one more qualifying round is a step too far for the club.
Red Bull sit top of the Austrian league after just two rounds but are expected to challenge for the domestic title. They have won their league six years in a row and their dominance shows little sign of abating.
They also come into this tie as the red hot favourites. Again, first looking at a simple bet of who will make the group stage over the two legs, Red Bull are red hot favourites at 1.030, with Shkendija Tetovo out at 15.00.
And those odds look even more emphatic in this first leg tie where Red Bull have home advantage. The Salzburg club are at just 1.11 to collect an advantage ahead of the return encounter, with a draw at 8.50 and an away win priced very high at 21.00 – a comfortable 2-0 win for Red Bull is priced at 5.50.
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)