The final three second leg ties in the last round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition, are set to be played this coming Wednesday evening. Portuguese giants Benfica, as well as Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, are also in action as they look to reach the final 32 of the continental competition.
First things first
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Where should I be investing my money?
Having taken over the Salzburg club in 2005, Red Bull are now trying to take the outfit into the group stages of the Champions League for the very first time. They take on Serbian outfit Red Star Belgrade in what could well be a closely fought contest.
The first leg between these two ended goalless last week in Belgrade, and Red Bull may now think they have the advantage with the return encounter on their own patch. And indeed, looking at the betting for who should qualify for the group stages, Red Bull are the favourites at 1.33, with Red Star further out at 3.25, according to Oddsshark.
And when it comes to this second leg encounter, the odds are very much in the home side’s favour. You can back Red Bull to pick up the win they need at just 1.44, while Red Star are all the way out at 7.50 to win on the road – a comfortable, 2-0 win for Red Bull is priced at 6.00, meaning that a US$5 bet would lead to a US$30 pay out.
PAOK looking to cause upset
One side who look like they could upset the odds is Greek club PAOK Salonika, who welcome Portuguese giants Benfica to town. The first leg ended 1-1 in Lisbon last week, and now PAOK have the chance to complete a historic qualification in front of their own fans.
The Greek side made a winning start to the new Greek Super League season, beating Asteras Tripolis 1-0, and can come into this crunch clash brimming with confidence. Benfica, by way of comparison, could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Sporting.
And while the betting is close, the Portuguese club come in as the favourites to progress to the group stages. Benfica are at 1.75 to do so, while you can double your money by backing PAOK to go through at 2.00.
However, you could more than double your money by backing Benfica to get an away win here at a price of 2.35. PAOK, despite being on their own patch, are only slightly higher at 3.00.
A 2-1 win for the Greeks is priced competitively at 11.00, offering more than a ten-fold return on any investment. In addition, you could also more than double your money by backing over 2.5 goals in the game at 2.10, while both teams to score is at 1.83.
PSV with one foot through the door
And finally, one side who should complete the job with relative ease is Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven. The first match was hugely thrilling, with PSV edging a five-goal thriller 4-2 in Belarus, and they will now be looking for more goals on home soil as they look to put the tie to bed.
PSV have made a perfect start to the new Eredivisie season, and have a 100 per cent record after three games with eight goals scored already at a rate close to three goals per game. BATE, meanwhile, also top their own national championship but cannot match their opponents for technical quality.
PSV are overwhelming favourites to qualify at a price of just 1.020, while BATE find themselves out at 19.00 to pull off what would be a minor miracle. And PSV are also favourites to beat BATE for the second time in a week, in the second leg.
You can back the Dutch side to win at home at a price of just 1.36, with BATE out at 9.00 to win and possible turn the tie on its head. A comprehensive 3-0 win for PSV is priced competitively at 8.50.
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)