It’s crunch time for the clubs looking to book a place in the 2014/15 Champions League, with a number of ties tightly poised for the playoff-round second legs.
We’ve had a right good think and have come up with a trio of handy home wagers that will payout at just shy of 10/3, should the required and expected business be done.
Celtic to beat Maribor @ 4/7
The now-perennial Scottish champions find themselves all the way down in fifth place over the border, having failed to make it three league wins out of three when losing at leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
However, coach Ronny Deila made a raft of changes to his starting line-up with this Parkhead clash in mind, as Celtic lead the tie on away goals after a 1-1 draw at Maribor.
The Bhoys luck has been in so far this season, with Legia Warsaw’s expulsion from this competition letting Deila’s men off the hook after a 6-2 aggregate defeat to the Polish champions.
With a host of first-teamers set to return to the XI after a weekend off, including centre-forward Anthony Stokes and centre-half Virgil van Dijk, expect a Celtic home win.
Porto to beat Lille @ 4/7
The Primeira Liga outfit endured a difficult 2013/14 Champions League campaign, failing to win any of their three games at home and crashing out before the knockouts, which was in stark contrast to four victories from four at the Estadio do Dragao the previous season.
Porto are three from three in all competitions this term, which includes a 1-0 win at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy in the first leg.
Les Dogues have triumphed in both of their 2014/15 away matches so far, but Julen Lopetegui’s side will provide a much sterner test than Grasshoppers or Caen could muster.
BATE Borisov to beat Slovan Bratislava @ 8/11
Prior to being knocked out in the preliminaries by Shakhter Karagandy last term, BATE had enjoyed eye-catching success at the Champions League group stage, beating Bayern Munich during the German giants treble-winning 2012/13 campaign and drawing with Juventus five years earlier.
Both results were achieved in Belarus, where Slovan are expected to struggle after coming back from 1-0 down to draw level in the first leg.
BATE are unbeaten at home in the league since moving to their new Borisov Arena last Spring, so getting behind Alyaksandr Yermakovich’s men looks the logical call in this fixture.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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