Linfield v Celtic: Hoops can romp to victory…but will likely concede

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Celtic make the short trip (in European terms!) to Linfield on Friday, hoping to kick off their Champions League campaign in style. And while the high-scoring Blues could well find the net, a repeat of the Hoops’ shock defeat to Lincoln Red Imps at this stage last season looks nigh-on impossible.

Brendan Rodgers’ treble-winners were nothing short of sensational last term. And with the likes of Aberdeen and Rangers routinely swept aside during the campaign, we can’t see Linfield causing them any real problems.

That’s reflected in the match betting. Celtic are 1/9 to win the first leg, with 7/1 for the draw and a hefty 20/1 on offer for a Linfield victory.

However, with such modest returns on offer for the Hoops to simply win in Belfast, the best value lies elsewhere.

Lethal French forward Moussa Dembele was the Bhoys’ main man in Europe last time, netting five times – including a brace against Manchester City. He’s 12/5 to be the Last Goalscorer here – something which happened 10 times last term – while 6/4 says he manages two or more goals in the Northern Irish capital.

But it looks unlikely the Hoops will be the only side to find the net, with Linfield having scored in 12 of their last 13 competitive home games – as well as the club’s recent friendly against Heart of Midlothian.

That means we like the look of Celtic to win and Both Teams to Score at 11/5.

If the home side do get amongst the goals, we fancy Andrew Waterworth will be involved, having struck eight times in his last five games. He’s 3/1 to register anytime.

As for when the likely flurry of strikes will arrive, the signs suggest an avalanche of second-half goals.

Celtic have struck 12 times in the second-half in their last six games, while that figure is at 10 for David Healy’s men.

The 7/4 on offer for Second Half: Over 2.5 Goals could prove popular, though ambitious punters might prefer to chance their arm on the 19/4 for Over 3.5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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