AZ Alkmaar v Valencia: Dutch courage to earn away draw
Tournament joint-favourites Valencia travel to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, and the Eredivisie leaders will have their work cut out in attempting to justify their 8/5 price to claim a first leg advantage.
Valencia could count themselves unlucky to be eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage, but after asserting their Europa League authority by disposing of Stoke and PSV, they may fancy their chances of besting AZ at 13/8.
23/10 is the price attributed to the draw, and punters should be inclined to get behind that outcome in light of Valencia’s 1-1 draw away to PSV in the round of 16, and also considering the away side have played out stalemates in four of their past five matches on Dutch soil.
It is worth noting that the Spanish outfit have not lost to Dutch opposition in ten meetings against them, and the 13/8 odds for an away win or draw with three or more goals being scored looks good in light of this, and the fact that Valencia have hit four goals in two of their past three matches against teams from Holland.
They are a massive 12/1 to notch four or more times this time round, but only very brave punters will take advantage of this, considering each of those four goal hauls have come at the Mestalla Stadium.
For those who believe that goals may not flow so freely on Thursday though, Valencia can be backed to win or draw the match with two or less goals occurring, and as each of the teams have played out 1-1 draws in the knockout phase of this year’s competition, some interest could be shown in the 6/1 price for the same scoreline here.
Jozy Altidore is favourite to notch the opener, with the powerful American a 5/1 chance to break the deadlock, whilst lethal striker Roberto Soldado, who smashed five Champions League goals this season, is a big 11/2 to score first for the visitors.