Football expert Tom Love (@TomLove_18) assesses Tuesday's Champions League second round qualifiers and provides us with his best bets.
Champions League Best Bets | Tuesday 23rd July
Viktoria Plzen v Olympiakos
Two teams that are familiar with European competitions meet in the Czech Republic on Tuesday night in what looks to be a close encounter. Olympiakos are 1/2 favourites to qualify therefore you’d expect the hosts here to try and get a positive result with home advantage.
Plzen have seen BTTS land in 4 of their last 5 champions league games on home turf. Michael Krmencik is the go to man up front, his record in front of goal has been decent. An unfortunate injury last term ruled him out for a while. It’s in midfield where they’re probably the most strong though with the likes of Tomas Horava pulling the strings.
The Piraeus side were runners up to PAOK in the Greek super league last season but they’ve got some dangerous players in their roster including midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis and Konstantinos Fortounis as well as French playmaker Matheus Valbuena. Up front they have Youssef El-Arabi and Hillel Soudani, both of whom have scored 15+ per season quite often. They have the attacking threat to score against a less than convincing Plzen backline.
At even-money BTTS looks a decent price to me.
PSV v Basel
Dutch runners up PSV have to overcome Swiss side Basel in another battle between two relatively high profile sides for this stage of the competition at least. The Eindhoven side are 1/2 favourites to progress but they do have home advantage in the first leg and they’ll be looking to go to Switzerland with a lead.
Ex player Mark Van Bommel is now the head honcho at the Philips Stadion and although Luuk De Jong has gone to Sevilla he still has some decent attacking players among his squad. Mexican international Hirving Lozano is probably their star man, it’s surprising that he hasn’t moved to a bigger club in the last two years. Bruma has come in from Leipzig and he provides a direct wide threat. Steven Bergwijn is still there, as is Gaston Periero who are dangerous going forward.
Young strikers Donyell Malen and Sam Lammers are expected to make the step up to the first team after decent seasons last term. Malen managed double figures last seasons whereas Lammers smashed them in on loan at freescoring Herenveen, notching at a rate of more than 1 in 2.
These two were involved in plenty of high scoring games last season. 91% of PSV games saw over 1.5 goals whereas 92% of Basel game overcame the same barrier. With the hosts as short as 4/7 it looks worth backing the ‘Lampen’ to win by any scoreline than 1-0.