Football expert Tom Love (@TomLove_18) assesses Wednesday’s Champions League second round qualifiers and provides us with his best bets.
Champions League Best Bets | Wednesday's 24th July
Dundalk v Qarabag
There remains some Irish representation in the champions league qualifying with Dundalk tasked with overcoming Azerbaijani champions Qarabag. The away side are as short as 3/10 to qualify but are available to back at 11/8 to win in Ireland on Wednesday night which seems a bit odd.
However, the Atlilar will have a big home advantage in the second leg with the sweltering conditions back in Azerbaijan. Therefore they wouldn’t be too disheartened with a draw here, it’s short enough mind at 2/1. However, I do think it will be a tight game and I’ll take a safer option of it being all square at the break at 17/20 (Betway).
Dundalk had a pair of 0-0 draws in the last round against Latvian outfit Riga and eventually got through on penalties. I don’t expect them to go any further though, they’ll be hoping to sneak a win here in the first leg but they could be cautious because they won’t want to give an away goal away.
All things considered, it should be a relatively trappy game and the half time draw looks a decent angle in.
Red Star Belgrade v Helsinki
Serbian giants Red Star were memorably in the group of death along with PSG, Napoli and Liverpool last season but did put up a strong fight, especially at their Belgrade base. They won against the eventual victors Liverpool 2-0 and kept Napoli to a draw. They certainly have pedigree at their hostile Stadion Rajko Mitic.
They’re 1/4 to win against Finnish side HJK Helsinki and you’d be a brave man to back against the Beograd boys. It will be around 30 degrees on Wednesday and although it’s currently warm in Southern Finland the away side won’t be as used to the heat compared to Red Star.
I’m on board with the hosts here but to boost the price on Crvena Zvedza to an odds against quote of 11/10 (SkyBet) by chucking in under 3.5 goals. They’ve lost just one of their last eight games at home in the champions league and I’d expect that record to be built on. However, Helsinki will try and keep it tight and bring it back with something to play for next week.