The UEFA Champions League First Qualifying Round will close down with ten games on Wednesday’s schedule. There are a few interesting encounters, while some should be blowouts, so let’s take a closer look at the matchups.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
|CFR Cluj||FC Astana||1.65||3.60||4.75||2.35/1.55|
The action starts in Riga, Latvia, where Riga FC hosts the Irish champion Dundalk after a goalless first leg. I would like to avoid this clash, but if you’re interested in betting trends, here’s a tip whether you like to go with the flow or bet against the streak – Dundalk is undefeated in 17 straight games, recording 14 wins and three draws in the process.
AIK is a firm favorite to overcome a 2-1 loss from the first leg in Armenia, and the Swedish champs should satisfy the odds if they avoid expulsions. The red card in Armenia cost them a lot, and AIK should have learned the lesson. I’m backing hosts to win and score at least twice.
Qarabag should have an easy job against Partizani following a goalless draw in Albania. The Azerbaijani champ is a better team on paper and needs to prove it on the field. The first leg saw just seven shots on goal in the total, but this one could easily see a couple of goals if someone breaks the deadlock early in the game.
Rosenborg easily defeated Linfield 2-0 in the first leg, as well as Maribor outlasted Valur 3-0 on the road. I expect to see at least three goals here, especially in Maribor where the Icelandic champs Valur will try their best to make the second leg interesting to watch.
The similar case is with Sarajevo whereas the visitors will push forward in numbers against Celtic, and I expect to see another high-scoring affair following Celtic’s 3-1 victory in the first leg.
Sutjeska pulled off a huge upset last week, earning a 1-1 draw at Slovan Bratislava, but the Slovakian champions are firm favorites to win the second leg in Montenegro for a reason. Slovan scored at least two goals in each but one of its last six outings on the road, so they should bag a couple of goals here. Slovan had 26 shots in the first leg at home.
Piast and BATE played a 1-1 stalemate last week, and Piast was closer to the victory than the Belarusian champs. This is another tricky matchup and I would avoid laying the odds here even though Piast looks like playing in a good form at the moment.
FC Astana has a one-goal lead over CFR Cluj, as well as Ferencvarosi over Ludogorets. These two matchups will be a joy to watch and tough to bet on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Astana upset the odds in Romania, while the clash in Bulgaria should see a couple of goals after the rivals combined for three goals in the first leg.
My Picks: Maribor vs. Valur & Celtic vs Sarajevo Over 2.5 Goals; Slovan Bratislava Over 1.5; AIK to Win and Over 1.5