The UEFA Champions League brings seven games of the second qualifying round Wednesday, July 24, so we’ve prepared the betting preview for the remaining first legs. First, let’s take a look at the schedule. The action starts at 19:00 CET.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
- BATE vs. Rosenborg
- CFR Cluj vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv
- Ferencvarosi vs. Valletta
- Maribor vs. AIK
- Celtic vs. Nomme Kalju
- Dundalk vs. Qarabag
- Red Star Belgrade vs. HJK Helsinki
We’ll see three matchups with firm favorites on one side and huge underdogs on the other, while four contests promise some thrilling battle. Ferencvarosi, Celtic, and Red Star Belgrade should be sure shots of the day.
Ferencvarosi hosts Valletta as a 1.15 fave to win the first leg at Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary. Valletta barely outlasted Dudelange on away goals after a couple of draws (2-2 and 1-1), and the second round should be the end of the road for the Maltese champions.
The Hungarian champs eliminated Ludogorets in the first round, winning both legs (2-1 at home and 3-2 away). Ferencvarosi possesses some gifted players among its squad, so I think the Green Eagles should beat Valletta by two or more goals at 1.50 odds.
Celtic is a massive 1.05 fave to beat the Estonian champs Nomme Kalju, so you can take the risk with the hosts to cover a 2.5-goal spread at 1.45 odds, but I would pass this one. Kalju were pretty lucky to eliminate Shkendija in the previous round, and Celtic is a much better team on a paper. I just don’t like the price on a three-goal victory.
On the other side, I would take Red Star Belgrade to score a couple of goals at home at 1.40 odds. HJK Helsinki conceded two goals at HB Torshavn last week, while Red Star blew plenty of scoring opportunities in a 2-1 victory to Suduva.
The hosts are 1.30 favorites to win the game, and I think they will satisfy the odds. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if HJK finds the net. Helsinki scored in each but one of its last nine outings on the road, while Red Star bagged at least a couple of goals in 12 of its previous 14 showings at home.
Elsewhere, Cluj hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv as a 2.00 fave, and my dear college Guly86 will take both teams to score YES on this one at 1.90 odds. Cluj couldn’t keep its net intact in all five outings since the start of the new season, while Maccabi scored in six straight contests on the road excluding friendlies.
Maribor is listed as a 2.25 home favorite against AIK Stockholm, while BATE welcomes Rosenborg as a 2.20 fave to win the first leg. I would avoid laying the odds here, but Qarabag should stay unbeaten at Dundalk. Still, keep in mind that Dundalk is undefeated at home in 18 games in a row.
My Picks: Ferencvarosi AH -1.5 & Red Star Over 1.5 goals