The best bet on the final matchday of UEFA Champions League group games does not pertain to a fixture in which either team can qualify for the tournament’s knockout stage.
The odds that leapt off the UEFA Champions League match coupon were those of -149 with BetVictor and Boylesports that Ajax, third in Group F, beats APOEL in Amsterdam to secure that section’s UEFA Europa League spot. Ajax needs only a draw to finish in front of APOEL in UEFA Champions League Group F but it had the better of the 1-1 draw between the sides in Cyprus and its home record versus all bar the cream of the continent makes it worthy of a win wager.
So far this year Ajax has played 20 home games for 13 wins, four draws and three losses, with its defeats coming against Barcelona, PSV and Salzburg. Twelve rounds into the Cypriot 1. Division and APEOL is unbeaten with nine wins and three draws, conceding just two goals. But APEOL’s UEFA Champions League away numbers stretching back over several seasons are poor, with its last 11 road trips resulting in six draws and five losses. To put it simply, APOEL loses away to Europe’s heavyweights and middleweights, while it draws on the road to the continent’s lightweights. One thinks that Ajax is a European middleweight and hence the suggested bet at -149 .
With regards to the UEFA Champions League Group F match between APOEL and Ajax in Cyprus, Ajax had 62 per cent of possession, led the attempts on target 6-2 and took the lead through Lucas Andersen before Gustavo Manduca equalised from the penalty mark. Ajax would have been a deserved winner.
Dortmund is through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage but it will want to win Group D, something that it will do if it beats Anderlecht in Germany regardless of Arsenal’s result versus Galatasaray in Turkey. The UEFA Champions League Group D game is a total dead rubber for Anderlecht, which is guaranteed to finish third in the pool and qualify for the UEFA Europa League. Dortmund will want to win, to not only avoid the other UEFA Champions League group winners in the next round but also keep spirits high after it climbed off the foot of the German Bundesliga ladder courtesy of a 1-0 home victory over Hoffenheim.
Confidence and momentum are priceless commodities in sport and one can see Dortmund, which annihilated Anderlecht 3-0 in the reverse UEFA Champions League Group D match, taking its opponent to the cleaners. Conservative punters will be all over a Dortmund win at odds of -278 with several bookmakers, including Ladbrokes and William Hill, while speculative punters may be interested in backing the home team minus two goals at odds of +230 with Paddy Power.
Finally, one is willing to bet on the UEFA Champions League Group H dead rubber between Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk since several bookmakers, including BetVictor and Coral, are offering odds of -118 about the home side being triumphant.
Luiz Adriano, Olexandr Kucher and Darijo Srna are suspended for Shakhtar Donetsk as the Ukrainian Premier League team plays its last game for a few months. Shakhtar Donetsk’s domestic competition has begun its lengthy winter break and a meaningless match on the other side of Europe is the last thing that its below-strength side will want on Wednesday.
One thinks that Porto’s attitude is likely to be much better than that of Shakhtar Donetsk and one is talking about a Porto team that, even though it required two late, late goals to draw 2-2 in Ukraine three months ago, had enough possession and attempts on target in the UEFA Champions League Group H clash to have won a couple of games.
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