Astana against Legia is, on paper, one of the most evenly matched UEFA Champions League third qualifying round ties and one thinks that backing both teams to score at the Astana Arena is the best bet on the midweek program.
Having played 21 matches in the Kazakh Premier League, Astana finds itself at an advantage over a Legia side that is just two games into its Polish Ekstraklasa campaign and without a domestic victory to boot. One suspects that some punters will take one look at the recent results of Astana and Legia and elect to back the former to win Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg but one does not have complete faith in the Blue and Yellows.
Astana is eight points clear at the top of the Kazakh Premier League but it boasts a dreadful record versus the team giving it the biggest run for its money on the title race. Astana has dropped two and drawn one of its three matches against Kairat this year, including a 1-1 home draw two months ago. Furthermore, Astana lost 0-3 at Kazakh Premier League third-place holder Ordabasy in their only clash so far this season. Scratch beneath the surface and everything about Astana is not quite so fine and dandy.
One respects Astana’s home numbers and, of course, playing on an artificial surface assists the Blue and Yellows when they encounter a side such as Legia which plays most of its games on grass. But one thinks that backing both teams to score at odds of 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 with SunBets is more appealing than siding with Astana at prices not all that much longer.
Astana has scored in 35 of its last 36 home matches across all competitions since March 2016, the odd game out being its UEFA Europa League goalless draw versus Young Boys in September. Astana has failed to keep a clean sheet in 15 of those 36 home games and, while Legia is not firing on all cylinders currently, the Legionnaires are a cut above most sides that visit the Astana Arena. Legia has scored in each of its five competitive matches this term but it has leaked one goal in its three non-UEFA Champions League games.
Legia participated in crazy UEFA Champions League matches last season, including a 3-3 home draw with Real Madrid and a 4-8 loss at Dortmund. One is hoping that Legia plays its part in another entertaining UEFA Champions League match this week, scoring and conceding to land’s one wager.
With regards to traditional betting markets, one likes the chances of Qarabag and Hapoel Beer-Sheva winning their respective UEFA Champions League third qualifying round games against Sheriff and Ludogorets. Qarabag is available at odds of 3/51.60-1670.60-1.670.60 with 188Bet and SunBets to triumph on Tuesday and Hapoel Beer-Sheva is trading at odds of 6/52.20+1201.201.20-0.83 with Marathonbet to register a win on Wednesday.
Qarabag has won three and drawn four of its last seven UEFA Champions League matches irrespective of venue and it took the away-goals rule to eliminate it from last term’s event. Never has Qarabag lost a UEFA Champions League home game and it has hosted considerably stronger teams than Sheriff, which scraped past Kukesi in the previous round.
Hapoel Beer-Sheva beat Honved home and away in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and those formlines read better than those of Ludogorets, which was in a world of hurt versus Zalgiris in its previous tie until four home goals in an amazing 33-minute period spared its blushes.
FC Astana v Legia Warsaw – Both teams to score
Wednesday 26th July, 15:00 GMT
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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