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Astana to Extend Unbeaten Home Run to 18 Games

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Nothing appeals on Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League program but there are plenty of appetising UEFA competition bets on Wednesday and Thursday, with the headline attraction being Astana at odds of +105 with Coral to beat Maribor.

The UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie is 1-0 to Maribor going into the second leg but Astana can count itself unlucky to be behind prior to its home match. The first leg in Slovenia was a very even affair after Marko Suler had put Maribor in front in the fifth minute and, if anything, it was Astana that had a slight edge. Astana is 21 games into the Kazakhstan Premier League season so it is sure to have a fitness advantage over Maribor, which is one match into its domestic league campaign, and there is a big home advantage for Stanimir Stoilov’s side because the Astana Arena has an artificial pitch – the first leg took place on grass.

Astana is a strong home team, winning 12 and drawing five of its 17 Astana Arena matches since losing 0-3 to Villarreal in last season’s UEFA Europa League. With all due respect to Maribor, it is not in the same class as Villarreal and it is coming off a hugely disappointing 1-1 home draw with Zavrc.

Staying in the UEFA Champions League and Videton rates as the best of the odds-on shots at -250 with many bookmakers, including Bet365Bwin and PaddyPower, to defeat The New Saints in their second qualifying round second leg.

Videoton leads The New Saints 1-0 after its UEFA Champions League second qualifying round first leg win in England – Oswestry is on the English side of the border with Wales – in which it limited the Welsh Premier League title holder to just one attempt on target and only one corner kick. The New Saints have no alternative other than to chase goals away to Videton on Wednesday and that is likely to pose an issue for a team that is used to dominating domestic affairs. Videoton is likely to have numerous opportunities to counter attack The New Saints and the home side should be fitter than its guest given that the Hungarian NB I competition has begun.

Switching to the UEFA Europa League and the most appealing wager on its bumper Thursday card is Rabotnicki at odds of -182 with BetVictor to get the better of Jelgava in their second qualifying round second leg in Macedonia.

Rabotnicki trails Jelgava 0-1 after the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg between the teams in Latvia but, if there had been any justice last week, the result would have been very different. Rabotnicki pushed around Jelgava for the first 87 minutes – statistics of 17-6 attempts and 8-1 attempts on target tell the story well – before the home side scored against the run of play through Glebs Kjuskins. Football can be a cruel sport at times.

One expects Rabotnicki to turn the tables on Jelgava when the teams reconvene in Macedonia. Rabotnicki has won 14 and drawn two of its last 16 home games across all competitions, including beating Estonia’s Flora 2-0 two weeks ago. Jelgava has won just one of its last seven away matches in various tournaments and it is well off the pace in Latvia’s Virsliga following 11 rounds. According to UEFA, Macedonia’s domestic top flight is stronger than its equivalent in Latvia so one is confident about Rabotnicki doing the business at home.

Tips Summary

Astana to beat Maribor
22nd July 15:00 GMT
Odds:  +105
Where to Bet: Coral

Videton to beat TNS
22nd July 19:30 GMT
Odds:  -250
Where to Bet: Bet365Bwin, PaddyPower

Rabotnicki to beat Jelgava
23rd July 19:00 GMT
Odds:  -182
Where to Bet: BetVictor

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