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There is no shortage of attractively priced home teams in UEFA Europa League action this week as the group stage reaches its halfway mark with the third set of games.
One did not expect to tip Celtic during its UEFA Europa League campaign – the Bhoys are one of those teams that bookmakers, particularly those with their origins in the United Kingdom, have a tendency to overrate – but Ronny Deila’s side is over the odds at -133 with Sky Bet to get the better of Astra in their Group D match in Scotland.
Lining up form from domestic leagues is difficult but one has two rounds of UEFA Europa League Group D games featuring Celtic and Astra to base one’s assessments. Celtic drew 2-2 at Salzburg and beat Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 at home, while Astra lost 1-2 at home to Salzburg and lost 1-5 at Dinamo Zagreb.
Celtic’s Scottish Premiership title defence is not going as well as Deila would like – the Bhoys are six points behind surprise leader Hamilton, albeit with one match in hand – but its recent form is a lot better than that of Astra.
Whereas Celtic has won four of its last five games across all competitions, including a last-start 5-0 win at Ross County, Astra has drawn two and lost three of its last five matches, including a 1-3 cup loss at second-tier Mioveni. Astra sacked its coach, Daniel Isaila, during the recent international break, with Oleh Protasov replacing Isaila.
Anything less than a win is not going to be useful to Astra in its quest to qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage so the Romanian Liga I team cannot put 10 men behind the ball against Celtic. Astra must fight fire with fire. One thinks that boosts Celtic’s chance of a home victory.
Similarly priced to Celtic is Internazionale, which hosts Saint-Etienne in UEFA Europa League Group F. Coral is offering odds of -125 about three points for Internazionale, odds that appeal given Saint-Etienne’s scoring statistics.
Saint-Etienne has played 14 games across all competitions this season, netting a pitiful 11 goals and five of them came in its first two matches. Everyone knows that French Ligue 1 is the lowest scoring of Europe’s major leagues but, even so, Saint-Etienne’s attacking numbers are embarrassing.
Both Internazionale and Saint-Etienne have faced Dnipro and Qarabag in UEFA Europa League Group F. Internazionale beat Dnipro 1-0 in Ukraine and defeated Qarabag 2-0 in Italy, while Saint-Etienne drew 0-0 versus Dnipro in France and drew 0-0 against Qarabag in Azerbaijan. Those results point to an Internazionale win over Saint-Etienne in Italy.
Finally, Villareal has come up short versus Barcelona and Real Madrid this term but it has won seven and drawn three of its other 10 games across all competitions. Several bookmakers, including Bet365, BetVictor, and William Hill, are quoting appetising odds of -227 that Villarreal beats marginal Swiss Super League frontrunner Zurich in Spain.
Zurich is top of the Swiss Super League ladder but it has accrued only one point from its UEFA Europa League Group A matches against Apollon and Monchengladbach, losing 2-3 in Cyprus and drawing 1-1 in Switzerland respectively. Those results do not compare favourably to those of Villarreal – the Yellow Submarine have thrashed Apollon 4-0 in Spain and drawn 1-1 versus Monchengladbach in Germany – so one is keen to follow those form lines and back Marcelino’s team.
Celtic to beat Astra
23rd October 20:05 GMT
Where to Bet: Sky Bet
Internazionale to beat Saint-Etienne
23rd October 20:05 GMT
Where to Bet: Coral
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