Salzburg held the upper hand against Celtic when the teams last met and one thinks the Red Bulls will beat the Bhoys when they meet again in UEFA Europa League group play.
It has been four years since Salzburg and Celtic faced off twice in UEFA Europa League Group D and, after a 2-2 draw in Austria, the Red Bulls defeated the Bhoys 3-1 in Scotland. Many of Salzburg and Celtic squad members have changed since 2014 – for example, Alan, who scored three of the five Red Bulls goals against the Bhoys now represents Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande – but one believes the Austrian Bundesliga leader has progressed in the interim, whereas the Scottish Premiership side has gone backwards.
Salzburg is 14-2-0 across all competitions this season and the Red Bulls are only participating in the UEFA Europa League because they ended up on the wrong side of the away goals rule at the end of their UEFA Champions League tie versus Crvena Zvedza. Salzburg led Crvena Zvedza 2-0 on aggregate with less than half an hour remaining in their UEFA Champions League tie but the Belgrade-based team hit the back of the Red Bulls net twice in 60 seconds to draw level and, ultimately, qualify for the next round.
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Celtic is fifth on the Scottish Premiership ladder and, for the first time under Brendan Rodgers, the Bhoys do not look like a lock to take out the title. Already Celtic has lost two Scottish Premiership matches and both of them were on the road, away to Hearts in August and away to Kilmarnock last month. AEK Athens eliminated Celtic from the UEFA Champions League and the Bhoys have won just two Scottish Premiership games by more than a single goal, which is a far cry from the pattern of recent terms they have dominated.
Salzburg kicked off its UEFA Europa League Group B campaign with a 3-2 road victory in the Red Bull derby – Leipzig is also owned by the Austrian energy drink manufacturer – and that is the kind of result that looks beyond the current version of Celtic, which toiled to a 1-0 home triumph over Rosenborg in the third meeting of those sides this season.
The best bet on the UEFA Europa League card is Salzburg at 8/131.62-1630.61-1.630.61 with Bet365 to beat Celtic and the next best wager is its Red Bull sister team, Leipzig, to rumble Rosenborg in Norway at 4/51.80-1250.80-1.250.80 with BetVictor. Leipzig needs the points to put itself back in the hunt for the UEFA Europa League knockout stage and Rosenborg rates as Group B’s weakest link.
Leipzig is sixth on the German Bundesliga ladder but the Red Bulls rank third on expected points because they have not received their due rewards. Rosenborg is eight points clear of Brann at the top of the Norwegian Eliteserien following 24 rounds but the Troll Children lost 0-1 at third-ranked Molde last weekend and they have been unimpressive in most of their matches against their major domestic challengers.
Active in the UEFA Europa League since early August, Leipzig did not make trips to Romania and Ukraine to go through the motions in the group stage. Leipzig has more than enough quality to overcome Rosenborg and it is not as though the Norwegian Eliteserien side’s home advantage is as great as it would be if their encounter was taking place in winter.
One’s third and final UEFA Europa League pick is Kobenhavn not to lose versus Bordeaux in France at 5/111.45-2200.45-2.200.45 with 888Sport. One thinks bookmakers are overrating Bordeaux, which is ninth on the real French Ligue 1 ladder but, according to expected points, deserves to be anchored to its foot with little more than half of its actual tally. Based on expected goals, Bordeaux has been the inferior team in seven of its eight French Ligue 1 games so the Girondins, who lost 0-1 at Slavia Praha in the first batch of UEFA Europa League C matches, are opposable.
Kobenhavn reached the UEFA Europa League group stage after edging past CSKA Sofia and Atalanta and it fought back to draw 1-1 at home to Zenit a couple of weeks ago.
Carl is the original ‘Special One’ and uses his statistical knowledge of football to gain the upper hand over the bookies on a weekly basis. A student of odds and probabilities, ‘Wrighty’ pinpoints the value bets in the top leagues across Europe. A big signing for the SBO.net sports team, Carl brings his vast experience of playing the odds and beating the bookies to a weekly column highlighting the very best football bets.
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