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The best bet on the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round program is an exotic one – both teams to score in the game between Qarabag and Salzburg in Azerbaijan.
Some sides approach away matches in UEFA competitions with a degree of trepidation. Sure, they would love to bank an away goal but most teams would take a goalless draw if one were offered to them. The primary reason why one is betting on both Qarabag and Salzburg getting on the scoresheet in Azerbaijan is that the Austrian side is one of a kind.
The Austrian Bundesliga is only two rounds old but already it is clear that Salzburg is going to play the same exciting way that it did last season. Salzburg’s first two league games have resulted in a 6-1 home win over Rapid Wien and a 5-0 away win over Wiener Neustadt. Sunday’s 5-0 romp was the first time in eight competitive and friendly games across two seasons that both sides have not scored in a Salzburg match. And it speaks volumes about Salzburg that it scored three of its five goals when playing with 10 men versus 11.
Qarabag should not prevent Salzburg qualifying for the next phase of the UEFA Champions League but it scored 66 goals in its 36 Azerbaijani Premyer Liqa games last term, including 41 in 18 at home, so one thinks that it has a good chance of exploiting Salzburg’s gung-ho approach. Remember, Salzburg may have scored 10 goals against third-tier Sollenau in a recent cup tie but the minnow managed to score once.
Boylesports is offering odds of 2.05 that both Qarabag and Salzburg register at least one goal in their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg. It was a close call between that play and over two and a half goals at odds of 1.73 with same bookmaker. One thinks both will pay out.
Admittedly, Ludogorets has not started either its European or domestic campaign in scintillating fashion. Ludogorets defeated Dudelange of Luxembourg 5-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, although one should acknowledge that the Bulgarian team won the first leg 4-0 and did not concede on the road until the 81st minute. But one point from its first two Bulgarian A PFG match is a cause for cause even though both of them were away games.
The positive for Ludogorets is that it beat Partizan 2-1 at home and 1-0 away in last season’s UEFA Champions League preliminaries. Partizan did have a player sent off in both legs but Ludogorets was 2-1 up in Razgrad when the referee got out his red card and it converted the penalty kick that resulted from the sending-off offence in Belgrade.
Finally, Feyenoord appeals at odds of 2.05 with William Hill to gain a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round lead over Besiktas in Rotterdam. Neither Feyenoord nor Besiktas has played a competitive match this term so one has to base one’s assessment on their respective data from last season.
Feyenoord was pretty strong at De Kuip, scoring more home goals than any of its Dutch Eredivisie rivals and ending the championship with a 12-2-3 record in front of its own fans. Two of Feyenoord’s four home losses across all competitions coincided with the Rotterdam-based side having men sent off.
Besiktas ended the Turkish Super Lig championship with an away record of 7-5-5, winning only one of its last six road games and failing to beat any of its major title rivals – Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor – on its travels.
Qarabag and Salzburg BTTS
30th July 16.30 GMT
Where to Bet: Boylesports
Feyenoord to beat Besiktas
30th July 19:00 GMT
Where to Bet: William Hill
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