Champions League Qualifying Tips: Celtic and Ajax in Action

Monday, July 23, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 23, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

There are some big teams in action when the Champions League qualifiers take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Basel, Ajax and Celtic.

<h2 style="text-align:center">[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</h2><h2><a href="">PAOK Saloniki v Basel</a></h2><p>Basel went all the way to the last 16 of the Champions League last season, but they could not win their domestic title. As a result, they have to endure the arduous process of trying to reach Europe’s top table by going through the various qualifying rounds. They head to Greece to take on PAOK, who finished second in Greece’s Superleague last season behind AEK Athens but ahead of big teams like Olympiakos. It could all have been so different: PAOK were playing AEK Athens in a big game and a late PAOK goal was overturned after protests from AEK. PAOK’s president responded by storming the pitch with a pistol in his holster, causing the league to be suspended.</p><p>AEK were awarded a 3-0 win and PAOK were deducted three points. That six-point swing was dramatic, as AEK finished six points clear of PAOK. Now they too must endure the dreaded rigmarole of Champions League qualifying. They are the favourites priced at +120, while Bet365 also has +240 on Basel. That is an extremely tempting price on Basel, who always seem to do well in this competition. Basel draw no bet looks like another interesting option at +138 with Bet365.</p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3486991, "sportsbooksIds":[43,19,238,169,1389], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;PAOK's owner banned after running on the pitch during a game with a pistol on his hip &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;March 29, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2><a href="" rel="nofollow">Red Star Belgrade v Suduva</a></h2><p>Lithuanian minnows Suduva travel to Serbia to face Red Star Belgrade, who won this competition in 1991. They are no longer European heavyweights, but they should have enough quality to see off the limited threat of Suduva. As such they are priced at -400 with Bet365, but that goes up to -125 if you back them to win half-time / full-time. There is always a tremendous atmosphere inside the Rajko Mitic Stadium, and that should spur the Red Star players on to achieve a strong start to this game.</p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3518208, "sportsbooksIds":[43,19,238,169,1389], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><h2><a href="" rel="nofollow">Ajax v Sturm Graz</a></h2><p>Ajax finished runners-up in last season's Eredivisie, but they have since bolstered their squad with more than $50 million worth of talent. Daley Blind has rejoined the club from Man Utd and Dusan Tadic has arrived from Southampton, while Hassan Bande and Zakaria Labyad will provide further quality. Justin Kluivert has left, and more talented youngsters may join him, but there is cause for optimism at Ajax after signing those experienced, exciting players. They look set for a two-horsed race with PSV for this season’s Eredivisie, and they should also reach the Champions League group stages. They have more than enough quality to beat Sturm Graz, who finished second in the Austrian Bundesliga last season. They have superior quality in their starting 11 and they should be able to secure a healthy first leg victory Wednesday. They are -200 to do so, which looks good as a single or in a parlay/accumulator bet, or you could try a -1 handicap for Ajax.</p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3486994, "sportsbooksIds":[43,19,238,169,1389], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><h2><a href="" rel="nofollow">Celtic v Rosenborg</a></h2><p>It’s a case of déjà vu for these two sets of fans. Last season they faced one another in Champions League qualifying and Celtic prevailed over two legs. The Hoops should be able to get the job done once again. They have looked strong in qualifying so far, and Odsonne Eduoard’s club record-breaking transfer from PSG has given everyone a boost. He looks dynamic up top with Moussa Dembele, and Celtic should be able to gun down their Norwegian opponents here. They are -200 to win it with William Hill, and that would make a nice double with an Ajax win. For more value on this game, you could look at Celtic to win and under 3.5 goals at +105, as this is unlikely to be a high-scoring contest. Last season Celtic won 1-0 in Scotland and it finished 0-0 in Norway.</p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3519712, "sportsbooksIds":[43,19,238,169,1389], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p>
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