CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) takes a look at the best bets in Tuesday night’s Champions League games.
FC Astana v APOEL Nicosia | Tuesday 17:00
It hasn’t been straight-forward for APOEL Nicosia in the Champions League this season but once again they find themselves on the cusp of another group stage. On Tuesday they face Kazakh side FC Astana in the play-off round and they look a little underrated at the odds.
Astana are a tough side at home, there’s no doubt about that. Maribor were beaten 3-1 in the second qualifying round on home soil and in the last round HJK Helsinki were beaten 4-3. But is that form strong? No doubt Maribor were excellent in last year’s competition but I wouldn’t put HJK in APOEL’s class.
Nicosia have saw off Vardar and the highly-rated Midtjylland so far in this competition and have a lot more experience than Astana in these kind of fixtures.
APOEL reached the Champions League group stages last season and performed very well at the Nou Camp and the Parc des Princes losing by just the odd goal. Obviously Astana are simply not in the class of Barcelona and PSG and seeing them as short as 13/10 looks wrong to me.
I was happy to side with APOEL last month against Midtjylland and I think they’ll cause Astana problems here. Bet 365 are 29/10 on the Cypriot side winning but I’ll opt for the draw at 23/10 with Betfred.
BATE Borisov v Partizan Belgrade | Tuesday 19:45
There’s a similar betting shape to this match too with home side BATE Borisov 13/10 to win against Partizan Belgrade. I’ve more confidence in this home side than in the previous match and feel BATE may be too strong here.
Partizan were woeful in the Europa League last season picking up just two points from their six matches. They were beaten home and away by Besiktas and succumbed to Asteras Tripoli in Greece.
This season they knocked out Steaua Bucharest in the previous round but the 1986 European champions are a shadow of their former selves. Belgarde lost out to Ludogorets in last season’s competition and haven’t reached the group stage in five years.
BATE on the other hand have reached the group stages in three of the last four years and beaten the likes of Bayern Munich, Lille and Athletic Bilbao during this period.
I’ll be a bit adventurous and back BATE to win by exactly one goal at 11/4 with Bet 365. That was their margin of home victory in the previous two rounds and it feels more of a value bet than the straight victory.
FC Astana v APOEL Nicosia – Draw (23/10 Betfred)
BATE Borisov v Partizan Belgrade – BATE Borisov to win by exactly one goal (11/4 Bet 365)
Yes, that’s what Betfair will give you if you join before kick off.